We made our way through the crowds, past the slot machines and gambling tables at the Aria Resort and Casino
to find a treasure of European delights waiting for us at Jean-Philippe Patisserie
. This sleek and modern cafe offers a taste of the old world to it's Las Vegas patrons. One look the incredible display of freshly baked pastries and my husband and I totally forgot we were in Sin City and felt transported to a bakery in France.
The glass counters that hold the unbelievable selection of tarts, cakes, macaroons, croissants, mousse cups, sandwiches, and more, span one half of the expansive pastry shop. The other side is equally impressive with packaged chocolates stacked high on shelves and chocolate sculptures adorning the displays. An entire glass showcase is devoted to individual pieces of artisan chocolates, and another to gelato. In between, handmade crepes and omelettes are made to order.
The smells coming from the on-site kitchen were pleasantly reminiscent of every corner pastry shop in Paris and the selection was just as great. We couldn't pass up fresh crepes and ordered one savory and one sweet. The Italian was filled with mozzarella, spinach, and tomatoes then piled high with Prosciutto and drizzled with a creamy pesto sauce. The crepe itself was deep brown in color, had a lovely earthy flavor, and was light and delicate. After our first bite, we both looked at each other and agreed that this crepe was superior to any we ate on our European travels. We fought to lick the plate clean.
The sweet crepe filled with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries topped with whipped cream was nice, and as expected, but we both wished we had ordered two of the Italian crepes instead.
Our bellies were full, but our eyes were wide with hunger, so we got some pastries and chocolates to go and enjoyed them during the remainder of our stay in Las Vegas.
We purchased a selection of Jean-Philippe's artisan chocolates and really enjoyed each beautiful decorated little ganache filled chocolate square. We also tried a few brightly colored macaroons, which were delicate in texture but robust in flavor.
My American palate, which is used to intensely sweet desserts, found some of the pastries we tried to be a little bland, but enjoyable nonetheless. The only dessert neither of us cared for was the mille-feuille, also known as a Napoleon. The puff pastry was too hard to cut through, the pastry crème was gritty and, surprisingly, the icing was exceedingly sweet.
My favorite purchase was a Peanut Lollipop. This unassuming looking lollipop turned out to be one of the most exquisite desserts I've ever eaten. With childlike enthusiasm, I held onto the stick and bit into the milk chocolate dipped orb to discover layers of rich chocolate peanut caramel, peanut butter mousse, and white chocolate brownie. The combination of salty and sweet, creamy and chewy, crunchy and soft, made for an incredible bite. I couldn't wait to take more and before my husband could even ask for a bite, all that was left was the stick.
I'd travel back to Las Vegas just to eat at the Jean-Philippe Patisserie again and maybe next time we'll dine at the second location within the Bellagio
. It is smaller but it's big enough to hold the world's largest Chocolate Fountain, which is reason enough to go for a visit.