A one-way ticket to heavenly delights

At the new Cafe Madeleine, the 4pm goûter is an all-day affair

Cafe Madeleine. (Photos: Four Seasons Bangkok)

Cafes in France were the centres of the cultural revolutions in the 17th and 18th centuries and places of artistic freedom. Bringing the culture of cafe gourmand to Bangkok is the newly-opened Cafe Madeleine at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River.

Located on the riverfront promenade, this casual cafe is under the helm of executive pastry chef Andrea Bonaffini and features modern French mignardises, bakery and retail items, with Italian flair, and this is where the artistic freedom comes into play. "Cafe Madeleine is French-influenced even though I am Italian," laughs the chef. Freshly-baked croissants, decadent pastries, cakes, premium coffee, sourdough and the signature madeleines are what will get your mouth watering the minute you lay your eyes on them. And that's a lot!

Freshly-baked croissants.

"I have created a signature selection of cakes, which are available in their entirety, mono portion and petit mignon, similar to what you find in cafes throughout Europe. In France and Italy, we don't buy full cakes, we have smaller portions and this is the concept we have created here. This works for the current situation too, so everyone has their own portion," says chef Bonaffini.

The pastry chef's signature cake is the irresistible Gianduja chocolate and hazelnut mousse (petit mignon B95, mono B180 and whole cake B1,400). The gianduja, which originates from Torino, is a chocolate spread of hazelnut and milk, is made with housemade praline, hazelnuts from Piedmont, a bit of sea salt and caramel, which is blended into a paste. This is combined with 100% Piedmont gianduja mixed with milk to create an emulsion, which creates a creamy hazelnut explosion and who doesn't like this kind of explosion?! Outside there is a dark chocolate mousse to balance the richness, a chocolate sponge and a thin layer of cacao nibs praline. Definitely my absolute favourite!

Chef Bonaffini's other signature is the Bronte pistachio cake (petit mignon B120, mono B240 and whole cake B1,450), which is a classic French combination of pistachios and raspberries. "I love pistachios as my family comes from Sicily. One of the best pistachios comes from Bronte, from where you get an amazing pistachio paste. Pistachios are quite rich and fat and I like to combine them with something sour to give it balance. The cake has a raspberry gel, made by cooking fresh raspberries into a compote. The bottom is a sable Breton, which gives the cake a touch of salt, and has a dacquoise," adds the chef. The cake is finished off with pistachio shavings and fresh raspberries. Mouth watering yet?

Madeleines.

Executive pastry chef Andrea Bonaffini.

The French classic pastry, Religieuse is blessed with Asian and tropical touches. The Coconut and pandan choux (petit mignon B120 and mono B220), is made with coconut cream and pandan, with a sprinkling of salt. Another refreshing splash is the Mango and passion fruit cheesecake (petit mignon B95, mono B180 and whole came B1,250), which is coated in fresh mangoes. For something light, try the Vanilla strawberry sponge cake (petit mignon B95, mono B180 and whole cake B1,350), which reminds me of the dome of Moscow's Saint Basil's Cathedral. There is also a Seasonal fresh fruit tart (petit mignon B95 and mono B180).

It would be almost disrespectful to visit Cafe Madeleine without trying its namesake, which comes in three flavours. This season there is a passion fruit and coconut flavour dipped in white chocolate and shredded coconut; a raspberry and vanilla flavour, which is a vanilla madeleine with raspberry jam dipped in chocolate and dried-freeze raspberries; and then there is the chocolate caramel flavour, which is a caramel filling dipped in chocolate and cacao nibs. These flavours change seasonally, so the hashtag #beentheredonethat won't work here.

The pastries also change seasonally, promises chef Bonaffini, and all of the pastries can be washed down with French coffee from Cafe Richard, connoisseurs of French traditional coffee. Though Cafe Madeleine has a few cold coffee blends and drinks for the non-caffeinated. Teas from Jing range are also in store. "All of our beverages come with a signature touch -- freshly-baked miniature madeleines, which come out of the oven as soon as your order is ready and is brushed with Thai honey," adds the chef.

On average, there are six types of cakes available at Cafe Madeleine, though chef Bonaffini also does bespoke celebration cakes. Since we are in a tech-driven age, browse Cafe Madeleine's online shop to peruse the patisserie's selection of cakes and pastries, available to order for pick-up. The cafe also has baked goods infused with seasonal fruits, nuts, chocolate and flavours.

Cafe Madeleine is open daily from 7am-8pm, offering breakfast bakery items and housemade yoghurts, with light salads and sandwiches for lunch. It also has a grab-and-go section with breads and cold cuts. Feeling those Emily In Paris vibes, anyone?


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