The Parisian Doughnut

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There is no shortage of sweets and pastries here in Paris. Macarons, eclairs, caramel au beurre salé, crème Chantilly and so much more, are staples of French culture and culinary traditions. But now that the coffee scene in Paris is thriving, there is nothing more perfect for my American palate than a decadent doughnut to pair with that perfect cup of coffee!

Luckily for me and my sweet tooth, a few fabulous Americans have tapped the doughnut market and have recently started selling their doughy creations throughout the city. Amanda of Boneshaker Paris and Alex of Doughmade have both partnered with some of Paris’ best coffee shops and their doughnuts can be found all over the city. We were lucky enough to chat with both of these American pastry masterminds and taste their sweet treats and we can now share this information with you, our trusted readers!

Amanda is originally from Virginia, USA, and the inspiration for Boneshaker dates back to 2013 in a mom-and-pop bakery on a New Jersey beach where cinnamon-sugar doughnuts sparked an idea to bring these sweet treats to the City of Light. The name “Boneshaker” comes from one of the first types of bicycle, invented in France in the 19th century. Both Amanda and her husband, Louis, love history, cycling, and France, and it is not a total coincidence that bicycle wheels resemble doughnuts and their equally delicious sweet rolls! With the help of the lovely Beans on Fire collaborative coffeeshop in the 11th arrondissement, Boneshaker launched their business and are now being sold at Loustic, Ob-La-Di, Le Peloton, La Chouette and Honor, as well.

Doughmade launched with a Kickstarter campaign and Alex now has successfully financed his pop-up doughnut bicycle that has had pop-up sales at Papier Tigre and Société Parisienne de Bière, and you can find Doughmade doughnuts regularly at Paris’ newest coffeeshop, The Hood (but be warned, they sell out quick)! Alex is originally from South Carolina, USA, and it is the classic glazed doughnuts of his hometown’s boardwalk, combined for his love for the city and its pastries (and his desire to follow his heart to Paris) that inspired his doughnut venture.

Besides a few isolated “leave the pastry to the French” comments, both Amanda and Alex have found that the doughnut has been enthusiastically accepted in Paris.

“Events like Le Bon Marché’s “Brooklyn Rive Gauche” last October are strongly illustrative of Parisians’ newfound interest in American food culture,” says Amanda, adding that she doesn’t think that the doughnut is all that different from the classic French patisserie : “rows of individually glazed treats topped with things like strawberries or chocolate (or…bacon?)”

Besides Boneshaker’s ever-popular Maple Bacon doughnut (that the French have decided is really only appropriate in the winter!), both Amanda and Alex have a set of “core” flavors. These classics are a good way to introduce doughnuts to the French palate, says Alex, before diving into anything more exotic. That said, both Alex and Amanda base their ever-changing menus on the market and their mood. “It’s more fun for me and the customers that way” says Amanda.

Alex plans to ride the doughnut trend and see where it takes him, whether the Doughmade bike will turn into a food truck or a cozy space offering doughnuts and more, we will have to see! Boneshaker will be leaving their residency at The Beans on Fire this summer and opening up their own family-run pastry shop on rue d’Aboukir in the 2nd where you will find homemade lemonade, coffee and, of course, doughnuts!

It is always great to chat with fellow American expat business owners braving the French business world and bringing a little bit of home to the City of Light. Alex and Amanda have started something wonderful (and delicious!) here in Paris and we look forward to see where they end up!

Follow their drool-worthy adventures on their instagram accounts (@doughmade & @boneshakerparis) for full details!

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