La Tatin

La Tatin

So much has been said and rumored when it comes to the origins of the Tarte Tatin!
Could this delicious upside down caramelized apple tart be the result of a goofy baking mistake or is it simply an old recipe from the Sologne region of France? At least everyone agrees the sisters Caroline and Stephanie Tatin gave it its name and originated it’s success.


At the end of the 19th century the two sisters ran the Hotel Tatin, a guest house across the railroad station of Lamotte-Beuvron in the Sologne.

Soeurs_Tatin-c1f58Some say it was there during a lunch service rush that Stephanie placed a tart in the oven without the dow, adding it later in the baking process. Others say that when a sister forgot the apples in the oven they over caramelized and stuck to the pan; unable to dress the tart she decided to place the dow on top.

It is also said the tart was dropped by the sisters and flipped upside down when it was repositioned to bake as such. Or that the sisters came up with the desert during a rushed service after realizing they had forgotten to plan for one. Another rumor claims the tart was created by noble man Earl Chateauvillard’s private chef!

Beyond the creative speculations lies a more common reality as the upside down apple (or pear) tart is in fact an ancient Solognote recipe that was widespread in the Orleanais.

In the 1920’s renown “gastronome” and food critic Maurice Edmond-Saillant (aka Curnonsky) brought the desert to fame in Paris. The tart was served for the first time at the mundane Maxim’s restaurant on Rue Royale. It is possible that much celebrated Curnonsky initiated the rumors simply to amuse the public.

In any case, don’t leave Paris without indulging your taste buds with a traditional Tarte Tatin.
Below is our list of bakeries most recommended for this delicacy.

It is advised to eat the tart lukewarm with “creme fraiche” or “a la mode” with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. To enhance your privileged moment consider a sweet wine, preferably young, a Jurancon or Muscat Beaume de Venise. You can also pair your “gourmandise” with the soothing wisdom of a French Breakfast tea from Mariage Freres in the Marais.

If you stay in one of our St Germain apartments four of the best Tatin makers are at your doorstep:

– Gérard Mulot 76 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
– Arnaud Lahrer 93 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
– Eric Kaizer 10 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie 75006 Paris
– Pierre Hermé 2 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris,

On Ile Saint Louis island don’t miss the legendary Berthillon:

– Berthillon 31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris

And if you find yourself on the right bank these are a must-try:

– Laduree 75 Avenue des Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris
– Yamazaki 6 Chaussée de la Muette, 75016 Paris

Happy tasting!

(published by Franck Bechade and Pat Combrisson – Dec. 1, 2015)

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