If you are at the Louvre and feeling hungry after viewing the Dutch Masters and the Napoleon III apartments in the Richelieu wing, you might consider Cafe Richelieu. The indoor room is an unassuming small room, sometimes with long lines, but if you catch it right, you can just walk in. Cafe Richelieu is just a museum location for the famous Angelina’s, a tea room located on the Rue de Rivoli, on the side of the Tuilleries (not actually in the gardens although there is an entrance across the street). Although they serve decent albeit expensive food, the real reason to go is for the pastries shown above and below.
The history behind this Parisian landmark began when the Rumpelmeyer family emmigrated from the then multinational realm of Austria-Hungary to settle in the Côte d’Azur region in the south of France. In the late 1800s, the Rumpelmeyers had nostalgic thoughts about the teahouses they left behind and decided to open their own in Nice. This proved to be a successful venture and they followed with teahouses in Monte Carlo and Antibes. Building on these successes, in 1903, the Rumpelmeyers opened the now-famous Parisian landmark Angelina. Originally, this teahouse on rue de Rivoli opened as Rumpelmeyer. However, in 1930, owner Antoine Rumpelmeyer changed the name to that of his daughter-in-law, Angelina.
Another compelling reason to visit is the outdoor veranda where you can order drinks, have a smoke and of course order the famous pastries. The famous african hot chocolate reminds me of something I had in a coffeehouse in Vienna, hot chocolate mit schlag. The schlag was heavier but the chocolate in the L’African was thicker, both good.
A Mont Blanc consists of a merinque base, a whipped creme filling and a topping of vanilla-flavored piped chestnut cream or chestnut purée. The original is shown above on the left with chestnuts, the right is the chocolate version. Angelina’s is famous for its Mont Blanc whose recipe was created by Antoine Rumplemeyer. He founded Angelina in 1903 and the recipe has not changed to this day. The Mont Blanc is actually one the oldest of all the pastries still widely made today. It dates from the 15th century, and while it’s undergone some changes through the last half millennium, it’s not too far off from its sugar-pickled chestnut roots used to make the spaghetti topping. I personally find these really sweet and would not recommend the hot chocolate l’african unless you get a shot of insulin first.
If you don’t like the Mont Blanc, you might try the equally famous Choc Afrique shown above. This one was for Lisa.
My personal favorites are the eclairs shown above, chocolate and strawberry. By the way, the Angelina tags shown on all of these pastries are edible chocolate. I absolutely hate custard filling in eclairs and obviously Angelina was listening, the chocolate has a thick, chocolate creme filling. So if you are at the Louvre, pass on the cafeterias down below and go for Angelina.