L’École Valrhona’s mission is to support chocolate and pastry professionals, offering techniques, tips and ideas to inspire your pastry creations. This aim is the driving force behind Creative Gatherings, a feature in which our chefs bring you new ideas to help you become ever more creative and to stand out from the crowd.

Over the course of several days, our École Valrhona chefs came together to draw inspiration from diverse fields, ranging from architecture and fashion, to painting and design. They shared and exchanged, letting their imaginations run free. Their goal: to give a new dimension to your entremets and chocolate tablets to put a new spin on viennoiserie or to imagine new restaurant desserts. Their guiding principle: to bring you simple tips and ideas that are easy to apply in your kitchen.

In this article, 1. Small is Beautiful, we invite you to discover single portion creations, with techniques from our chefs to give a new allure to your viennoiseries.

For the chefs who created these miniature viennoiseries for your customers, small really is beautiful. 1. Small is Beautiful is a search for precision, as small creations require meticulous attention to both flavor and texture. As such, 1. Small is Beautiful is a story of indulgence in just a few mouthfuls.

When developing this theme, our chefs were also guided by the belief that quality beats quantity. By offering a diverse range of mini viennoiseries, your customers will be able to try bite-sized versions of your different creations. A special, almost selfish, pleasure, just right for those who don’t want to share your delicious viennoiseries with anyone else. Pure indulgence!

Enter the world of 1. Small is Beautiful and catch a glimpse of the different steps behind each creation. Discover ideas, techniques and tips that will inspire to you to put a new twist on well-loved classics, all the while creating small and beautiful pastries.



Turn the traditional brioche on its head with these garnished cube shaped mini brioches. Offer your clients a new brioche shape to the classic brioche à tête, the navette or the simple sugared brioche.

By baking your brioche in square molds, you’ll skip having to round the dough into balls and will give your mini brioches a more modern appearance at the same time.

To push the boundaries even further, our pastry chefs took inspiration from the indulgent Kouign Amann. They put different nougatines into the bottom of the molds to create a delicious and colorful range of toppings, from pistachio, cocoa nibs and hazelnuts to pink pralines.

Want to make your brioches even more enticing? Create a soft center with a praline filling, using praliné emulsified with a little milk to smooth and lighten the mixture.

When your brioches are ready, you can continue to play with appearances by using unusual packaging. Our chefs were inspired by Japan when displaying their brioches, placing these mini-pastries into a rectangular maki sushi box. Have a go yourself, or even let your customers create their own box with their favorite brioches!

Find the recipe for these brioche cubes here


If you’ve ever made croissants, you’ll know that there are always scraps of dough left over at the end. Our chefs’ idea was to create a delicious viennoiserie without wasting a single thing. They imagined a chocolate center wrapped in thin strips of dough, creating a pastry that looks like a ball of wool.

To make these edible balls of wool, use a circular wheel cutter to trace out strips onto a rectangle of croissant dough. You can also use scraps of dough left over from making croissants. Wrap the strips around an Etnao and place the balls into a mold to cook. Shape them however you wish, round or square depending on your choice of mold.

Mix it up by using your favorite chocolates as fillings. Replace the Etnao center with chocolate fèves and create a delicious, varied range of edible balls of wool!

The result? Miniature chocolate centered viennoiseries that are quick to make and that don’t waste a single scrap!

Find the recipe for croissant dough here


Brighten up your miniature cake offer in a fun and simple way. Unlike the classic madeleine, our Mademoiselle Madeleine has a hollow instead of a bump, allowing you to make your pastry even more indulgent. Personalize your madeleine as you or your customer wishes by using toppings to order.

How can you give your madeleine an extra special allure?
The trick lies in creating the hollow in the madeleine. Turn a hemisphere Flexipan over and place your circle molds over each bump. Pour in the biscuit mix and then bake your “madeleines” until golden. Easy!

After carefully removing your madeleines from their molds, turn them over. After that, all that’s left to do is to garnish.

These fillable madeleines are easy to adapt to individual tastes. This is a snack that people will be happy to personalize. Provide them with a wide variety of different garnishes, sauces and toppings to meet their every desire. Keep your offer attractive and up to date by switching up your range of garnishes!

To make our Mademoiselle Madeleines even more indulgent, our chefs used garnishes of red fruits, compotes, crunchy pearls, nuts, flowers, herbs and crumble. The choices are infinite!

Find the Emmanuel biscuit recipe here


A much-loved favorite in many a bakery, the apple chausson is a classic viennoiserie with a simple appearance. Yet for all its seeming simplicity, it is often difficult to achieve the perfect balance of a crunchy exterior and soft center. The apple compote filling risks making the flaky pastry soggy and soft. On the other hand, put in too little compote and the chausson may end up dry and somewhat unpleasant to eat.

The subtlety of a perfect chausson lies in finding the right balance between a soft center and crunchy pastry.

The key to this new apple chausson is to cook the pastry separately and then fill the chausson just before serving.

To make, first cut the dough into squares. Our pastry chefs prefer to use a croissant dough because it’s less greasy than a puff pastry. Place the squares onto a hemisphere Flexipan to create the hollows and then bake.

To finish preparing your chaussons, take two cooked pastry squares, fill one with the filling of your choice and then place the other on top to close. We suggest filling your chaussons just before serving to keep the pastry nice and crunchy.

To make your fillings, we recommend using crème pâtissière, as this will give texture and allow you to spoon generous servings into your chaussons. L’Ecole pastry chefs used a crème pâtissière mixed with apple compote for the first filling and with chocolate for the second.

A simple way to create great chaussons that are tasty and modern, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside!


Playing with shape and appearances is a fun way to breathe new life into your viennoiseries. And indeed this is exactly what our chefs did to reinterpret the classic pain au chocolat.

Inspired by childhood memories of pains au chocolat, our pastry chefs plunged into the world of play, taking on the oft-repeated maxim that “you mustn’t play with your food!”. The form of a diabolo toy set our chefs on the path to eventually creating a pain au chocolat in the shape of a bow tie. Small and beautiful!

To make, slide a chocolate stick between two strips of puff pastry and then fasten ring of baking paper around the middle. The result is a fun twist on a famous viennoiserie that will remind your customers of a bow tie or diabolo!


After the brioche, pain au chocolat and the apple chausson, our pastry chefs decided to put their own spin on the pain au lait. With a deliciously soft texture, the pain au lait is a key part of a French breakfast or snack time.

Give your pain au lait a new look by making them into small balls.

To add a note of chocolate, we filled these pains au lait with a smooth ganache and coated them with a P125 Coeur de Guanaja water glaze. Finish your pains au lait by sprinkling crumble, crunchy pearls or nuts onto the glaze. A simple way to change the look of your pains au lait and to achieve a more intense flavor compared to the traditional pain au lait.

These alluring chocolate meteorites will pique your customers’ curiosity. It’s a pain au lait like you’ve never had before!

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