I'm a firm believer that when something is done extremely well, it can make you a believer.
I'm also a believer that sometimes the most wonderful experiences are the ones that you stumble upon accidentally (if serendipitously).
Case in point: the pear-chocolate tart from Thierry Renard, a tiny boulangerie-patisserie in a Paris neighborhood off the beaten path, in a neighborhood with a hospital and what looks like a lot of medical students milling about.
Though I don't consider myself a big fan of pear desserts -- or chocolate-and-fruit flavor pairings, for that matter! -- after tasting this I had to concede that it was very, very good.
When the bitterness of the dark chocolate meets the mellow sweetness of the pears, which were soft but not in a mushy way, something lovely happens: both flavors make the other better. It's not a pastry made of sharp contrasts but more composed of subtleties, all wrapped up in a deliciously buttery crust. And the glaze and chocolate chips on top don't hurt, either. Oh, let's look at it again:
Who knew what a perfect pear-ing these flavors could be--merci, Thierry Renard!
Tarte Poires Chocolat from Thierry Renard, 131 bis Boulevard de l’Hôpital, 13th Arrondissement, Paris.