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Jul 17, 2014 10:14 PM

Can It Be?! Is Our Beautiful City Finally Getting a Terrific French Bakery?

After today's news in Eater, I am trying to hold in the reins. Oh me, i've been complaining about Boston's sad crappy bakery scene for so long now, it is really hard for me to believe that a new longed-for era may be dawning!
According to Eater, Madeleine should be opening very soon. So many of us would love to end our complaining and finally have a great new ______(Mexican place, Burmese spot, etc etc) and a Pattisserie/Boulangerie as good as SF's Boulangerie on Pine is at the top of my list, so pleeeze, CHs, keep us appraised of this new opening. I am so hopeful that quality and variety will be terrific!!

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  1. Is this measurably different than say Tatte? Or Clear Flour (which I still have not visited but based on the feedback here is well deserving of its praises)?
    A colleague was recently on the Continent and folks there extolled the virtues of the soon to open Paul as well.
    Maybe not quite the desert (dessert?) wasteland (waistband?) you suggest it is?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      The Boston metro area has some decent bakeries and such. I am not a fan of Tatte at all, I find it over-rated and the preciousness of the clientele gives me the shpilkes. I like the High Price, even if the clientele is also unpleasant. But that's Cambridge.

      Boston isn't Paris when it comes to French bakeries, but it isn't that bad.

      1. re: Uncle Yabai

        Shpilkes, such a great word. My Italian SO was commenting on how yiddish is SO onamatopoetic!

        1. re: StriperGuy

          cool word for sure. Is there a good word or expression for 'gives me the creeps'? i bet a bunch of different languages have fun words for that!

    2. I was excited to read that Madeleine is being run by people who worked at PB Boulangerie & Bistro, but I must disagree about the "sad crappy bakery scene."

      I don't know anything about specifically French bakeries, but I have had excellent baked goods at Petsi Pies, Flour, Ula, and probably other places I can't recall right now since it's 4am.

      Oh, and of course 3 Little Figs. I'm not fond of their sandwiches, but their pastries are divine and I would give up an arm (preferably the left one, so I can still grab their fig and pear scone with my dominant hand and stuff it in my mouth) if they only had longer hours.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. I do not think that the Boston or surrounding areas are a "sad crappy bakery scene " at all Clear Flour for one will be supplying Madeleine all of their bread. Flour and Iggy's also come to mind right away , hopefully Madeleine will be a great addition to the area. No need to put down what we have in the area already though

          5 Replies
          1. re: Slimshady1261

            Nice post, I agree we have some decent bakeries, which you mention, in our area. Plus, many ethnic bakeries all over.

            1. re: Slimshady1261

              I've REALLY been enjoying Nashoba Brook Bakery's bread, which I get at Wilson Farm. There is good bread around, but you have to look for it.

              1. re: Chris VR

                Iggy's bread is excellent and widely available.

                1. re: Chris VR

                  +1 on the Nashoba Brook breads. The favorite at our house is a seeded ficelle that we buy at the main bakery in West Concord. To me, the bagged Nashoba breads sold at some grocery stores don't have the same appeal.

                  In West Concord they also carry tasty, individually portioned desserts that we love as a treat. There's an intensely chocolate Hampton (Hamptons?) cake that my husband goes for. Scrumptious, though I love the individual Boston cream pie when they have it -- a great example of this classic dessert both times I've partaken. Very pretty desserts that taste as good as they look.

                  The take-home soups are also worth trying. This past winter, we often used one as a quick, light weeknight meal with their seeded ficelle bread.

                2. re: Slimshady1261

                  Flour and Iggy's rock but Flour is more about cake-like things and Iggy's is more about bread-like things.

                  Thinking about really good pastry-like things is pretty exciting.

                3. I saw the PB Boulangerie mention and I got so excited. I was just in Wellfleet last weekend and was wondering if I was being ridiculous for getting up early and waiting in a 30 minute line for a few pastries for my friends and I (I'm there every summer and always try to go once). I mean, it's just a pastry. Yup, it was worth it. I almost cried over the almond croissant. And dear god, they have it listed on the Madeleine menu that was posted online - if it's the same I might just die.

