We have spent our lives as spice merchants. I believe it is true in many small businesses, this is not just a living, it is a calling. As such, it spills over into our personal lives, and our hobbies. We are consumed by the food world, and as such, the organizations we belong to for enjoyment tend to run along parallel lines.One of my very favorite groups is the Culinary Historians of Chicago. Their programs are both educational and entertaining, and sometimes lead to a fantastic discovery of a Chicago treasure of which we were unaware, like the French Patisserie Vanille.
Our program last week was held at Kendall College, a great place for a meeting with lots of free parking. The owner of the French Patisserie Vanille, Keli Fayard, gave us a marvelous overview of the history of French pastry, followed by some delicious tastings from her bakery. She and her husband, Dimitri, have owned this bakery for about six years. Dimitri was voted top ten best pastry chefs in the U.S. in 2007 and recently won a gold medal for the USA in the World Championship held in France in 2008. Just the concept that we, the public, could go to this patisserie and buy products from two such talented people in the pastry world, was so exciting that I had to drive right over there after the class ( 2229 N. Clybourn) During the class Keli told us that their croissant were voted best in the city, along with their brownies. Not a classic French treat, but a necessary evil if you are a bakery in Chicago! While I did not try a brownie, I will give my testimonial for the croissant. I hope everyone reading this blog will make an effort to visit. Any small Mom and Pop operation is up against it in these times, and, selfishly, I want this place to be around for a long time! Patty Erd.