Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Shanghai] Aimé Pâtisserie

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Aimé Pâtisserie

Add: 1008 Middle Huaihai Rd, near South Shanxi Rd/ 淮海中路1008号, 近陕西南路
Tel: 6481 0558
Hours: 12-9pm
Price: 32-45 RMB/pastry, 18 RMB/macaron
Visited: Jan 2014

When I was still in Paris, someone on weibo sent me photos of a shop called Aimé Pâtisserie which recently opened in Shanghai, and asked if it has anything to do with Pierre Hermé. I was confused as I browsed through photos of its products, which are so similar to those of Pierre Hermé in terms of flavor combination, design, and even packaging, but they are clearly not from Pierre Hermé himself. What’s going on? I later found out that this is a flagrant case of copying. From what I heard, the French owner hired an ex-employee from Pierre Hermé Japan, who brought along PH’s original recipes, and basically reproduced many of his products here in Shanghai.

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I heard through the grapevine that Pierre Hermé himself found out about this, and actually came to Shanghai to tell off on this Japanese pastry chef who copied his creations, and the Japanese chef subsequently left Shanghai. Apparently Pierre Hermé was so angry that he also told all of his ingredient suppliers to not supply to Aimé Pâtisserie. I don’t know what actually happened since I heard all this through industry gossip, but if it did, it must have been a pretty ugly scene.

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I was very upset for Pierre Hermé when I heard of this copy and paste business, but still came to check it out as I was curious to see how closely the products here resemble their originals.

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We first tried the Alliance Rose Framboise Litchi (45 RMB), which is practically the same in terms of composition as the Cheesecake Ispahan I had from Pierre Hermé last year during Fetish Ispahan. This Aimé version isn’t as neatly done as its original – as you can see the layers and the cut are messy – but I have to say that in terms of taste it’s really not bad.

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I was tempted to get a Vanille Sauvage de Madagascar (45 RMB), which is an imitation of Pierre Herme’s Tarte Infiniment Vanille – one of my favorite pastry in Paris – but in the end I chose something that’s not from PH. Paris-Brest Classique (32 RMB) is kind of a funny name for what we got because a classic Paris-Brest is filled with hazelnut cream, but this has chocolate cream instead. That aside, the pastry itself is quite nice, both the pate-a-choux and the cream properly done.

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We then tried two  macarons, a strawberry basalmic vinegar and a passionfruit chocolate (18 RMB/each). The passionfruit chocolate had cavities in its coques, but the cream had a smooth texture and the flavor was pleasant. The strawberry basalmic vinegar cream, on the other hand, had really grainy texture with a stale fridge taste. Not so great.

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I’ve been told that Aimé Pâtisserie is one of the better pastry shops in Shanghai, which doesn’t surprise me since many of its recipes came from Pierre Hermé. There’s nothing wrong with using recipes from others – this is common practice in the industry – but I do wish Aimé Pâtisserie can do more than just copy and paste, whether in the pastries themselves or the packagings. Even the name “Aimé” sounds uncomfortably close to “Hermé”, no?

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Written by sugarednspiced

January 19th, 2015 at 12:53 am