The Top 7 Most Famous Types of French & European Desserts

French Desserts have been famous for thousands of years.  France is often seen as the dessert capital of Europe, and a worldwide leader in top-shelf desserts.

From the classic Napoleon to the pastry to the more modern Tiramisu cake, French desserts have attracted foreigners to Paris, the city of Lights, and throughout the country of France for centuries.

In the spirit of the holiday season, and the never-ending dessert season, here is BonPastry’s list of the top seven most famous and delicious French desserts, along with a little about their origins and the perfect wine and coffee pairing for each one.

  • The mille-feuille, or Napoloen, is a three-layer French puff pastry.  The top layer is covered in a powdered sugar, or glazed with icing in alternating white and brown stripes.


    Napoleon is typically remembered for his French conquests as emperor, and his historical legal code.  However, the name Napoleon has also survived through one of France’s most popular desserts, the Mille-feuille, also known as the Napoleon.

    Popular Pairings
    Wine: Red wine goes well with the Napoleon, especially Italian reds like the Recioto della Valpolicella.  For the adventure seeker, a fruit beer is also an intriguing option.

    Coffee: Try matching the Napoleon mille-feuille with a light French espresso.

    The origins of this special French pastry is mysterious and hotly debated.  Some people trace the mille-feuille, or Napoleon to ancient times; others claim the pastry developed in Hungary in the 16th century.  Regardless of its origin, it is a great French dessert popular in the 21st century, and for many years to come.



    Macarons are delicious and light “cookies” made with almond meal and filled with mocha Kahlua or chocolate ganache.

    Ingredients: almond meal, amaretto, eggs, sugar, and your choice of  sugar chocolate ganache, mocha Kahlua, or vanilla bean.

    This delicious dessert was brought to France from Italy during the European Renaissance to mark the marriage of Catherine De Medici and Henry II of France. When Catherine de Medici moved to Italy from France, she brought her Italian pastry chefs and this centuries-old Italian tradition to France.  It never left.

    Popular Pairings

    Wine: Macarons pair well with a variety of wines, but especially with Moscato.

    Coffee: Try pairing the French macaron with a delicious Colombian coffee, or Café del Cauca.


    French Clafoutis

    The French clafoutis is a very moist and light fruit cake.  It is made with fresh fruit and yogurt.  It comes with your choice of apple, pear, peach or cherries (when available)

    This baked French dessert is a French original: from the Limousin region of France.  This dessert’s origins are murky, but its popularity spread throughout France in the 19th century.  

    Popular Pairings

    Wine: The French clafoutis goes well with light dessert wines, such as Monbazillac.

    Coffee: Try a Kenyan AA light roast to complement this light and moist cake.


    Black Forest Cake (Forêt Noire)

    The black forest cake is a moist chocolate cake filled with French vanilla Chantilly and fresh strawberries.  This delicious cake is topped with European Cooca powder and finished with milk chocolate shavings.


    The black forest cake, or forêt noire, is popular in France, but originated in Black Forest region of Germany.  This 16th century dessert remains very popular today.

    Popular Pairings

    Wine: Syrahs, ports, and zinfadels are some of the many popular wine pairings that go with Bonpastry’s black forest cake.

    Coffee: Try a dark roast coffee to boldly enhance the black forest flavor.



    This Italian custard dessert cake delicacy is made with savoiardi (lady’s fingers) and dipped in a mix of Italian espresso and French Cognac. It is filled with a mix of mascarpone and chantilly, and finished with European Cocoa Powder.

    Tiramisu (literally “cheer me up) is a delightful dessert of Italian origins.  A relatively recent development, this Italian custard dessert dates back to 1960’s Italy, and a French apprentice appropriately named Tiramisu.

    Popular Pairings

    Wine: Tiramisu pairs well with sweet wines and sherries.

    Coffee: Try pairing with a Columbian dark roast for a mix of flavor combinations.


    Tarte Tatin

    The tarte tatin is a delicious upside-down pastry filled with fruit, caramelized with butter and sugar, and baked to perfection.  True to its name, it is then turned upside down and served.


    The tarte tatin is an upside-down pastry has its origins in 1880’s France.  According to one legend, the Tatin sisters, who ran a busy hotel, accidentally overcooked an apple pie.  Frantically, they turned it over, served it to their guests, who surprisingly loved it.  Suddenly, the tarte tatin was born.

    Popular Pairings

    Wine: Popular pairings include Australian and German rieslings, French calvados, and French sweet wines

    Coffee: Try an Ethiopian coffee along with the tarte tatin.


    Sable Cookies

    The Sable are hand-made butter cookies filled with your choice of apricot, lemon, raspberry, strawberry, or nutella.  Topped with ganache, come in different shapes or sizes of your choice.  Perfect for any occasion.

    The sable cookies originated in 17th century France.  Sable is the French word for sand, appropriately named as they crumble in your hand and melt in your mouth.

    Popular Pairings

    Wine: The sable cookies pair well with sauvignon blancs, pinot grigios, and sparkling wines.

    Coffee: Sable cookies go great with a blonde roast, with endless possibilities available.

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