After lunch at Union Loafers, Cyndy and I walked across Tower Grove Avenue to La Pâtisserie Chouquette. The French bakery is always a treat when dining at Loafers or anywhere on Ben Poremba’s culinary corner (Elaia, Olio, Nixta). We planned to “just look”—to admire the edible art.
As I entered the front door, I paused to take in the whimsical decor: painted pews, chandeliers hanging from the pressed-tin ceiling, ornate mirrors and frames, plus an array of mixed-era chairs, tables and sideboards. Glass cases and antique pieces displayed colorful baked goods like fine jewels in a museum.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland. I expected the Mad Hatter to pop out of the kitchen with a tray of sweets and a dome-topped pot, and announce, “It’s always time for tea!”
No Longer “Just Looking”
With my Alice in Wonderland image still in mind, I inquired about tea. One variety that caught my eye was called Pear White. I ordered a cup and sat down at one of the small tea tables.
Looking about you immediately notice that the cakes are not just round and layered. (Afterall, we are in Wonderland, right?) Simone Faure, shop owner and pastry chef, shapes her creations into elegant slippers, flamboyant hats, handbags and hat boxes. The cakes are artwork. For my last rollover birthday, they made me a cake casually stacked to look like three of the books I had written. Some of my waggish friends suggested that my books were more edible than readable.
A Spot of Tea
As I sipped, I thought: What is tea without a little something to go with it? Cyndy agreed. It was near the end of the day for the shop (they close at 2 p.m.), so I didn’t see any of the Darkness Croissants. But there were still a number of cakes, some lightly iced, which seemed more appropriate for an after lunch bite. The next thing I knew, Cyndy and I had a slice of Bakewell Torte and a piece of olive oil loaf on our table. Magnificient! We nibbled and took the rest with us. I liked the tea well enough to place an online order for some.
How sad that our forebears gave up the civilized habit of afternoon tea when they parted with the British. The practice should be revisited.
La Pâtisserie Chouquette: 1625 Tower Grove Avenue. Open: Tue-Fri 9a-2p; Closed Sunday and Monday.