January 17 2010
It was over breakfast at the hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris that I first encountered kugelhoff – an Alsatian confection made with small pieces of grape and orange skin and similar in texture to brioche. Christophe Michalak, the hotel’s award-winning pastry chef – he has previously whipped up a stir in the patisserie world with such delights as his salted caramel religieuse, peach melba macaroon and famous marshmallow love bears – had just added it to the Plaza Athénée’s breakfast menu, which is why our waiter, unprompted, brought some to the table for us to try.
All I can say is that Michalak’s light-as-air confection, which here is also dipped in orange-blossom syrup, didn’t hang around for long, and it’s probably no coincidence that since it arrived on the breakfast menu, members of the calorie-counting fashion and beauty world – more commonly seen daintily taking afternoon tea or sipping pre-dinner cocktails in the bar – can now be spotted tucking into breakfast at the Plaza Athénée. Hotels everywhere please take note: kugelhoff is just the thing to liven up that dull and predictable phenomenon known as the continental breakfast.
Plaza Athénée continental breakfast is €38.