Each petite take-away box from Brookline’s New Paris Bakery & Candy Shop reads, ”High as the Eiffel Tower in Quality,” with the declaration fitted just beneath an image of the familiar architectural staple. This may initially seem like hyperbole, but even in my short visit, the New Paris reputation was apparent. One dedicated customer, who the shop’s owner and baker, Roula Kappas, knew by name, came in, bought a large éclair, went to her car, finished it and came back inside a few minutes later to get another. Simply said, there is something undeniably wonderful about them, and I admittedly enjoyed a few myself.
Kappas is in fact Greek, and the shop features as many Italian confections as French— a mixture likely inspired by her international education and many travels as a young woman. Prior to baking, Kappas spent some time in Paris. It was an exciting time as a student. She remembers traveling further to Russia and Switzerland. Her studies were primarily in literature and music, and as a student abroad she found her taste for the traditional French and Italian pastries.
She bought the bakery with her now late husband from the previous owner twenty-five years ago. Luckily it maintains its mid-20th century charm. Originally opened in 1919, the walls are covered with old family photos and the cash register, Kappas guesses, is from the 1940s. Yes, it still works.
New Paris is truly known in the community for the glistening éclairs, however, if you are not a fan of the cream filled, frosting covered cake, I recommend the many assortment of cookies like the French macaron, not to be confused with another familiar confection, the coconut macaroon. Unlike what you often see in coffee shops today, colorful and super sweet, the New Paris approach is to utilize the almond flavor fully without the glitz and glam of fruit and herbal infusions. Left to their old-fashioned yellow hue, these macarons are filled with a ganache—or a rich chocolate with heavy cream—and provide a perfect companion to a cup of black coffee. For those who prefer an even simpler sweet, the Italian macaron is just the chewy almond cookie itself minus the chocolate.
With over 20 varieties of cookies, the Italian and French macarons, Napoleon cake, and the beloved éclairs, New Paris Bakery & Candy Shop is a nice afternoon visit for the sweets enthusiast.
—Story and pictures by Adriana Hammond