Côte d’Ivoire –though very African– was once known as the “Paris of West Africa”. Although this may seem like a misnomer today, anyone who has lived here can tell you it is no accident.
Don’t get me wrong. Ivorians are very proud people, who honor their history and maintain their diverse cultures and local languages –of which there are at least 77. Not surprisingly, they also maintain some of the cultural traditions of their French colonizers with equal enthusiasm. So, naturally, most Ivorians are united in their passion for fine pastries.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the popular French patisserie, Des Gâteaux et du Pain has opened several outlets in Abidjan in recent years. These shops are inevitably packed, making them a natural draw for a foodie family with young children.
I am not generally a fan of chain food. So, I had reservations about Des Gâteaux et du Pain at first, which were compounded by the fact that I have always been naturally inclined towards thrift — a habit which makes me an unlikely customer for a 1,000 CFA (about US$2) loaf of bread, when a perfectly decent baguette is available nearby at 150 CFA (aboutUS$0.35). However, I have to confess that even I was quickly won over by the difference in quality. The bread at Des Gâteaux et du Pain is extremely good and is available in a number of interesting and unusual varieties –including some fantastic whole grain loaves– which I haven’t yet found anywhere else in town.
However, Des Gâteaux et du Pain is about much more than bread. Their display cases burst with a mind-blowing range of quality French pastries, all of which are as beautifully presented as they are delicious.
Their cakes are equally divine. Having sampled my way through a few different cakes, I can personally attest to the fact that the locally-inspired Gagnoa is a chocolate-lover’s dram come true.
Des Gâteaux et du Pain also serves a rainbow array of homemade ice creams. I must confess I haven’t yet made it past the pastries myself. However, I’ve heard rave reviews from other customers and, if the breads and pastries are any indication, I am sure the ice creams will not disappoint.
The only downside of Des Gâteaux et du Pain is the lack of seating. Unfortunately, for now, it is a strictly carry-out affair. We understand there are plans afoot to open a tea room above their location in II Plateau during the coming months and are eagerly awaiting this particular development as it is hard to resist breaking into the beautiful pink boxes on the way home!
Des Gâteaux et du Pain
Rue de Jardins
Sur la voie de Hayat, près de la Galérie Sainte Cécile
II Plateaux, Abidjan
Tel: +225 22 41 55 31 +225 22 41 55 38
Price Range: Expensive