Those of us with a passion for food, remember our first inspirations. It was a taste or experience that opened up the culinary artist in your heart. I adore éclairs, it was my first French style bakery indulgence. But from the first, I was particular about this baked pleasure. No grocery store version of this for me. I want an éclair that is filled with a luscious, rich pastry cream and topped with a chocolaty glaze where chocolate, not sugar, is the star of the show. There are a lot of bakeries out there that completely butcher the gorgeous éclair. Too often they are filled with a horribly gloppy excuse for crème pâtissière and topped with a sugary sweet cake style chocolate frosting. Considering I am married to the Pastry King, I spend time each week selecting the impeccable pastries to bring home. I have found my wishes in one stop- The Éclair Bakery in The Village of Arroyo Grande. We had always been a fan of Jeremy Davenport, the owner and head baker, as he worked for a time at Farb’s bakery and even amongst the baguettes, rolls and buns, Jeremy stood out. Kathy at Farb’s having lived for years in France claims that Jeremy makes the best croissants. I will not dispute that claim.
Éclair serves traditional recipes with a flavorful twist including banana bread pudding, macaroons and cinnamon apple coffee cake. When I have to prepare a feast for guests, I turned to Éclair to furnish the dessert. Moist and perfectly chocolate brownies with a dusting of powered sugar, I plated them with chocolate sauce, white raspberries, and a vanilla Pirouette. They also create unusual, beautiful, and utterly delicious cupcakes. Gary would devour two there and take three to go. With flavors like S’mores, carrot and my personal favorite, the Chocolate dipped, they are akin to a celebration in your mouth.
We often sneak goodies into the movies, as there are only so many Goober’s one can ingest, so we get a variety of the Éclair cookies and smuggle them in my purse. I am a fan of the simple butter short bread, where Gary prefers the chocolate chip, peanut butter, and chocolate oatmeal. On Saturdays you can find Éclairs fresh baked bread at Farmer’s Market in the Village. Wonderful bread like blue cheese pecan, parmesan sourdough and spectacular baguettes, along with some astonishing cookies and treats. What a perfect way to start a Saturday.
The main thrust of Éclair bakery is wedding cakes. Jeremy creates gorgeous works of art that will make the most persnickety bride blush with joy. Being trained as a pastry chef by the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and apprenticing under some of the best pastry chefs in California, Jeremy has thrown in his special flair and talent to create matrimonial works of art.
The Éclair pastry display is socked full of treasures every day but Mondays. Their hours are Tuesday thru Friday from 8:00am to 8:00pm, Saturdays from 8:00am to 4:00pm and Sundays from 9:00am to 2:00pm.
Go grab a sweetie for your sweetie (or yourself) at 117 East Branch, The Village of Arroyo Grande, call them at 481-7654. See the masterpieces at www.eclairbakery.com