My friend, local clothing designer Nina Ganci, sent my family an array of sweets from bakery Chef Simone Faure at La Patisserie Chouquette. We savored them gently and slowly like you would a fine cheese or wine. There were even some cookies for my granddaughter. A few looked like a comic ice cream cone; another was pink and lip-shaped.
Knowing that we would be at the farm, she also included a Panettone, some mocha-chocolate confections (I’m sure they have a more elegant name) and a 23-layer Salted Caramel Crepe Cake.
Simone Faure’s Petite French Bakery
I’ve not been to La Patisserie Chouquette for a while, mostly because I’m not in the Botanical Gardens area during the day when they’re open. The whimsical little shop adjacent to Olio and Elaia restaurants has the look of a neighborhood bakery you might stumble upon on a side street of Paris.
Opening the door, you step into a space that might be the setting for the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland. The eclectic decor showcases Chef Faure’s many fanciful, French pastries that include croissants, Danish, quiche, cornbread, eclairs, macarons, cakes, cookies, and more.
Some items are frivolous like the cute replicas of Trump and Clinton offered last year. On Facebook, I even saw a Ken Bone cookie. Remember him? He’s the guy in the red sweater, who got 15-minutes of fame from the question he asked at one of the presidential debates.
Yes, custom confections are Simone Faure’s piece of cake, so to speak. Several years ago, the NOLA born chef left her position as executive pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton to launch her own shop. Her art includes cakes in the shape of handbags, high-heeled shoes, hat boxes and even cakes and fondant sculptured into ghoulish gnomes for Halloween. She made my birthday cake several years ago, featuring a stack of three of my published books, causing one waggish friend to suggest my books were more edible than readable.
A Fantasy Afternoon
For me, a well-spent afternoon would be casually sitting with a few friends near the sun-drenched windows at Chouquette’s nibbling on a macaron . . . or two—an indulgence I afforded myself in Paris a few years back. The colorful macarons at the bakery rotate daily, often including such flavors as Pistachio Orange, Caramel Apple, Fig-Goat Cheese-Port, Sangria, and Raspberry Rose. Pair any of those with one of their fine loose-leaf teas from England, France, Israel or India. Ahhh, the comfort!
In uncertain times, it’s good that such sanctuaries exit. It’s also heartwarming to have friends that gift sweet thoughts and confections to match.
La Patisserie Chouquette, 1626 Tower Grove Ave. Open: Tue-Fri 9a-2p; Sat 9a-5p. I think it would be fun to take my granddaughters to one of their Saturday teas (11a or 1p, reservations required).