“Nugateau is Toronto’s first and only standalone éclair shop,” asserts Atul Palghadmal, pastry chef and co-owner of the new Queen West café—a space which recalls a jewellery store, with the gems swapped for brightly-glazed éclairs under glass cases. While perhaps a novelty in Toronto, the humble éclair’s star has been rising steadily across the perplexing galaxy of dessert crazes, surpassing the cupcake, the macaron, the cake pop, the doughnut, arguably the cronut, and the gourmet marshmallow to become the new must-Instagram treat.
Indeed, once a bit of a dessert wallflower, inventive incarnations of the cream-filled choux batons have debuted worldwide; the éclair has been transformed into a confection as showy and scene-stealing as a full-fledged drag queen. London’s Maitre Choux serves them topped with Persian pistachio or coconut snow, for example, and Brooklyn’s Bien Cuit flavours them with kafir lime, or passion fruit and corn crème topped with popcorn and chili. French pastry chef Christophe Adam owns three éclair-only pâtisseries in Paris and everything they carry could qualify as a work of art—especially those topped with white chocolate disks screen-printed with the Mona Lisa. Now, Nugateau even offers them flavoured with foie gras and lobster, as well as the immortal combination of maple and bacon.
“This shop is the culmination of our passion for food and our desire to bring something new and exciting for Torontonians,” Palghadmal continues. Formerly head pastry chef at Jelly Modern Donuts, he does seem like the right man to introduce a new dessert craze to Canada. Who would have predicted it would be one that bears such resemblance to a Twinkie?