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The Marvelous

Do you know "Le Merveilleux? A traditional dessert from the north of France, that I had the pleasure of tasting at the Café Méo, on the Grand'Place in Lille. A fabulous dessert, to be enjoyed alone, or accompanied by fellow cake lovers, here is its story!

Merveilleuses and Incroyables

During the First Republic Directory regime (1759-1799) new fashion trends appeared called the "Merveilleuses" and the "Incroyables".

The men were called the "Incroyables", with their effeminate manners, their only care in the world was in pleasuring themselves. As for the women, the "Merveilleuses", they dressed or underdressed in a Greek style. They wore tunics or free flowing antique costumes, mostly worn dampened, as to draw attention to their silhouettes, they showed no modesty.

They attended concerts, theatres and dances, the "Incroyables"and "Merveilleuses" lived in a whirlwind of frenzy, throwing themselves at all the pleasures of life, relieved to see the end of the period of Terror (period of the French Revolution, September 5th 1793- July 28th 1794).

It was because of this frenzy that Frédéric Vaucamps decided to name his stores "Aux Merveilleux".

Frédéric Vaucamps and the "Aux merveilleux de Fred"

After the inauguration of his first patisserie in Hazebrouck in 1982 (commune in Flanders, in the region of the Hauts-de-France), Frédéric Vaucamps opened fifteen years later his first store "Aux Merveilleux de Fred" in Lille, in the Vieux-Lille district.

Perfecting his own recipe of "Le Merveilleux", it becomes the emblematic dessert of the house. His secret? A mouthwatering and inimitable meringue, which gives the delicacy its characteristic lightness.
It is then coated with chocolate whipped cream, and covered with shavings of dark chocolate. Available as an individual cake, and also available in larger sized cakes that can be shared with family or friends.

Along with the success of "Le Merveilleux" there is also the "Le Cramique", a brioche pastry in a variety of flavours such as raisins, sugar and chocolate.

In the Gambetta district of Lille in 2004, famous for its Wazemmes market (1), the pastry chef accompanied by his cousin, opened a second store. Later on, Frédéric Vaucamps opened another store on the Grand'place of Lille, in partnership with the Café Méo brand.

Finally, a store was opened in Belgium in 2008. And the most eager and curious of Parisians can also enjoy these cakes as there are no less than 7 stores in the capital .

With the success of the stores, "Les Merveilleux de Fred", the brand was soon exported around the world, first to London, Brussels, New York, Geneva and finally to Berlin in 2017.

Le Merveilleux and its many varieties

In each of the stores, "Le Merveilleux" is prepared in front of the customer. A torturing wait for anyone with a sweet tooth! Those gourmets can choose between different flavours:

  • Le Merveilleux  : Meringue, chocolate whipped cream coated with dark chocolate shavings.
  • L'Incroyable : meringue, whipped cream with speculoos coated with white chocolate shavings.
  • L'Inpensable : meringue, coffee whipped cream coated with crystallized coffee meringue.
  • Le Magnifique : meringue, whipped cream with praline coated with almond chips and caramelized hazelnuts.
  • Le Sans-Culotte : meringue, caramel whipped cream coated with crystallized meringue.
  • L'Excentrique : meringue, cherry whipped cream coated with crystallized cherry meringue.

His hallmark? The special care given to all his creations, as well as the care given to the selection of his ingredients, as Frédéric Vaucamps has alwalys been and remains faithful to his suppliers.

To learn more about le Merveilleux or to find out where to taste one.


Aphélie from Comme des Français

Let's stay in the gastronomy of the North with these other articles :


Photos credits : Comme des Français / Portrait de Thérésa Tallien de "École française du xixe siècle, Thérésa Tallien, localisation inconnue."