For the first time ever, Cartier — known for its fine jewelry and watches — has created an ephemeral tea room by the celebrity French pastry chef, Christophe Michalak, at its Geneva boutique.
From December 8 to 23, 2017, Cartier is hosting its first-ever tea room, L’Écrin, on the second floor of its boutique on Rue du Rhône in Geneva. I arrived one day before its opening to try some of the elegant French pastries and meet with the master chef, Michalak.
For its temporary tea room, Cartier reached out to Michalak, who is well-known in France for his pastry shops, cookbooks and appearances on popular French-language television programs, like “Qui sera le prochain grand pâtissier?” and “Le gâteau de mes rêves.” In 2005, he was part of the team from France that won the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie (world cup of pastry) competition.
Michalak is known for creating pastries with a sort of “rock ‘n roll” touch — colorful, flashy and stand-out desserts with great flavors. His Christmas collection this year has the theme of, “Un Noël Rock.” It features a bright red bûche de Noël in the shape of an electric guitar. He also has a chocolate bûche flavored with yuzu and hazelnuts.
At Geneva’s Cartier Boutique, with large picture windows overlooking Lac Léman, Michalak has brought his signature flavors and creativity. The menu of the tea room features delicate pâtisseries, like Michalak’s Pavlova Royale with a touch of classic red for Cartier. You will also find a Mont Blanc Marron Coco (chestnut and coconut) and a Religieuse Caramel Beurre Salé. His gourmandises on the menu include “Les Koonies” — a cross between cookies and brownies, and bonbons with pairings like anise and coffee or orange and jasmine.
During his most recent visit to Switzerland, Michalak told me that he visited MR & MRS RENOU, a pâtisserie and chocolaterie in nearby Carouge. The shop’s co-owner, Christophe Renou, trained under Michalak for two years and earned the coveted Meilleur ouvrier de France for pâtisserie in 2015.
When I asked Michalak if he could tell me his favorite Swiss dish, he said that he liked the classic combination of double cream and meringues from the Gruyère region. These Swiss meringues are somewhat reminiscent of his light and creamy meringue-based pavlova, served with whipped cream and fresh raspberries at the tea room.
With a festive holiday atmosphere and exceptional French pastries from a celebrity chef, this special temporary space offers up a taste of Paris, right in the heart of Geneva. If you are out in the city doing your holiday shopping and would like visit L’Écrin at the Cartier boutique, you must make a reservation in advance by calling 022 818 54 10.
L’Écrin will be open from December 8 to 23, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. While Michalak has been in Geneva for the opening of the tea room, he has enlisted the help of the French caterer, Potel & Chabot, for the rest of the month.
L’Écrin at Boutique Cartier Genève, Rue du Rhône 35, 1204 Geneva, +41 (0)22 818 54 10.