                  On another note - I don't think the bakeries are all that bad here in Boston either. I really like 3 Little Figs. I also enjoy Flour and Tatte. Although, I guess I don't tear up over them (and they seem overly expensive to me). There is just something really special about PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet. It feels european. There is just something so nice about enjoying a coffee and even just one pastry and just eating it really slowly and savoring every sip and bite. When I go to Flour or Tatte it is usually a shitshow in there and I end up just bringing my pastries back to my desk and eating whilst typing on my computer. Maybe that's the problem...

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: kdemayo

                    I'll be more than a little surprised if PB in Boston is as mellow as your Wellfleet experience. We don't do "mellow" well here. And I'm with most posters: I'll look forward to this but I do manage with excellent Clear Flour, very good Japonaise croissants, Iggy's, even Athans for some things, as well as ethnic baked goods from Belmont and Watertown and special occasion cakes from Vicki Lee. So it's great to have something new coming, but I'm also grateful for what I can get here.

                    1. re: kdemayo

                      Love PB too, but I have to say that Maison Villatte, in Falmouth, represents PB's "better half." As you may know, Boris, the main baker at PB (and the "B" in the original name) has left PB, and gone to Falmouth to open his own place. It is, IMHO, significantly *better* than PB--it's like PB was when it first opened, only with more seating, and a much, much broader selection of "close your eyes and you could be in Paris" selection of pastries. It's by far the best place I've found East of NYC.

                      1. re: winedude

                        I did not know about this! Damnit! Thanks so much for the tip. I will check it out as soon as I possibly can. :)

                        1. re: winedude

                          I have been to both numerous times and Maison Villatte is significantly better now than PB. I had thought that the baguettes at Maison Villatte were the best I have had on this side of the Atlantic but I have to say that the Ancienne at Clear Flour is just as good as anything I had in Paris.

                          1. re: bakerboyz

                            It is. And yet we have a "sad crappy bakery scene" here. Go figure.

                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                              geez, you guys. You KNOW i am not talking about breads. Of COURSE we have an excellent bread scene; and for those who just love to jump on me, you know that i know that.For years I have vociferously praised Iggys, Clearflour, Pigs Fly. I am talking about PATISSERIE. And I am talking very speCIFically about Boulangerie on Pine in SF. So, if you are not familiar w/ it, i suggest you cut the attack. AND i am not talking about patisseries on the Cape, or in Hartford, or in Portland either, but HERE in Boston, my beautiful historically unique home which has so many excellent food places but has never had a Patisserie/Boulangerie to match, or even come close to, the aforementioned in SF. The End.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                I knew exactly what you were talking about when you posted, even though you left a lot of what you just said out,
                                Hey, I'm excited for you and I hope it lives up to your expectations.
                                I'm sure we will hear about it either way.

                                A light shines in the darkness....

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  My bad. When I read you were complaining about "Boston's sad crappy bakery scene", I thought you were saying Boston had a sad crappy bakery scene.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef


                                    Not all boulangeries are patisseries. Not all patisseries are boulangeries. The La Boulange chain in SF does appear to be both, but it's in SF, so I honestly don't see why it should be considered pertinent to this discussion at all.

                                    This thread demonstrates that there are MANY fine boulangeries in Boston and the surrounding towns, some of which are also producing some fine Viennoiseries. I agree that the city could use a good French patisserie, particularly since I still vividly remember the days of Delphin's Gourmandise in Coolidge Corner. But even on that front I strongly disagree that we suffer from a "sad crappy bakery scene."

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      Ditto...I thought the pastries in Boston were just ok. Hit a few patisseries in Toronto and it's night and day....

                                2. re: winedude

                                  Totally agreed on Maison Villatte. I would even venture to say that it's better than anything I've found in NYC. The viennoiserie is all superb, especially the pain au chocolat aux amandes. My favorites among the desserts are the apricot-pistachio tart and the Royale, a chocolate mousse-hazelnut-praline creation that I nearly dragged my family all the way to Falmouth for on my birthday.

                                  Perhaps the most endearing part is that the baker (from the Loire Valley) seems not to have figured out that the "brownie au chocolat" doesn't get baked in a petit four pan.