I know what you’re thinking. With all the wonderful French pastries available in Paris how could I possibly be excited over finding a bakery specializing in a certain American treat? Well, before I tried my first life altering macaron, my dessert of choice had always been good old cheesecake. So when I read those very words in the window of Berko in the 4ème arrondissement of Paris, I had to stop and pinch myself.
Despite my initial disbelief this place really exists and immediately takes your taste buds out of Paris. Before opening their first boutique on rue Rambuteau in 2008 they had already been in the catering industry for 20 years, selling their mouthwatering goodies to various Parisian establishments and coming up with a myriad of creative recipes. You can now find two boutiques in the city, complete with bright orange awnings and sleek interiors, to get your cheesecake fix or perhaps even try it for the first time.
Entering Berko felt like I had somehow stumbled upon a portal taking me to a hip New York eatery. They sell cheesecakes, cupcakes, tarts, quiche, sandwiches, soups and salads, all beautifully presented and incredibly difficult to resist.
It is a rather small space but on your right there is the glass counter crammed full of a huge array of colourful frosted cupcakes and on your left you have a variety of cheesecakes sitting atop stainless steel pedestals. All the cheesecakes are made with Philadelphia cream cheese, so you know they are the real deal. Choosing from such flavours as Crème Brulée, Blueberry Meringue and Oreo was pretty difficult but I eventually settled on Key Lime.
The verdict: Delicious! The cake was soft and creamy with a sweet and crumbly graham cracker base, offset nicely with a slightly tart citrus flavour. The price is 4 to 4.80€ for a generously sized slice of heaven, which I gladly paid! I didn’t try any of their cupcakes, as I’ve always found them more visually attractive than appetizing, but the crowd in front of me was snatching them up. The choice is a little overwhelming at first glance, but they really are little works of edible art.
There are a few prized seats up at the counter along with two cute orange tables outside, but why not take a piece to go and walk to the nearby Centre Pompidou where you can truly savour the moment while sitting in the sun. It’s comforting to know that if you ever miss the desserts back home then Berko is there to satisfy your cravings.
Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday
11:30 – 8:00pm