Christopher Farai Charamba
When someone mentions France one of the first thoughts is that of Paris. In the mind’s eye one pictures the Eiffel Tower.
Love and romance soon follow, as Paris is affectionately known to be the city of love.
Or perhaps they think about the French Rivera, that famous Mediterranean coast in south east France, places such as St Tropez and Cannes.
There too the picture of amour is conjured, basking in the sun, sipping on French wine, pure bliss I’d say.
Back to Paris one of my favourite images is that of the cafés all serving coffee and various delightful confectionaries.
I find those to be the perfect space for one to sit, relax, read and enjoy their own company.
In Alexandra Park at number 47 Lomagundi Road, is a quaint little café that brings a sliver of Paris to Harare.
Café de Paris, is a pâtisserie that sells a wonderful array of pastries both sweet and savoury. As a huge fan of croissants, discovering this eatery was a blessing from the heavens despite it tormenting my wallet through frequent visits.
The owner is a French expatriate who is very welcoming and treats his customers like old friends.
The pastries on offer are freshly made each day which makes them light and fluffy, melting in one’s mouth after each bite.
In the sweet section is a wonderful variety of croissants, eclairs, meringues, crepes, brioches, profiteroles, tarts and cakes.
Everything is handmade and carries a great balance of sweetness to excite that tooth but not too much to make one feel ill.
A favourite of mine is the ‘croissant aux amandes’, almond croissants. The pasty itself is soft on the palate and inside is an almond cream filling that adds a splendid sweet touch to snack.
The “pain aux raisins”, chelsea bun, is another great confectionery that one recommends to anyone who like myself is a fan of raisins.
For those who like fruit, the pistachio tarts are for you, as the pistachio filling is topped with fresh strawberries and garnished with a sprinkle of nuts.
When talking confectioneries, one cannot neglect to mention chocolate and Café de Paris does not disappoint either in this department. The Belgian chocolate eclairs are a perfect for anyone with a love of both chocolate and pastry and will certainly have them coming back for more.
If sweet is not for you then Café de Paris also offers a variety, though limited of savoury pastries.
Their chicken pie is arguably one of the best in Harare if not the whole of Zimbabwe. The pastry to make the pie is handmade and the filling is seasoned to perfection giving it a wonderful aroma and even better taste.
One can also indulge in the sour-dough baguette also freshly made with a lovely thick crust. It is a perfect complement to a soup particularly during the cold winter nights.
The prices in Café de Paris range from $2 to $5 for most of the confectioneries, some of the items are $2 for 3 or 4 depending.
They also serve coffee and although the space is small and only seats a few one can sit back and relax, bring a book or come and catch up with a friend over something sweet and something warm to drink.
Unfortunately, the last time I was there they did not have a swipe machine so for those who wish to pop in and purchase something, make sure you carry cash or EcoCash.
Café de Paris is open Monday to Friday from 7am to 5pm and on Saturdays from 7am to 4pm.