What is Patisserie

what is patisserie

Everything you need to know about the delightful and exciting world of patisserie and what to do if you are keen on pursuing a career in it. 


What does patisserie mean?

Patisserie is a word that refers to French pastries and the shops that sell them. While the origins of pastries can be traced back to ancient Mediterranean cultures,

France is where the iconic choux and puff pastry were developed and it was here patisserie was elevated into a fine art. 

Patisseries can now be found all over the world, but in France and Belgium, a shop needs to employ a maitre patissier before it can be legally called a patisserie.


Types of patisserie

Pâtisserie comes in all shapes and sizes, but in general they are pastries made from the five main types - choux, flaky, filo, shortcrust and puff - or cakes. Among the most well-known include: 

  • Eclairs
  • Macarons
  • Madeleines
  • Millefeuilles
  • Profiteroles
  • Tartes tatin.

What do you buy in a patisserie?

Modern pâtisseries are as much a feast for the eyes as they are for the stomach, with a wide variety of elaborate cakes, delicate pastries and other sweet treats presented in tantalizing displays.

Many patisseries are also boulangeries, so alongside the French pastries and Viennoiserie items, you will also find baguettes, pain de campagne and other savory baked goods.

But it’s the patisserie and viennoiserie products that usually take center stage, with the savory breads playing very much a supporting role. As well as the types of pastry listed above, you can expect to find such delights as Paris-Brest (a round choux pastry dessert with a praline cream filling), Croquembouche (French wedding cakes made from profiteroles), tarte au citron and popular viennoiserie such as croissants, pains au chocolat, brioche and pains aux raisins.


The best place to learn patisserie

best place to learn patisserie

If the exciting world of patisserie appeals to you as a career path, you will need to undertake some type of formal training. Genuine patisserie is an art and, if you want to become a highly accomplished maitre patissier, you will need to dedicate time and effort to mastering the different skills required.

And when it comes to learning the techniques you will need to become a skilled patissier, there is nowhere better in the world to do this than in France, the birthplace of the art.

France has a long, rich tradition of patisserie, the most maitre patissiers in the world and a huge number of patisseries in which to hone your craft. The country also boasts a wide range of pastry schools where you can develop your skills and take the necessary qualifications.

If you are planning to study patisserie in France, make sure you look for an institution that employs renowned pastry chefs as instructors, has excellent facilities and has developed a strong reputation for turning out highly skilled patissiers.


Can I study patisserie as an undergraduate degree?

If you are a high school graduate and are looking to get into patisserie, the best way is to study for a Bachelor’s degree at a renowned culinary institution.

Over the course of three years, you will develop a mastery in French pastry arts combined with the professional and managerial know-how you’ll need to become a leader in the field.

Most bachelor’s degree programs also offer internships, so you will be able to test your newly acquired skills in a practical, real-world setting. Among the best patisserie degree programs in France is the unique, three-year Bachelor’s in French Pastry Arts at Ecole Ducasse , taught at both the Paris campus and the world-renowned Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie in Yssingeux.

On this program, you will learn everything you need to know through a combination of practical workshops, theoretical courses and internships. Training is delivered through classes and practical exercises, demonstrations, challenges, group projects and personal research.


Can I study patisserie as a graduate?

If you are a graduate wishing to specialize in patisserie or you want to turn your hobby into a professional career, Ecole Ducasse offers courses that will teach you the essential skills and techniques.

The French Pastry Arts Diploma is perfect for those looking to switch careers and become a patissier. 

This nine-month diploma, which includes eight weeks of internships, is taught at the École Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie and will enable you to master all the traditional and modern patisserie techniques.


Is there a taster course on which I can learn the basics?

If you’re passionate about French pastry arts and desserts, Ecole Ducasse offers the perfect program for you. Its eight-week French Pastry Arts Essentials program covers patisserie fundamentals, viennoiserie, chocolates and entremets and restaurant desserts through a combination of applied theory, practical classes and a field trip. 

What is a boulangerie?

what is boulangerie

A boulangerie is a French bakery shop, which in France must actually bake bread on its premises to legally qualify to use the term ‘boulangerie’. Boulangeries specialize in French bread, most notably traditional loaves such as baguettes, pain de campagne, pain rustique and pain au son.

While some do sell patisserie and viennoiserie, their main trade is savory bread. Bread is one of the defining symbols of French culture and boulangeries can be found in most French towns and villages.

It is such an integral part of life in France that, by law, any French baker who wants to take a holiday has to arrange for another baker to cover his work.


What's the difference between a patisserie and a boulangerie?

While there is a fair amount of crossover between what a French boulangerie and a patisserie sells, in general a boulangerie concentrates on savory breads while a patisserie focuses on sweet pastries, cakes and desserts.

Of course, many shops are both boulangeries and patisseries, meaning they specialize in the entire range of French breads, pastries and other baked goods.


Can I learn boulangerie skills?

learn boulangerie skills

If you want to be considered a boulanger officially, you will need to learn the traditional skills and techniques and the best place to do that is at a French pastry school.

Ideally, you should choose a well-renowned school that has excellent facilities on which to learn and highly qualified faculty who will be able to train you to the required professional standard.

Budding boulangers who want to perfect their craft in a French institution with a view to opening their own boulangerie should consider the eight-week French Bakery Arts Essentials program.

As well as covering the fundamentals of French baking, the course teaches students valuable business skills such as supplier management and marketing - vital for starting and running your own French bakery business.


What is Viennoiserie?


Often considered the bridge between patisserie and boulangerie, Viennoserie consists mainly of breakfast pastries and sweet bread from Vienna, Austria.

Viennoiserie includes items traditionally made with white flour and yeast, which makes the dough rise quickly, or using enriched puff pastry.

Common Viennoiserie products include favorites such as brioche, pains au chocolat, croissants and pains aux raisins.

These delicious pastries became popular in France when Austrian artillery officer August Zang opened his famous Boulangerie Viennoise in Paris in 1839 and have become an essential element of French culture ever since.


What’s the difference between viennoiserie and patisserie?

Often confused, Viennoiserie is not the same as patisserie, with the main difference being the use of yeast.

Viennoiserie tends to be less indulgent, delicate and sophisticated than patisserie, although making the perfect croissant is considered an art in itself.


Can I learn Viennoiserie?

If you want to learn how to perfect Viennoiserie, the best way is to study a French pastry arts program at a renowned French pastry school.

Ecole Ducasse offers a range of courses for students looking to master the craft. These include a three-year Bachelor’s in French Pastry Arts, a nine-month French Pastry Arts Diploma and an eight-week French Pastry Arts Essentials course.

All three programs cover Viennoiserie and the techniques and skills you will need to make these delicious sweet treats.

Bachelor's Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts

Perfect French pastry arts at Ecole Ducasse Expert faculty, great industry connections and a Michelin-starred philosophy make the Ecole Ducasse Bachelor’s in French Pastry Arts one of the best around