La Poire Belle-Hélène is a delicious dessert made of pears poached in syrup and covered in liquid chocolate. Sounds tempting? It is a lovely way to end a meal as it is lighter than a pastry dessert, yet full of flavours. It was invented around 1864 by renowned French Chef Auguste Escoffier, and named in reference to an operetta composed at the time by Jacques Offenbach and named La Belle Hélène.
It is in the Latin Quarter that the first Poilâne bakery opened in 1932, rue du Cherche-Midi, by Pierre-León Poilâne. Pierre-León had three children, a daughter called Madeleine and two sons, Max and Lionel. Lionel, the youngest of the three, spent most of his childhood in the Latin Quarter small bakery, trained by his father at the age of 14 to become a master baker.