This is my first Mardi Gras as a New Orleans resident and I realize I am treading on thin ice even broaching the topic of king cake at such an infant stage in my local life. Nonetheless, over the past two weeks, witnessing the enthusiasm this city has for king cakes has been like watching Elf’s Will Ferrell being told that Santa is on his way to the department store.
I’ve met diehard Randazzo fans, heard tales of the good old days at McKenzie’s, seen wrap-around lines at Haydel’s while being apprised of their Guinness Book fame, and even heard about gold-crusted and bacon-laden renditions of the royal confection. The enthusiasm is contagious.
I have come to realize that everyone has his or her own Prince Charming when it comes to this particular royalty. Although I may not be an expert on the king of the cakes, there is one thing I do know a little bit about, and that is French patisserie.
After spending two years eating my way through Paris, I am confident in my ability to spot a phenomenal set of flaky layers when I see one. So when I heard that Tartine, the French patisserie tucked away Uptown, was kneading up its own version of the famous gâteau du roi, I knew that a love affair was not far away.
Tartine’s brioche king cake is over-the-top decadent. Each bite seems to be filled with more buttery goodness then the last. It is dense, moist and rich with the perfect amount of melt-in-your-mouth crystalized sugar. Maybe it’s the brioche or the French patisserie-trained chef, but there is something different about this one, and I like it.
Although I realize that most affairs are fleeting, they are never forgotten. And as I suspect there will be lots of love in the air over the coming years, Tartine is a prince this novice will never forget.
Tartine, at 7217 Perrier Street, is open Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Emily Carrere writes the weekly column Haute Coulture for NolaVie, bringing you fabulous finds that feature artists, designers, products and businesses in New Orleans. Visit her daily blog Walnut Lane.