Remembrance of Things Meringue

Merveilleux means "marvelous" in French, but to Belgians it's also the name of a beloved traditional confection of meringues and cream. That's the namesake dessert at Ô Merveilleux, and Chowhounds say it's worth a try. It's an airy creation of perfectly sweetened cream and delicate meringues, crisp outside and chewy inside, covered with a scattering of chocolate shavings or crushed speculoos spice cookies. "I'd describe it more, but it was so good I wolfed it down," GoodGravy confesses. "I guess that means I'll have to go back and try it again."

This Upper East Side bakery, open since fall, also makes cakes, cookies, macarons, croissants, cream puffs, and a standout pain au chocolat, but the singular draw is the merveilleux. For Anne-Sophie Diotallevi, the proprietor and pastry chef, it's a madeleine-like talisman, transporting her to the Leuven of her girlhood and Sunday-afternoon treats from her grandparents. "I looked forward to the moment when my spoon would scoop the first layer of whipped cream, which delicately draped the pastry and highlighted the unique flavor of the fine shavings of powerful dark chocolate," she writes. "Ah! The light texture, coupled with the power of the taste, was a real and profound pleasure."

Ô Merveilleux [Upper East Side]
1509 Second Avenue (between E. 78th and 79th streets), Manhattan
646-681-8688

Photo from Ô Merveilleux