When connoisseurs are crying out for a return to fresh food, it’s difficult to imagine anyone paying a fortune for day-old frozen cakes. But that’s exactly what Debailleul, the Belgian patisserie and chocolaterie, that has opened its maiden Indian store in Worli on Monday, plans to do.
Unwilling to battle with local climes, availability of products and differences in technique, this gourmand’s secret has all their products flown in directly from their headquarters in Brussels. Which means airplane-loads of ice creams, sorbets, cakes and chocolates make their way every few days across oceans, to Debailleul’s stores all over the world, to ensure that no matter where you stop to fill up on your daily pastry intake, the croissant you bite into will taste the same.
Of course, this elaborate delivery system comes with a hefty price. At the store in Mumbai, one coin-sized chocolate will take an R 91-sized bite out of your wallet. Ditto the cakes, which cost Rs 3,000 upwards for one that will serve six to eight people (they do not use weight as a measure). “Being a big name, we get the first choice of all the best ingredients that are available in the market. Our raspberries come from Serbia and our mangoes are imported from India,” says Hans Pauwels, managing director of Debailleul, adding, “But we use pulp instead of fresh fruits, as they are seasonal and we need the acidic content and flavour to remain the same throughout the year.”
The chain is also open to catering and customising deliveries for special clientele, but as Karen De Souza, business manager, puts it, “You have to be willing to pay for it.” She reveals that they decided to launch the Mumbai store with an emphasis on chocolate, because that’s the ingredient that Indians love the most. “But we have a repertoire of over 400 varieties of products, so we will change our offering depending on what sells well.”
For Francophiles, the four macaroon flavours on offer — lemon, chocolate, raspberry and coffee — will be welcome. The next step for the store is to offer cupcakes, though Pauwels warns, “They’re French cupcakes, nothing like what you’ve tasted before.”
Debailleul patisserie, ground floor, Emca Sadan, Appasaheb Marathe Road, opposite ICICI Bank, Prabhadevi. Call 9821983583