Finally, I thought, after reading the gushing spread in the Providence Journal this week, a French-style bakery in Providence. *
Right now I pick and choose or make my own creations. Seven Stars (www.sevenstarsbakery.com/) supports the olive bread habit, the occasional sticky bun requirement and the needed baguette sandwich for train travel but Seven Stars doesn't venture much beyond breakfast pastries and cookies. Olga's (olgascupandsaucer.blogspot.com/) produces similar fare and makes some individual rustic tarts and pastries. Everybody has a go-to Italian bakery and I have my favored Portugese shops (Silver Star on Ives with those Saturday jelly doughnuts comes to mind) but these satisfy a different need. If you ask "Where can I buy French pastry in Providence," someone will laud Pastiche (www.pastichefinedesserts.com/) on Federal Hill. I don't. So, where to find a splendid French tart or a gorgeous mousse and merinque cake?
Well, not at Ellie's, at least not yet. The shop offers a variety of breads, attractive sandwiches (maybe a little too bready) but there was only one actual breakfast pastry when I stopped in this week. Mostly, it was muffins and scones. Among the traditional cookies there are Madeleines, both olive oil chocolate and the more Proutian lemon-scented. They are good. Not a single fruit tart. The featured spicy chocolate meringue tart is lovely and made especially flavorful by the chocolate crust. As for the macarons (cookies I think I loved more when I had to cross an ocean to get them - I've hit macaron saturation at this point), the salted butter caramel is a winner and I would say so is the dark chocolate coconut if I were basing it on the meringue - the filling was so scant (see picture) I couldn't locate the taste.
Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.
*There is the french tarte (774-280-4803) operated by Susan VandenBerg out of Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket but it's not a walk-in bakery. Order ahead. www.frenchtarte.com