The French are known for their elegance, timeless style and sinful decadence. Not surprisingly, all three traits all characterize French cuisine — especially in their array of desserts. When we consume them, we often do so not only for their individual taste, but so we may feel as if we’re consuming a fraction of French charm as well.
This European style emanates from every corner of Beverly Hills’ newest pastry shop, Le Mervetty. A pristine white and black color palette compliments the minimalistic design. A miniature Eiffel Tower welcomes customers at the front door, as do employees wearing matching ballerina outfits behind the counter. Everything is clean, minimal, charming and oh-so-French.
Having opened on Valentine’s Day, the shop is fairly new and specializes in the French pastry, merveilleux. Traditionally, merveilleux is made by stacking delicate layers of meringue held together by whipped cream. “Le Mervettys,” as the shop calls them, are cream-filled meringue pastries covered in different shavings. They are proudly displayed behind a glass, looking very much like enticing golden eggs filled with sugar.
Le Mervetty offers five flavors of “Mervettys” to satisfy a variety of taste buds: Speculoos, Nutella, praline, coffee and chocolate. The pastries can be bought in a medium-egg original, Le Mervetty size, a smaller Le Petit Mervetty size or a large Le Grand Mervetty suitable for parties or large get-togethers. The original-size pastries can be bought individually, however — the petite sizes come in boxes of six or 12. It is possible to mix and match certain flavors in the boxes, such as chocolate and Nutella. They also offer “Le Pavlova,” which is a much larger meringue pastry filled with fresh strawberries, vanilla whipped cream and covered with crystallized meringues.
At first glance, you can’t help but marvel at the intricacy of the design of the “Mervettys.” They sit atop small silver goblets, each one looking more time-consuming to make than the next. They are perfectly egg-shaped and the originals are a tad smaller than a cupcake. If you order out, a tutu-clad server puts the petites in their own see-through box while the originals are placed in a larger closed box with the store’s signature ballerina logo on the side. The admiration of the Mervetty’s artwork and the way they are presented almost makes you not want to eat them and defile something so seemingly pure. Almost.
Eating a Mervetty is an experience all in its own. The first bite introduces you to whatever shaving was on that particular pastry and the special whip cream. Then, in comes the cream filling that is significantly less sweet than the first layer, with only hints of the flavor it is meant to have. A sweet and airy meringue layer awaits you at the very bottom. If you eat the meringue first, the sweetness is overwhelming and reminiscent of having a spoonful of pure sugar in your mouth. While if you only eat the top layer, the filling may seem too bland. This is a dish that shouldn’t be picked at or taken apart, but rather enjoyed in its entirety.
The staff makes many of the ingredients in their kitchen, which gives them the freedom to manipulate an item’s flavor to suit the individual Mervetty. The flavors, however, sometimes fell short of expectations. The customer favorite is the Nutella Mervetty. The pastry is not filled with Nutella, but rather topped with a small dollop of Nutella whipped cream. Coming from a Nutella enthusiast, it was a moderate disappointment. The chocolate Mervetty was much more true to its name and tasted like a fine ball of milk and dark chocolate. This one was covered in Belgian dark chocolate flakes, giving the chocolate whipped cream a nice contrast. The praline Mervetty was just the right amount of sweet and nutty, with hazelnut whipped cream covered with caramelized praline feuilletine flakes. The undeniable winner of the four, however, was the coffee Mervetty. The aroma of coffee radiated from the pastry before it was even touched. It was almost as if you were eating a mocha latte, in the best way possible. The taste was not overpowering and could have been even stronger. When compared to the other three, the coffee Mervetty had a much richer flavor throughout and surpassed all expectations.
For those who would like to venture into Beverly Hills and experience a piece of French delicacy, Le Mervetty is surprisingly budget-friendly. Pastry prices start at $2.50, and range up to $60 for a dozen Mervettys. The shop is conveniently open Monday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This is more of a grab-and-go place than a sit-down café, since the only seating available is a small white bench against the wall. Still, it is always worth a trip to any place that has ballerinas serving freshly made meringue. How much classier does it get?