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Home » FOOD AND WINE in CT » CONNECTICUT (all topics)

Think You’ve Had the Ultimate Pastry? Think Again

By Mark B. Oliver | August 22, 2011


Sitting unobtrusively on the corner of State Street and Beech Street in New Haven, Connecticut is Marjolaine. For approaching thirty years this bakery has maintained loyal customers who simply wouldn‘t go anywhere else for their fine pastries and confections.

So Many Choices...

First of all, a confession.   I’m not a fan of cake.   There I said it.   Sorry Mom, but I would trade all of those birthday cakes from yesteryear for a bar of chocolate, or tub of ice cream.   I don’t dislike cake, but simply given a choice I’d rather my guilty-pleasure-calories went elsewhere.   That was until I discovered Marjolaine last month.

I was waiting for a friend, when I received a text, he was held up at work and was going to be at least forty-five minutes late.   The temperature was pushing ninety, so I wandered in the direction of town, hoping to find some shade and a drink.   I didn’t get far.

Just one block away was Marjolaine.   There are no cakes in the windows to tempt you, and presumably because of the heat, the door was very firmly closed, so there was no aroma to entice me in either.   But there was something.   It was quaint, charming and looked as though it was out-of-time.   The kind of place that existed in your childhood but no longer.

I pushed open the door, and could hear laughter from a kitchen out back.   There was no wall to separate the seating area from where the bakers were hard at work, and I realized that everything served was freshly baked on the premises.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

A tall smiling man came to the counter.   This was Rusty Hamilton who has been running Marjolaine for all these years.   If I had just one word to describe Rusty it would be “cheerful.”

“You look like you need a drink,” he chuckled, as I looked down and noticed my shirt was sopping wet.   An iced coffee was quickly produced while I browsed the chiller cabinet which was full of insanely attractive looking confectionaries.   I hadn’t a clue what any of them were, and without needing to be asked, Rusty ran through the choices with me.

Fresh Fruit Tart ($3.75), White Chocolate Mousse Cups, with or without a swirl of raspberry ($4.25), Red Velvet Cupcake ($3), Strawberry Almond Macaroon Tart ($4), and the list went on and on.

I chose a Flourless Chocolate Torte ($4) with a dollop of cream on top and sat and waited for my friend, slowly sipping my coffee.

After a while, I dug my fork into the dessert which was light and soft, and took a bite.   It was sensational, and in my fourth decade I realized I had been truly missing out.   I tried to take my time to savor the flavor and texture but all too soon, my mini-slice of heaven was gone.

Raspberry Chocolate Moose in Chocolate Cup

Rusty was back in the kitchen with his colleagues, and I was contemplating asking him back over to order another when my friend arrived.   Perfect! He ordered a White Chocolate Mousse Cup, with a swirl of raspberry, while I had the Fresh Fruit Tart.

Yes, I ordered another, purely in the interests of you dear reader you understand.   Honestly... Both desserts knocked the ball clean out of the park - the mousse was light, fluffy and flavorsome while the fresh fruit tart really stood up to its name.   The fruit was extremely fresh, the custard delicious and it burst with flavor.

In addition to the individual desserts, Marjolaine bake a multitude of different cakes to order in a variety of sizes.

A six inch Classic Butter Cream cake runs to $20, while the sixteen inch version (which will feed between fifty-five and sixty-five people) costs $105.

As we left I understood why Marjolaine doesn’t need a flashy entrance or gimmicks, the baking speaks for itself, and has done for decades.

TELEPHONE(203) 789-8589

961 State Street
New Haven CT 06511

E-MAIL: marjolainepastryshop@hotmail.com

WEBSITE: www.marjolainepastry.com


Mon: Closed
Tue - Fri: 7AM - 6PM
Sat: 8AM - 5PM
Sun: 8AM - 1PM

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