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Faustine Bollaert

3 June 2020
A cheerful epicurean

The bubbliest of hosts, Faustine Bollaert has curiosity and taste riveted to her heart. Six year of hosting the Meilleur Pâtissier how on M6 TV channel have not waned her gourmandise. Here, she gives us her sweet preferences. 

Your favourite flavour?

Praline. When I was a little girl, I used to ask my mother to buy Mystère ® ice creams, just for the pleasure of eating the praline that covers the vanilla ice cream and the meringue. I could even leave the rest behind! As a matter of fact, I recently discovered that all cakes I like are praline-based cakes.

Where does gourmandise stand in your life?

Too high! (Laughter). I am an epicurean. I like to eat, to treat myself, and I am very keen on rituals related to the pleasures of eating: cooking, setting up a nice table or preparing a good meal with friends… The kitchen is THE most important room of our home.

A dessert in particular?

The Castin, a fetish cake from my native village in Brittany. A recipe based on praline, as a matter of fact, with meringue and pastry cream, but the exact ingredients are a secret of state! If you happen to visit the Côtes d’Armor, run to La Belle Meunière in Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, which is a highly reputed tearoom in the region, and treat yourself to a Castin while remembering what I just told you. That is if we do not meet on the terrace!

What moved you most with pastry chefs and artisans?

Their generosity. On top of the gourmandize and of the art of finding the right balance between flavours, the artisans I met have always bewildered me with their extreme will to please you, to give you happiness. This remains their prior motivation, above their title or their reputation. They are philanthropists with a passion.

An anecdote with a sugary chef?

I am extremely fond of Pierre Hermé, with whom I had the pleasure to work with for Le meilleur Pâtissier. I do not have a specific anecdote, just the exquisite feeling of a gigantic gap between the high professional that he is and his simplicity. Not to mention his humour! Pierre Hermé certainly is one of the best pastry chefs in the world, but, before anything else, he is a delicious man with a lot of self-mockery.

What about the Le Meilleur Pâtissier TV show?

I shall never regret leaving for France 2 for this new career, but I do feel nostalgic about the people I worked with on M6 and of the world of pastry. I miss Mercotte or Cyril Lignac, and all gourmands that made these five years of my life a wonderful souvenir.

The gourmand moment that you prefer?

Breakfast! This is THE moment of the day during which I allow myself to stray most! I go from sweet to savoury, I mix everything and I dare any flavour. I am capable of dipping my Roquefort slice of bread in hot chocolate. I enjoy this gourmand family moment every morning, and I prepare it very carefully.

A sin to share?

Meringuettes! My favourite vice. Is there anything more convivial than sharing small meringues at the end of a meal, with  some coffee or tea?

A sweet souvenir from childhood?

The fondant on top of the mille-feuilles! I am so sad that this tradition is getting lost. I used to be able to buy this cake simply for the pleasure of eating the chocolate lines on this white fondant… and I would give the rest to my older brother! I love it when it is sweet and I remain a nightmare for Mercotte, who, during le Meilleur Pâtissier, never ceased to tell me that a good cake should not be too sweet.

Do you prefer chocolate, sweets or …?

I am addicted to sweets. I would love to be speaking of beautiful bonbons of our childhood, like the poppies or the aniseed bonbons, but I think I prefer the more chemical, stingy and coloured sweets of today! I have to admit something here: there are a lot of sweets at my home. To be consumed with moderation of course.

If you were a sweet?

I would be a fudge. Because this is a Scottish specialty, a country which I love in a special way. They come in all tastes. My preference goes to coffee fudges. I always have some in my night table, just in case the envy would emerge, late in the evening or even during the night…

From "Desserts" Autumn/Winter n°20 

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