A Peek Inside DebailleulView Slideshow
The managing director of Belgian patisserie Debailleul wants people to know that they will never succumb to offering “healthy” confectionery. “Our brand value is clearly about indulgence—about giving yourself or someone else a treat,” says Hans Pauwels, who is in Mumbai to oversee the opening of Debailleul’s first India store. Pauwels is banking on the fact that people in India, what with our dubious ranking on the world diabetes chart, will view this through a similar (sugar) rose-tinted lens. He has every right to be hopeful. This is Debailleul’s thirteenth outlet in the world, and its first in South Asia. Their fourteenth will open in China; most of their customer base thus far has been restricted to Europe and Japan.
Located at a busy cross section in Prabhadevi, just after Siddhivinayak Temple, the Mumbai outlet is glass-fronted, all the better to showcase the intricate hand-crafted pastries, chocolates, cakes, tarts, ice cream and gateaux that, like their products in all parts of the world, are made in a central kitchen in Brussels, before being flash frozen and delivered to their stores worldwide. Nothing is made or sourced locally. The specially-patented process is the cornerstone of their business strategy, which relies on the products tasting as good thousands of miles of travel-time later as they do when they’re freshly created.
The Mumbai store, which will include a 100 product lines (just 25 per cent of their total), will expectedly have popular treats like macarons, cakes, ice-cream cakes, sorbets and chocolates as well as coffees, smoothies, teas, and hot chocolates which you can sit down and have at their eating counter. Prices are expectedly on the high side (thought still 10 to 15 per cent cheaper than their rates in Europe), with individual chocolates starting at Rs90, a box of six macarons at Rs600 and a box of chocolates at Rs1,250.
“We know we’re here early,” says Pauwels, “But I think the price is fair in terms of ingredients, skill set and labour.” As an example, India partner Karen de Souza tells us that that the raspberries for a raspberry macaron are made using imported fruit from France, simply because they’re considered superior to anything you can get in Belgium. The patisserie, founded in 1983, has won numerous accolades for its evident skill and artisanship, and it’s little surprise that their creative director (yes, they have one) Reinhilde Gielen comes from a background in fashion rather than food. Debailleul will deliver all over the city, and Pauwels says they plan to open another outlet in Mumbai soon. Stay tuned for our review next week.Tags: Debailleul, Hans Pauwels, Karen de Souza
Appasaheb Marathe Road
HoursDaily, 11am to 10.30pm