February 14th, 2012
I couldn’t help noticing the cake shop windows today – St. Valentine does almost seem to be the patron saint of of the pâtisserie as well as of lovers. St. Valentine was an early Christian martyr and his commemorative day was initiated in 496 by Pope Gelasius I – he wasn’t, however, associated with romantic love until Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the poem, Parliament of Foules (1382) (containing the lines, “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”) and by the 15th Century his day had become the day for lovers to give gifts of cards, confectionery and flowers.
I was particularly impressed by the heart shaped chocolate cakes, with kisses on them in Louis Pâtisserie, Hampstead. This is a traditional pâtisserie, bakery and tea room, established in 1963. The cakes are delicious and the interior has that lovely old fashioned dark and cozy feel that’s sadly missing these days. Louis is at:
32 Heath Street, NW3 6TE
Round the corner from Louis, I found these queen of heart tarts in Melrose and Morgan – a relatively new and upmarket grocery/delicatessen. The tarts are hand baked and filled with their home made jam. Melrose and Morgan sell fresh produce to take home and cook, as well as their own preprepared food to eat in or take away – Melrose and Morgan are at:
Oriel Hall, Oriel Place, NW3 1QN
Happy Valentine’s Day!