I have a sweet tooth. This is evident by the number of posts I have so far featured favoring the fierce simplicity of a flavorful macaron over the robust taste deluge that accompanies a serving of coq au vin. The truth is this- French desserts bring me unadulterated pleasure. They unfailingly tantalize all of my senses, with the notion of mere consumption transcending into an ethereal sensory experience- a far leap from the random post-dinner splurge. Between esthetic, texture, and decadence, I can’t get enough. Taste beautifully. Tarte au citron. Mille-feuille. Ispahan. Goodness, the lows I would stoop for a taste of Ispahan this very moment. Fancying myself something of a dessert expert, I confidently proclaim French sweets to be the epicenter of luxury. The careful mastery of their artful and delicious construction have yielded tremendous bias here on À La Prochaine. The discovery of a new pâtisserie, I hesitantly admit, is sometimes bumped to the top of my list. We all have our vices, right?
This week, my vice takes us to a sweet spot in Belmont, Massachusetts: Praliné Artisanal Confections.
A boutique subtly situated on Belmont Street, Praliné proudly offers treats and confections inspired by the nostalgia of a French childhood mixed with ‘gastronomical alchemy’, as described by Sophie, artisan and owner. Sophie’s background in science as well as the culinary arts afford Praliné a remarkable selection of contemporary creations that somehow still retain the profound integrity for traditional French recipes of the past. They offer a generous array sweets, confections, breads, and sandwiches.
Not only can you grab your favorite French treat, but the boutique offers a wondrous selection of fine teas and candies from notable French vendors. As a side note, I don’t know what ‘Sexy Tea’ entails exactly, but sign me up.
I went to Praliné on a mission solely for my first Galette des Rois, of which I wrote about in detail a few posts ago. The Galette des Rois was magical, which is indeed necessary to repeat. However, that being said, there was no way I could leave without a few other delights. That would be equivalent to going to Disney World for just one ride. At the conclusion of my pleasant visit, I found myself toting several delectable croissants, a baguette, and some Sable Breton, which is a French butter cookie that happens to pair perfectly with a good cup of hot tea. During excursions, I have a few goals in mind: try a new treat and taste the croissants. Croissants never lie. A good croissant is indicative of a quality establishment, and Praliné passed all of my tests, croissants and all. Upon my inevitable return, the goal will be tasting some of their gorgeous bonbons.
Perhaps it was the vibrant sunshine that radiated an already cheery atmosphere the morning of my visit, but I left Praliné feeling a great sense of rejuvenation. In fairness, a good croissant will do that, but this time it was different. The normal hustle of daily American life shed itself at the entrance to favor the immense pleasure a simple taste of a French sweet undeniably inspires. That week met me with several deadlines and commitments. Yet, for an hour at least, none of that mattered. As a business, Praliné needs no frills because here, the extravagance lies in simply savoring each delicious moment.
Is there anything more French than that?
À la prochaine.
Praliné Artisanal Confections
203 Belmont Street
Belmont MA, 02478