We were invited to tour Les Halles Boullangerie and Patisserie, L’Artisan Des Glaces (ice cream parlor) and Monsieur Paul in Epcot’s France Pavilion (backstage and onstage) by General Manager Eric Weistroffer. It was nice to see more of a pavilion we visit quite often!
Les-Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie has become our go-to French bakery. During just the first week of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, we stopped several times for a half baguette or pastry in the morning. Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie opens before World Showcase at 9:00 a.m., making for a delicious diversion either from the International Gateway or a walk away from Future World. If you are looking for a good cup of coffee, look no further – Les Halles serves Kawha coffee, a highly rated local brand (with French owners) that is roasted and packaged in Tampa.
Chip and Mrs. Potts are within the pavilion this year for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
One of the things I hadn’t realized about Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie, along with L’Artisan Glaces is that everything is made fresh. 700-800 half baguettes are made and sold every day, and that doesn’t include the whole baguettes and delicious bread bowls that are sold with the pumpkin soup. The small bread bowls can be purchased separately as well, for just $1.85 each (the same price as a half baguette). The baguettes are made fresh with just a few ingredients, and it takes 48 hours from start to finish. Weistroffer says that many people believe that water matters, but he doesn’t concur. “Time is the most important thing for bread”. One of the Les Halles bakers said that you have to “know your dough”. Even though the bread is made indoors, humidity can slightly change what percentage of ingredients are used, and these experienced bakers really know their bread. * We couldn’t take photos backstage
Guests can purchase sandwiches made with fresh bread, along with salads, pastries and soups at the bakery. The turkey sandwich we split was delicious – it isn’t a huge sandwich, I think most guests will want their own. The lobster bisque is made with Maine lobster, a smooth bisque after being blended. And I wrote up an article last week on the many ways to enjoy macarons at the France Pavilion, one of them being what looks like a large macaron tart. The high hopes we had for this item were far exceeded. Raspberries and lime cream are sandwiched in between two macarons, and the confection just melts in the mouth.
The team at Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie starts at a very early 4:00 a.m. to make sure everything is ready for opening. The 3000-foot kitchen that was part of the expansion last year allowed for all food to be created here – that wasn’t the case before. Everything in the kitchen is immaculate. Weistroffer emphasized, “Every day we start everything from scratch”.
Unlike Les Halles Boulangerie, L’Artisan Des Glaces opens after World Showcase, at noon. The ice cream is made from scratch here as well! The small kitchen that used to serve as the workspace for the former bakery (L’Artisan Des Glaces took its place last year) is the perfect size for the creation of ice cream. The ice cream here is all natural, made with milk, sugar, and homemade natural flavors.
L’Artisan Des Glaces introduced two new items in the past few months: the Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich and a Croque Glace’ (pressed brioche ice cream sandwich). Both are absolutely delicious! The chocolate macarons are made next door at Les Halles, and the ice cream made at L’Artisan Glaces. We watched the Croque Glaces being made for us in what looks like a waffle iron, until the homemade bread enveloped the ice cream. The Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich comes with chocolate ice cream, but guests can choose any flavors with the Brioche.
We talk about the Epcot France pavilion in this week’s Mousesteps Weekly show!
We also took a peek inside Monsieur Paul. This is one restaurant that Jeff and I haven’t dined at in the France pavilion. This is the setting for some of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival events, we look forward to booking one later this year! The restaurant is named for Chef Paul Bocuse, one of the first celebrity chefs. Monsieur Paul has an understated elegance.
We stopped at Fleur De Lys, which is the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival booth in France. We’d enjoyed the Macaron a’la Fleur d’Oranger (Orange Blossom Macaron) previously, the macaron bursts with orange flavor! This time around, we tried the Gnocchis Parisienne a’la Provencal (Dumplings with Vegetables) and Confit de Canard, Pommes de Terre Sarladaise (Pulled Duck Confit with Garlic and Parsley Potatoes). The portions here are generous compared with other booths we’ve been to, and everything is worth trying – I don’t eat duck, but Jeff thought it was excellent. One of my other favorite items was the Rose Pamplemousse Cocktail, which is a rose’ wine with grapefruit syrup. I don’t usually care much for grapefruit, but it really worked well for me here. Last, we enjoyed the La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush, which is vodka, Grey Goose, St. Germain Liqueur and Red cranberry juice. The drink has the look of cotton candy.
I mentioned earlier that Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie is our go-to French bakery. At just $2.95 for a full baguette and $1.95 for a half baguette (the baguettes are perfectly crispy on the outside, softer inside), this is a great way for us to bring the taste of France home anytime. And for a wonderful souvenir, the 6 pack of macarons is $10.34, very reasonable compared with other bakeries. We had our first macaron ever last year here! The box used to contain 5 macarons, but a new custom box was created in France to fit 6 for the same price.
Our baguette rests on one of our French metro trays at home.
Make sure to stop and indulge in some of the creative delights in Epcot’s France pavilion on your next trip!