Walking in the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Saturday I came across Ô Merveilleux, a Belgian patisserie serving up a new exciting dessert. The merveilleux is a Belgian meringue that is very popular in Belgium. The Belgian meringue is in many ways similar, but different to the French meringue that most of us know about. Alexandre Diotallevi of Ô Merveilleux described their Belgian meringue as a wet meringue that has the dry shell on the outside and a hollow soft inside. The meringue is baked at a lower temperature to give this effect as oppose to the French meringue. The merveilleux is then covered with whipped cream and rolled in chocolate shavings or cookie crumbs. Alexandre explained that his wife, Anne-Sophie Diotallevi, is the genius behind the dessert.
At the patisserie these meringues come in three standard flavors: chocolate, white chocolate and speculoos (a Belgian spiced biscuit cookie). I decided to try the chocolate and speculoos. The tower of meringue begins to fall apart as you dig your fork into the merveilleux. Each bite has a textural satisfaction of the crunchy meringue, soft whipped cream and grittiness from the chocolate shavings or cookie crumbs. The meringue and whipped cream was not too sweet and felt as light as air. The meringue is complemented by the topping attached. My favorite between the two I tried is the chocolate one. Although the speculoos flavor is tasty with its cinnamon flavor, I enjoyed the merveilleux with the chocolate shavings more since the chocolate gave more contrast in flavor to the meringue. You can either purchase a small merveilleux ($2.00) or a full-sized merveilleux ($5.90).
In addition to the meringues, the patisserie also serves up croissants, cookies, cupcakes and other sweets. Throughout the seasons the patisserie rotates in featured desserts. Presently featured are their ghost cupcakes for Halloween. If you need a caffeine fix, they serve coffee and tea as well.
Ô Merveilleux’s layout of the store has an open concept. In the back past the enclosed display of delicious deserts is a communal table and lounge area for guests to dine at. This gives the patisserie a homey feel. Another neat feature is their window viewing inside the kitchen where you can see these sweet treats being made.
*UPDATE: I returned to Ô Merveilleux today to try out their miniature white chocolate merveilleux and chocolate croissant. You can see in the picture to the right of the cross section of the miniature white chocolate merveilleux revealing the hollow inside of the meringue. The white chocolate topping adds creaminess to the meringue. However my favorite is still the chocolate because of the contrast in flavors.
The chocolate croissant was heavenly. The crust has flaky and buttery layers leading up to the luscious chocolate center. The smooth and richness of the chocolate filling complements the flaky layers as you bite into the croissant. The last time I had a really good croissant to this standard was in Montreal.
So when you are walking around the Upper East Side of Manhattan, give this place a try.
1509 Second Avenue (Between E.78th and E.79th Streets)
New York, NY 10075
Tues-Fri 7:00am-7:00pm, Sat 8:00am-8:00pm, Sun 8:00am-7:00pm