Treat to Try: La Chatelaine Bakery
La Chatelaine Bakery has always been a local go-to for fresh French goodies. It’s a full-service joint at dinner time, and earlier in the day, you can point-and-pick at its counters, cafe-style. A particular hankering for the bakery’s version of a croque monsieur provided the original impetus for a weekend visit. The sandwich features an unholy level of flavorful cheese, including a layer melted on top. Sadly, the bakery was sold out for the day. And while the house quiche might have been a decent substitute, sugary sweets from the bakery case looked to offer more consolation.
First up: the signature La Chatelaine Cake. It’s literally a “signature” item, as there is an “L” emblazoned across the top of the rectangular slices. For all its heft and fanciness, it is a light treat, with impossibly thin layers of cake alternating with a fluffy chocolate mousse. Together, they offer a silky smooth, mild chocolate hit, topped off with a more intense dose from the ganache that crowns it.
If that’s not enough consolation, the bakery case also holds a glistening Strawberry Tart that can close the deal. Normally, it’s a good idea to avoid glistening fruit, as it seems like a pathway to fake flavors. In this case, though, the fresh, firm strawberries offered real, natural sweetness that teamed with a custard base that itself sat in a sturdy crust. The crust is worth mentioning, as it has significant similarities to a tart-shaped vanilla wafer. It’s no plain pie crust, but something much more special.
Of course, La Chatelaine has tarts in other flavors, and fancy cakes with different layers too, as well as a hearty selection of house-baked breads. There are three locations in town: one in Worthington, one in Dublin and the one visited over the weekend near Upper Arlington, at 1550 W. Lane Ave. For more information, visit lachatelainebakery.com.