Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The French Confection (72 East Main Road, Middletown  401-619-7816) is new, opened by Xavier and Karen Mauprivez. We went over to sample pastry immediately. Why drive from Providence to a pastry shop at one of the most congested, annoying intersections in the state of Rhode Island? Because Seven Stars, a Providence baking landmark, produces great bread, scones and giant sticky buns but no real pastries (sorry, the croissants don't cut it). Pastiche, on Federal Hill, turns out pretty cakes but no great pastries. And so on. Providence has any number of places to buy fabulous bread but where to get a Napoleon or a raisin pastry?

Xavier Mauprivez is the baker at this new venture. Originally from Reims, he's been in the states, baking and making pastries, since the 1980s. Karen Mauprivez is management.

Our excursion was for tea and something decadent so we settled on a Napoleon big enough to split. Waiting for our tea at the counter, we sampled, then purchased, the holiday fruit cake. The Napoleon custard was dense and delicious, made without a heavy hand on the vanilla. The pastry layers were maybe a bit tough. Purchased for later, pain au chocolate passed the test (large enough, tender enough) and the raisin pastries (known generally as raisin danish but not like danish at all) were almost, but not quite, successful. Good ones always have a yummy goo factor in the coiling while remaining firm. These were soft, limp actually, and needed more raisins. A retry later.

Cakes and pastries at The French Confection don't all look perfect like they do at Pastiche, but they do look real, which gives them an endearing quality. The French Confection also makes petit four size pastries which are good for serving to people who say they can't possibly eat an entire eclair (then go on to eat three little ones), and for people who want to sample everything.

It's a casual place where you order and pick up at the counter. Plenty of table space.

Quiche and other savory items are available so you can stop in for lunch. Worth a visit.

The website was not working at last check but a pdf with a menu appears when you search.

The French Connection is open Monday through Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays and 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 on Saturday.


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