Treats seem to become more desirable when they make their way into the hands of a universally recognized figure (a certain Manolo Blahnik-donning, Magnolia cupcake-devouring West Village writer might come to mind). And when a Belgian princess decided to consume one merveilleux cake each week for the heck of it, her people naturally followed sweet suit.
Belgium native Anne-Sophie Diotallevi fell into the weekly ritual herself as a young girl, a routine that led her to open Ô Merveilleux (1509 Second Avenue, 646-681-8688) on the Upper East Side earlier this year. To this day, she can remember her first bite of one of these pastries: “When you put your spoon into the cake the first time, you really think you’re about to have something heavy, but you’re amazed — it’s just like breaking into a cloud,” she says. “It’s big when you see it, but it’s very light.”
At Ô Merveilleux, Diotallevi offers seven variations on the original whipped cream and meringue delicacy, including lemon curd for spring. “We flavor the whipped cream with lemon curd and cover the ingredients in yellow-colored white chocolate,” explains Diotallevi. “We also put lemon zest on the top for extra flavor.”
But buy one and be patient: “It’s not a cake that you buy and exit the shop and eat like a normal croissant or cupcake,” she says. “It’s really a cake that you buy to bring for a dinner or enjoy with tea. It takes time to eat it, and you enjoy it better when you eat it when you’re not in the street.”