We need to talk french pastry. Because here in Baton Rouge, french pastry is a thing. I will tell you, based on my internet research, the best place here to get my favorite french pastry, the humble croissant, is a little place called La Madeleine. (I am sure there are other places doing homemade french pastry, but I have yet to discover them.)
La Madeleine is a small national chain (about 70 locations currently). Started by a frenchman, Patrick Leon Esquerré, who grew up in the Loire Valley region of post World War II France, the little chain brings the feeling of southern France to your American backyard. Now, it is not 100% authentic. But what it is, is delicious and affordable, and the country French flare is definitely there.
So, you walk in and are instantly greeted by the bakery case – which is mouthwatering. The selection of pâtisseries and vienoisserie is hard to ignore, even for a person of immense self control (I am not necessarily suggesting I am one of those people, just that if you are…you’re still screwed).
Here is the bakery low-down…
Several kinds of croissants (almond, all-butter, blackberry cream cheese). Palmier and lemon madeleines. Apple turnover and coconut macarons. Several kinds of muffins and several varieties of homemade bread (baguette, country wheat, sourdough, and 7 grain). Even a miniature sea salt baguette. Then there are the tarts (mixed fruit, lemon, chocolate). The tarts come in 3 sizes: full-size, individual, and mini. Then there is cheesecake, coconut cream cake, creme brûlée. Plus the delectable Sacher chocolate torte. And your layered desserts: napoleons and parfait.
Everything is baked fresh daily. And the smell is intoxicating. Trust me. Resistance is futile.
The croissants are incredible. I bought 6 of them to keep at the house for occasional pastry breakfast. They will freeze. But, I’ll tell you they are best the day of.
The fruit tart is ridonk. I love fruit tart. It has always been one of my favorite desserts. When I was a kid, my parents threw an annual 12th Night party (big party celebrating the 12th night of Christmas). The party was always catered. One of the desserts was always fruit tart. And we would eat it for breakfast the next morning. It is seriously so good. La Madeleine does it right: flaky pastry, creamy custard, the freshest fruit, and an apricot glaze to make the whole thing shiny and sweet.
I have also tried the namesake cookie, the Madeleine. It is lemony perfection. Light and perfect. The other desserts look fab, but I have not tried them yet.
Also, they have potentially the best coffee I have ever had. Super smooth and dark and delicious.
Now, La Madeleine also serves three meals a day (and i think the most expensive thing on the menu is $11), but I have not partaken in real food there yet. When I do, I will report back. I am sure it’s delicious.