Where France meets Riga. Bel Étage
I remember the day they wrote me to ask me if I wanted to try their cakes. I have tried my share of cakes and, sometimes, they’re not the best, but – Hey! Why not? There is always the bin if it tastes really bad. So they brought me a variety of cakes – all beautiful, like from the cover of a magazine. But you know that looks can be deceiving. I have learned my lesson. But we tried them, four of us. The first noisy excitement, accompanied by speaking loud and louder, suddenly disappeared after the first bite. I knew mine was great, but what about the others? Then came the sounds that said it all. All four of us loved them. The cakes they brought were like little drops of heaven. One by one, the cakes disappeared easily, and I had just one thing on my mind: Wow! They are perfectly balanced and not too sweet. Turns out, I was not the only one thinking that.
Their Buche de Noel was amazing. Then the croissants – oh my! (Want to make me happy? Send me a box!) And six different cakes. We were in love. And then I met the pastry chef, Julija Balicka, and I understood why the cakes are so good. The passion when she talks about them, the schools she has finished (LeNôtre, L’ecole Internationale de Pâtisserie Olivier Bajard MOD, Elle & Vire Ecole Professionnel Nicolas Boussin MOF, Angelo Musa MOF, Institut National de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie Sebastien Odet, ENSP Pascal Brunstein “Chocolat Création de moules personnalisés”), and the way she sees a cake and any creation she makes – it was all there. No more than 40% of the total is sugar with two main and two extra ingredients, and different textures. It was all there, like in Paris or New York.
Now, thanks to her, we all have the possibility to have something from Paris here in Riga. Mille-feuille, French style macarons (a bit ugly, as she says too, bet very, very tasty), perfect éclairs, amazing croissants and lots of different cakes. Plus – nougat, Breton cookies and caramel. So, whatever your plan, there must always be time for cake at Bel Etage, or at home or in a park or somewhere else, but from Bel Étage.