So, why be reasonable about indulgence? Indulgence and reasonable are two words that seem to be total opposites, and yet go very well together. Very well indeed...


For pure pleasure...

In the world of patisserie, the recipe for pleasure has been well known for decades, if not centuries: unlimited butter, plenty of eggs, a good bit of flour and lots of sugar. It's such an enjoyable guilty pleasure that all excesses are forgiven, dating from a period when there was no fridge to store that last slice of cake - waste not, want not!
But nowadays, our self-care and well-being have become absolute priorities. You cannot fully enjoy eating a dessert if a few grams of guilt are included.
With Reasoned Gourmandise, Frédéric Bau, Experimental Pastry Chef at Valrhona, finally solves the impossible equation—how to combine passion and reason, emotion and nutrition. He has made the dream of all foodies come true, with a new kind of patisserie that combines both lightness and indulgence.

Produced in collaboration with Thierry Hanh, doctor and nutritionist, Reasoned Gourmandise is available from Éditions de La Martinière. It sums up this new style of patisserie in the most generous of ways. Here are some excerpts...

In 2004, I had the joy of speaking at a conference alongside the incredible Pierre Gagnaire. He explained how he had decided to develop his cooking by using less butter and dreaming up other ways to create pleasure. He reminded everyone that “while we are the merchants of our customers’ happiness, we're also the protectors of their wellbeing". I realized that those of us who work in pastry-making also had to reconsider things and dare to make changes to recipes that had been left untouched since the 50s.
Frédéric Bau

Reasoned Gourmandise, responsible patisserie

As opposed to the current trend for “free-from” and “zero”, Reasoned Gourmandise is about opting for better.

“Nothing is forbidden, no ingredient is off-limits, but quantities are carefully considered. Butter and sugar can be used, only if necessary. Just what's needed, not too much. Reasoned Gourmandise represents pastry based on quality, seasonal ingredients. For me, it's the pastry of the future,” emphasizes Frédéric Bau.

Good enough to eat—just because Reasoned Gourmandise is, well, reasonable, that doesn't mean it's not irresistible.

“Reasoned Gourmandise is a success when the person doesn't realize that the treat they're enjoying is healthier and lower in calories.”

The Essentials 2023

In 2023, all of Valrhona’s work will be underpinned by our Reasonable Indulgence concept. Inspired by this philosophy, the chefs at L’École Valrhona have reworked 22 recipes and added them to the Essentials 2023

Created by L’École Valrhona with leadership from Frédéric Bau, the Essentials are a collection of basic recipes which has become a pastry-making benchmark. This indispensable tool, last updated in 2018, returns in 2023 with more than 20 recipes reworked with a sense of Reasonable Indulgence.

With the Essentials, Valrhona’s main aim is to enable makers and pastry chefs to think differently and unlearn the old techniques, habits and reflexes that have been repeated and passed down for generations so that they can work in a more aware way and create their own conventions.
These new guidelines enable us to push back the limits of creativity and eat more healthily, while preserving the gustatory experience and excellence of sweet cuisine, today and tomorrow!

Professionals, find more step-by-step recipes on the online Essentials

Discover the Online Essentials