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MECCA in Paris? Café Diptyque Has Arrived in Melbourne

January 1 | 2 minute watch


Words by Kerri Gordon

Originally published on | April 4

Ah, Paris – the city of boulangerie, bougie parfumerie and, bisous! For those that have experienced the city, you’ll know that starting every morning with a coffee and a freshly baked and buttered croissant (or baguette traditionale), perched at a bistro table beneath the awning of your local café, is a not just a rite, but a ritual of passage.

It’s the true romance of the city – one that can be enjoyed equally alone or in good company, in rain, hail or shine. When Parisian maison Diptyque slipped us a note that they’d be encapsulating French café culture in wax by way of a limited-edition trio of gourmet candles– inspired by the famous Café Verlet, no less – we knew what had to be done.

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Firstly, we stocked up on the new candles, so everyone can get a sweet piece of Paris in their home. There’s Café, a roasted coffee bean-forward candle that transforms any space into a buzzy beanery. Chantilly; an airy, sweet (but not cloying) vanilla candle, inspired by swirls of chantilly cream found atop rich hot chocolates. And, to candle collectors’ delight, ‘Biscuit’ is back – a softly spicy, buttery, caramelised cookie scent that, last holiday season, sold out quicker than one could say ‘s'il vous plaît’.

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Then, mouths watering and minds wandering, we found an empty store in a Melbourne laneway, called up our friends at Andrew McConnell’s Morning Market, fired up the ovens at Baker Bleu, and curated a team of painters, builders and shopfitters to create Café Diptyque – a pop-up that transports your every sense to the streets of Paris.

Inspired by the limited-edition gourmet candles and the Café Verlet experience, Morning Market – lead by Head Chef Guillaume Montes – are plating up silver platters with warm croissants (rhubarb jam and French butter on the side), pretty petit fours – including macarons, canelé and chocolate tarts – and thick, luscious, European-style hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream.

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“It’s all about butter,” French-trained Guillaume (formerly of Château de Mercuès, Ô Saveurs, Bacash and Gazi) tells us of the quintessential Parisian bakery experience. “The butter, the caramelisation of the flour, of the sugar. The smell of the crust of the bread. It’s that mix of smells that makes the bakeries so special,” he adds.

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On croissants, specifically, he lauds Baker Bleu’s version as the best of their kind. “They use the best French butter available,” he explains, in addition to stone-ground flour. “It gives a nutty flavour to the croissant which really sets them apart.”

In Paris and throughout Europe, café culture is for all and for everyday, as Guillaume reminisces: “They’re a meeting place before work, or a lot of people go by themselves; read the newspaper, have a croissant – usually with an espresso.”

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And when a flight to France feels like a pipe dream? Strike a match to the Gourmet Candle Collection – it’s almost as good as being there…

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