Valentine Pâtisseries

valentine cakes

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.

Interestingly, St. Valentine’s Day was removed from the General Roman Calendar (of Saints) in 1969 by Pope Paul VI – luckily it doesn’t seem to have had much impact on the romantic celebrations.

chocolate heart cake

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

jam tart heart

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!

About Mad Dog
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18 Responses to Valentine Pâtisseries

  1. They are sooo beautiful, especially the Queen of Hearts tarts! God I miss good cake, there isn’t any around here (although there’s a new French patisserie in Los Remedios, with another branch opening on Plaza Nueva shortly. Tarts and poncy mini-puds, all the way from gay Paree, but no really good cake). I lived near Hampstead village for years – those delis are dead poncy and horrendously over-priced, but great for naughty treats. So, did you buy anyone a heart cake today?

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Fiona – I didn’t realise that Seville was so cake free – Barcelona is full of pâtisseries and I assumed that cake was popular throughout Spain…

  2. Ah you old softy you! I love those Queen of Heart tarts too – they look like very posh jammy dodgers 😉 And noone told Spain about St Valentine being knocked off the list – it´s on my obligatory calendar with all the Saint´s Days!

  3. rutheh says:

    Queen of Heart Tarts shot rules! All look delicious and inviting.

  4. zestybeandog says:

    Love it! they both look great and yummy!

  5. Hi MD!
    Happy Valentine’s Day 😉
    Very interesting story.

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    What a tantalizing trio of deliciousness! I tend to stay away from the bakeries and pastry shops on the days leading up to and including Valentine’s Day. I’ve little discipline as it is when it comes to their wares. Going into one now is just asking for trouble. 🙂

  7. Nice cakes, but the best is the Chaucer quotation – well spotted.

  8. ceciliag says:

    I really do miss these little bakeries.. each tiny morsel is just perfect! Gorgeous! Thank you.. c

  9. Karen says:

    Lovely pastries and interesting information about valentines day.

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