The Saint Tropez Pastry.
Saint Tropez, synonymous with starlets and luxury, is home to an ingenue of it’s own. One of the pastry sort. A rich yet light and fluffy Brioche dough (thanks to oodles of butter and eggs), filled with pastry or butter cream and sprinkled with pearled sugar – the Tarte Tropezienne is simple yet stylish. Available either as a ‘cake’ large enough to satiate eight, or in delightful individual portions, it prefers the cooler climes of the fridge prior to serving.
A relatively late riser to fame and ‘regional status’, the Tarte was truly popularised in the 1960s when Saint Tropez became a glitzy tourist destination. In 1955 a humble bakery, owned by Alexandre Mika, became the choice caterer for the film crew of ‘And God Created Woman’. Brigitte Bardot, launched to superstar status with the film, adored the Tarte, based off Mika’s Polish grandmother’s recipe, and pleaded that it be formally named.
‘Tarte Tropezienne’ has since been patented, and the original bakery still exists under the clock-tower. Stores throughout Saint Tropez sell their version of the ‘Trop’, some flavoured with the ‘regionally correct’ orange blossom water, some with the less traditional Kirsch, and others breaking out of the mold; studded with berries or chocolate.
Once a sleepy fishing village, after Bardot graced Saint Tropez, it was catapulted to the top of ‘must-see’ destinations. The comforting nature of sweet pastry, oozing with creamy filling doesn’t align with the lithe beach bodies and projected ‘sexy’ image. Unlike Bardot, starlets today opt for green shakes over rich cakes. However, Shugart (2008) suggests that an appetite for indulgence has been conflated with an appetite for sex, so perhaps the two go hand in hand after all.
Although Saint Tropez is hardly famed for it’s contribution to Provencal cuisine – the Tarte Tropezienne is considered it’s ‘high point’ and is therefore promulgated as the authentic foodie product to sample. And true to form, original methods are still predominantly followed, such as the production of sugar sprinkles in copper cauldrons.
Closer to home, the elusive Tarte Tropezienne can be found at Croissant D’Or, filled with a less conventional Grand Mariner spiked custard and scattered with almonds.