When strolling down north Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, there’s a quaint, little shop filled with unique delicacies as good as those you’ll find in Paris. Some of the creations by owner and chef Etty Benhamou at Le Mervetty are on glorious display such as full-size meringue cakes and her signature Merveilleux.What a delight to have had a conversation with a queen of confections as noble as she.
Merveilleux, featured in cookbooks dating back as far as 1890 and a staple in Belgium and France, are layers of meringue separated by fresh farm whipped cream and crusted with a variety of toppings. The signature flavors, which come in a variety of sizes from Le Petite to Le Grand to Le Royal, such as praline, chocolate, Nutella, coffee and speculoos disappear as fast as they are placed in the case. And the linear presentation of homemade macaroons are as colorful and fanciful as they are flavorful, with selections such as red velvet, coconut, amazing lemon, green tea, passion fruit and more.
Benhamou, who was born in Israel and lives in Beverly Hills with her husband, decided to open a shop focused solely on meringue in 2014. The shop, whose name is a combination of Benhamou’s first name and her famed Merveilleux, is situated on a street with high quality restaurants from end to end. And she is more than keeping up with the Joneses. Le Mervetty has since expanded to offer other delicacies, including her artsy, custom-made milkshakes with twists on classics like Oreo, Reeses, strawberry Pavlova and Angelina chocolate, served in demure wine glasses that are top heavy with whipped cream and other delights. Perfect for a treat for yourself, for your own guests or to take to a party for the holidays or any time of year. Let me ask you does her sweet cloud of a menu not anoint her worthy of the title and a conversation with a queen of confections?
I sat down with Benhamou to find out more about what makes this bakery continue to impress its guests, who range from locals and visitors to celebrities.
Chef Eric Kopelow What is the go-to item in your store to eat?
Etty Benhamou Our unique Merveilleux.
Chef Eric Being in Beverly Hills, do you ever have celebrity visitors?
EB We have had some special guests come in, such as Andrea Boccelli, Justin Bieber, Larry King and Lisa Vanderpump.
Chef Eric What are some of the items you thought were great ideas but just did not sell?EB: We tried many variations, but we just could not sell a sandwich. Chef Eric: What new item is in the works?
EB We are working on sugar-free meringue and more vegan offerings. Also we are adding real passion fruit to our meringue.
Chef Eric When at home what do you like to cook?
EB I love to make caramelized salmon and saffron chicken with almonds.
Chef Eric Where is your favorite place to visit/travel?
EB I love to travel to Israel and Italy.
Chef Eric If you could have dinner with a famous chef dead or alive who would that be and why?
EB Chef Ori Menashe whose special focus was to make all Italian food from scratch.
Chef Eric Who in the world do you most admire and why?
EB My mom. She is lovable, creative and she will smile in any situation and will let any issue go.
Chef Eric What three ingredients in the kitchen do you like to cook with?
EB Olive oil with lemon, garlic and mustard.
Chef Eric What is your favorite restaurant anywhere in the world?
EB My home.
Chef Eric In your free time what do you like to do?
EB Swimming, exercising, writing, singing and meeting with friends.
Chef Eric Everyone collects something…what do you collect?
EB Pictures of family and friends.
Chef Eric Lastly, if you had one last meal what would you want that to be?
EB Toast, smoked salmon with herbs, organic tomatoes with olive oil and lemon, cheese and a green salad.
And that, is a conversation with a queen of confections. And, as they say in Hollywood, “That’s a wrap.”
319 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Certified Executive Chef Eric Kopelow is an award-winning American-born chef with world-class credentials. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, a member of the American Culinary Federation, and has been the WLM Culinary Editor for seven years.