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Chapel Hill: The Heartbreaking Case of Miel Bon Bons

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Chapel Hill: The Heartbreaking Case of Miel Bon Bons

Sinophile | Mar 18, 2009 06:04 PM

I had my first taste of Miel Bon Bons, the refined French patisserie that opened about a year ago in Carrmill Mall. I had been meaning to go for quite a while, but I could never quite justify either the calories or the expense. My wife and I ordered two coffees, a chocolate-covered hazelnut and chocolate mousse pyramid, and an apple tart. The pastries were flawless, easily the most sophisticated and visually lovely and professionally executed French pastry I've had in the Triangle. My wife and I used to be regulars at Payard in New York, and I would say that Miel Bon Bons is not terribly far off the Payard standard. The heartbreak of the situation is that it's very hard to see the place surviving. The pastries sell for $5-$7, and they are distinctly petite; they can be shared but they are not really meant to be. The beautiful and equally petite truffles sell for $2-$3 each. These prices are unlikely to appeal to those looking for a snack, especially with so many options in the immediate vicinity, and Carrboro, with its hippy/BOBO ethos, is not likely to be won over by this kind of refined and formal pastry. I talked for a while with the owner/chef -- a pleasant woman from Hong Kong -- and it was not hard to infer that she is struggling. It's a damned shame, because she is both talented and committed to executing her craft at a high and serious level.

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