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L’atelier Patisserie brings the South of France to Mt. Pleasant

Sitting in a tiny French pastry shop, sipping on an espresso and languishing over a croissant that is oh so buttery -- wait! You're not in Paris, you're in Mt. Pleasant.

Espresso is served with tasty pastries at L’atelier Patisserie.

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Espresso is served with tasty pastries at L’atelier Patisserie.

It’s a romantic scene. Sitting in a tiny French pastry shop, sipping on an espresso and languishing over a croissant that is oh so buttery. The world goes by, but you are locked in this tiny moment of pure pleasure – of pure Frenchness.

Yet, you are not in the Paris or Provence. You are in Mt. Pleasant and you are sitting at a tiny table, in a tiny patisserie with a lovely French man serving you the next treat, Pain au Chocolat.

It’s easy to miss L’atelier Patisserie, which is located at 260 E. 5th Ave., just east of Main Street. The two table shop is a sliver in front of a fully functioning bakery, which seems more commercial than quaint from the outside.

Pastry Chef and owner of L’atelier, Franck Buiron, is from the South of France and learned his craft alongside other French pastry chefs before coming to Vancouver.

Every morning Buiron serves up four or five different pastries and always the classic Croissant and Pain au Chocolat. The morning I was there he also had a Chocolate Brioche and a Cherry Roll.

The croissant was exactly how you would want it to be – buttery, but crispy with a nice glutinous bounce. The dough had a creaminess to it with a little hint of tang. Definitely not your grocery store croissant.

Moving along I tried the Pain au Chocolat. Like the croissant, the dough was soft and crispy, but this time that slight tang was hidden by the bitter-sweet dark chocolate, which oozed out of the pastry when bitten. The butter and the chocolate, paired with the crispy yet soft dough made this treat a study in contrast and wholly enjoyable to eat.

To continue on the chocolate trend, I dove into the Chocolate Brioche with no shame. To be honest, it was my favourite, which is laughable because Buiron confessed that the brioche is a fan favourite for kids. Well, put sprinkles on my donuts and pull the ice cream truck around because kid or not, I love the brioche.

A soft dough bun shaped more like a Long John, filled with bitter-sweet chocolate and a vanilla custard made the bun soft, but rich. I meant to have a bite, but I couldn’t – wouldn’t – stop.

Last, but not least, my waistline endured the Cherry Roll. This was a crispy pastry, like the croissant, but this time it was rolled into a neat circle. The highlight of this feature pastry was the fresh cherries rolled within. There is nothing better than the natural taste of fresh cherries at their best. Mwah!

Pastry aside, my favourite thing about my experience at L’atelier was that there was honest to goodness French people conversing over a coffee and croissant. It’s an old truth, if the people who know the food best are eating there, then it must be good.

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