Aux Merveilleux de Fred

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If you think Ladurée’s macaroons are the best thing to come out of France, you haven’t tried Frédéric Vaucamps’ merveilleux. Stealing the number one spot from the fashionable macaroon, the merveilleux is London’s new French cake obsession. Light and fluffy meringue, hiding a soft centre of whipped cream, rolled in chocolate, nuts or crystallised meringue, it’s not hard to understand why these French-Belgian desserts have stolen Londoners’ hearts. And I haven’t even started on Fred’s brioche yet…

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The talented Frédéric Vaucamps started an apprenticeship as a pastry chef at the tender age of 14 and fell in love with merveilleux cakes not long after. With his tenacity and drive for perfection, less than 10 years later Frédéric had transformed the traditional recipe, making these beautiful cakes lighter than ever and experimenting with different flavours, and opened his own shop. It it Frédéric and his decadent bakeries, “Aux Merveilleux de Fred“, that have modernised and added a touch of glamour to this traditional pastry and made it Paris, New York and London’s new “It Cake”.

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Not being content with only mastering the art of the merveilleux, Frédéric also experimented with brioche bread and different flavours. Just like his heavenly cakes, these  cramiques proved unbelievably popular and soon people were flocking to his bakeries to get their hands on these freshly-baked, golden buns.

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When you step into Aux Merveilleux de Fred, with its sparkling chandeliers and gleaming counters, you know that you’re in for something special…

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All of the beautiful cakes and breads are baked on site so you’re immediately hit by that sweet, buttery scent and everywhere you look there are rows and rows of delicious French treats…

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Miniature versions of the merveilleux cakes are available, allowing you to taste each of the six flavours:

  • The Incroyable (with cream, speculaas biscuit and white chocolate shavings);
  • The Impensable (with coffee cream and crystallized coffee meringue);
  • The Merveilleux (with chocolate cream and dark chocolate shavings);
  • The Magnifique (with praline cream, almond chips and caramelised hazelnuts);
  • The Sans-Culotte (with caramel cream and crystallised meringue); and
  • The Excentrique (with cherry cream and crystallized cherry meringue).

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They would make the prettiest gifts, but if you can resist eating them before giving them away, I’ll be seriously impressed!

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You can even watch these little beauties being assembled. There are racks of freshly baked meringues…

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Which are slathered with cream and rolled in the various toppings…

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Ready to be scooped up by the next lucky customer.

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There is also an exposed kitchen at the back where you can see the pastries ready to be placed in the oven…

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And the meringues being piped out…

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We decided to shelter from the drizzly January day in Fred’s yellow and white striped haven.

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We ordered teas and coffees from the extensive menu…

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And waited for our selected bakes to arrive…

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Slight aside, but if you’re looking for a perfect pair of leather-look trousers I recently bought these and they’re amazing! They’re in the sale, so be quick!

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Our table of treats arrived…

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Just look at that cramique! We went for the chocolate chip version but my friend swears the raisin one is even better.

Oh it was such a shame that the smaller version wasn’t out of the oven yet. We really were disappointed when we had to settle for one the size of our head…

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Our plans for saving half for the next day didn’t exactly pan out…

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Rich and buttery but soft as a pillow…

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Still hot from the oven, the chocolate chips melt onto your hands…

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Then, after a little breather (that cramique really was the size of my head), it was on to the merveilleux. We chose The Incroyable and The Excentrique, anything with the word “cherry” in it and Mr Kelly is sold.

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Perfectly cooked, crunchy-yet-chewy meringue with that soft, creamy centre…

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The cherry version was delicious!

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But for me, it’s all about The Incroyable. Soft, fluffy cream, crunchy pieces of speculaas biscuit, meringue and that hit of sweet, white chocolate.

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Can you think of a better way to spend a cold and rainy Saturday morning?

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This weekend we were in the Aux Merveilleux de Fred on Old Brompton Road but if you’re south of the river you’ll be relieved to know that Fred’s opened a branch on Northcote Road in Wandsworth. Get there quick – those cramiques sell like…well, hotcakes!

We rode on our sugar high down the road to the Natural History Museum to while away the afternoon in Mr Kelly’s favourite London exhibition, the amazing Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

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If you haven’t been already, this year’s exhibition is definitely worth a visit. It’s on until 10th September, so plenty of time to get some tickets booked.

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Another perfect London day.

Posted by

London-based foodie with a shopping addiction, a love for swanky interiors and an obsession with white sandy beaches.

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