On a recent trip to the South of France, we made a point to check out the confections of Patrick Mesiano, a well-known chocolatier and pastry chef based in the region. His delicious chocolates, fresh macaroons and delectable pastries are rich in flavor and design, often featuring an assortment of nuts and fruits from local growers. At his boutique in Beaulieu sur Mer, we tasted a handful of sweets—from standard chocolate bars to the more complex treats.
One highlight was the hazelnut-studded milk chocolate bar, basic in stature yet full in flavor. Though we tend to prefer dark chocolate, this bar brings a sweeter profile without being too sugary. The nuts, enrobed in golden sugar, are placed by hand in the thick, soft cocoa, and hidden on the back of the standard brick facade—a nice little surprise with every few squares snapped off.
Another favorite, the turtle-like little clusters pair walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts with a dollop of milk chocolate. Like the bars, the chocolate itself is so smooth and milky it's almost too much after just a few small bites. But the rich delicate flavors seem to draw you back for another taste.
Mesiano may be best known for his delicate macaroons, packed with intense flavors like fruits, nuts and caramel, which are arguably the best in the region. The vanilla and mint was a standout, as was the pistachio. His miniature pastries, cookies and cakes are as delicious as they are ornate. And for those seeking to go over-the-top, his larger items and platters deliver the bling of the pastry world.
Patrick Mesiano's culinary creations are available at his three shops in the Cote d'Azur and a handful of outlets in Nice and Zurich. For more information contact Mesiano directly.