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Patisserie 46

In France, the term "patisserie" may be legally used only by a bakery that employs a licensed maître ptissier, or master pastry chef. At this ambitious Kingfield bakery, that role would be filled by the shop's owner, John Kraus, who was most recently an instructor at the French Pastry School in Chicago, considered to be the nation's top pastry program. Kraus turns out canelé shaped like tiny, bronzed bundt cakes, with a lovely, caramelized crust, and a moist, spongy rum-spiked interior. He bakes Gibassier, a delicate, Provencal bread that's fragrant with anise seeds, orange peel, and olive oil. He whips up sourdough breads and quiche and ice cream and sorbet. One could, in fact, probably subsist on an all-chocolate diet at Patisserie 46, between the pain au chocolate, the chocolate-chip cookies, the house-made candy bars, and the chocolate-enrobed chocolate mousse cake--dark and buttery smooth, with a little salted caramel at its core. A chocolate-covered dome is sprinkled with edible gold leaf as if to emphasize that these aren't just desserts, they're high art. The Russians may have their Fabergé eggs, and the Chinese their miniature mountainsides of carved jade, but the French? They have les petits gateaux.