I was walking to one of the Fringe Festival theatres, but decided to duck in to this cafe because of the unusual raspberry and wasabi decorations and the fountain in the window. The delightful co-owner explained the high quality ingredients they use, for example squeezing all the fruit by hand and only the best chocolate.
She invited me to try a homemade chocolate on the house. I confessed that I usually avoid fruit and chocolate combinations because of unfortunate encounters with fake strawberries and lemons, so she offered me a white chocolate and passionfruit chocolate that revolutionized my tongue. I had to take tiny bites in order to savour the combination of fresh fruit and the best white chocolate I'd sampled in my life.
I ordered the cheesecake, which was shaped long and thin, like an eclair, but was surprised that almost half of it was made up of a sponge cake layer, leaving only a small amount of cheesecake under a dusting of raspberries. She asked me if I preferred a larger size or a different crust. I explained that I don't need a big serving, but I would prefer a higher cheese to sponge cake ratio. I usually make my own cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. She thanked me and comped the cheesecake as well, saying that my feedback was more important than the money.
I ended up buying a selection of patisseries, all in the $2.50 to $5 range, which is the same as the chains, but everything was made fresh, in-house, by her or her husband (who was trained as a pastry chef in France and has 20 years of experience--and is easy on the eyes as well). I bought six items, so that I could save the tax, and when I wasn't sure what to pick, she suggested adding the creme brulee or a mousse, because it would compliment the ones I'd already chosen. The way she explained the ingredients and the flavours reminded me of the way a sommelier will talk about wine, with passion and knowledge about palate and pairing with other menu items, only better for me because I like sweets more than wine. When she tied the box with a bow, she used a wide yellow ribbon stiffened with wire instead of the cheap blue or brown plasticized ribbon you get at the chains. Of course, I also bought a box of chocolates, all for a grand total of about $35.
They had only been open a week when I visited in June. They served sandwiches and a few other savoury items and I think they were planning a glacerie as well. Their hours are something like 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., to catch the morning and late-night crowd. It's obviously an act of love, and I wouldn't expect them to give out free samples forever. I'm spreading the word because I love to support honest, hard-working artisans who make wonderful food. Please stop by if you're in the Plateau area.
4072, boul Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2W 1Y8
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