When I happened to notice this little shop tucked in the corner of a plaza on a busy main street I take almost daily, I thought “What the heck is a patisserie?”
My first thought was that it had something to do with ‘rotisserie’. They sound alike, right? But my friend, Google, set me straight. A patisserie is a French bakery (could also be used for an Italian or even Belgian bakery) that specializes in pastry.
I can’t say for sure, but perhaps it was a subconscious inspiration for my newest release and the launch book for Love Train, the new sweet historical western romance series, CHRISTIANA. After a traumatic childhood, Christiana goes to France to learn how to become a pastry chef so that she may lead a respectable and independent life once her mother gets out of jail.
One of Christiana’s specialties is making chocolate truffles and croissants. We’ve all heard of those, right? But another of her specialties is pain au chocolat.
Pan oh sho-coh-la.
Google helped me out with that one, too, and the pastry becomes a focal point in my book. So it wasn’t long before I wanted to move beyond a YouTube video to learn how to make pain au chocolat.
I wanted to see and TASTE one, too.
A-ha! The Grand Patisserie.
My husband and I stopped by for a lesson in French pastries, and oh, my, the owner, simply called “Ed,” was a master of the subject. He is, of course, a pastry chef who learned to bake at the age of eleven, and yes, he did study in Paris! He left a six-figure job at a major financial company here in Omaha to follow his dream of opening his own little bakery so he could make French pastries every day and present our city with a rare and lovely cultural experience.
No fried donuts in his shop. No sirree. Instead, two simple display cases feature an array of perfectly baked and arranged desserts that made my eyes pop and my sugar addiction kick into overdrive.
But it wasn’t long before I learned that Americans cook with way too much sugar and most countries don’t. The pastries Ed makes are not of the commercial variety we find in the majority of bakeries, especially in the food giants. He uses only fresh eggs from a local farmer. He squeezes his own lemons and oranges for their juice. Vanilla from a vanilla bean instead of a bottle. His tarts vary depending on the sweetest fruits in season. Everything is made fresh, never frozen. Every day brings a different line-up of pastries depending on ingredient availability and his own choices.
I could go on and on, but that would make this blog too long. I’ll share photos of Ed’s luscious French pastries next month, but for now, I’ll share a couple to get your mouth watering.
Ed was generous in giving us samples. A lemon and caramel macaron, baklava (which I didn’t recognize) and mille feuille, similar to a Napoleon.
And of course, the pain au chocolat. I was delighted to learn that Ed’s pastry was as I described in CHRISTIANA. The croissant dough is light and layered, very buttery, and the small pieces of dark chocolate really make the pain au chocolat pop on the taste buds.
Forgive me for looking like a drowned rat. It was super-windy, humid, and misty when we stopped by the Grand Patisserie. But I just had to take a picture with Ed, and he was very happy to let me.
I’ll stop here and save more pictures for my May blog. Until then . . .
Have you ever been to a patisserie before? What is your favorite type of ethnic food? Do you have a favorite or uncommon ethnic restaurant you frequent?
Let’s chat, and one of you could win an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA.
Love Train Series Page on Amazon
And if you happen to be in Omaha, stop by the Grand Patisserie and see for yourself how wonderful Ed’s French pastries are! Tell him Pam sent you!
Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns, but she's proud of her contemporary sweet romances featuring the Blackstone Ranch series published by Tule Publishing, too! Stay up on the latest at www.pamcrooks.com
41 thoughts on “My Visit to the Grand Patisserie! By Pam Crooks”
Like you, I had never heard of a patisserie before. However, I have had French pastries. Mexican, Chinese, and Italian restaurants are some of my family’s favorite restaurants, but I’m not picky, and I like many, including Thai, Indonesian, and Indian, etc.
Good morning, Janice! Your taste buds sound adventurous! Much more so than mine. I find Indian and Thai food too spicy, and I’ve never had Indonesian. But I must admit – I’m pretty timid if I can’t pronounce the menu items or don’t recognize ingredients. LOL.
How wonderful! My granddaughter took a patisserie course a couple of years ago, and loved it. My son-in-law is a pastry chef and baker, and his son (my grandson) is an apprentice baker. You would think surrounded by all these great cooks I would get loads of samples, but no. Not a bite.
I am loving Christiana. Great story.
Cheryl!! You are surrounded by bakers! And no samples? LOL. Surely they bring desserts to family dinners. Interesting how several of your family members have such an interest in baking. I’d be soooo intimidated. LOL.
Glad you are enjoying CHRISTIANA.
I have been to one. I like macaroons
Hi, Debra! One thing I learned is that macaroons are not “macarons.” Macaroons are made with coconut and not flavored. But the macarons pictured in the Grand Patisserie’s website header are the pastel-colored cookies made in scrumptious flavors. (I bought 10 different ones at my visit!!)
Thanks for stopping by!
yes, all kinds
Sounds like you enjoy different tastes in food, too, bn100! I tend to get into a rut and go to the same restaurants (Italian, Mexican, and Chinese.) My husband is the one who loves to experiment with different food ethnicities.
Pam- Happy Easter.
What an amazing find you going. That’s so cool that this new gem you found does go along with Christiana.
We have a really great Mennonite restaurant in the town I work, everything is farm fresh, homemade. Their pies alone will make your mouth water.
Thank you for sharing this, I’ll now be looking to see if I find another really unusual, fun store.
Oooh, Mennonite, Tonya! That’s an unusual one and not familiar to me. Surely we have one here in Omaha, but I have never heard, but now I want to go on the hunt. Any restaurant that can make great pies is a winner for me.
Those look amazing!
They truly are, Julie. It was such a fun visit.
I have not been to this type of pastry shop = looks wonderful!
I hope you’ll find one and stop in some day, Teresa. Some of the pastries are truly a work of art!!
No I haven’t been to a fancy bakery but I’d love to go! Fun blog! Happy Easter Pam!
Put a patisserie on your bucket list, Kathy!! The bakery is so different than the ones we’re accustomed to with cases filled with donuts and cupcakes.
Happy Easter to you, too, sweet lady.
I have never even heard of patisserie before. It would be extremely hard to pick out only one to eat. I enjoy mexican and chinese food.
Ha, Karijean! Each pastry is so unique. I was glad Ed took charge and picked out several for us to try. My husband and I want to go back and try a new pastry every week until we’ve tried them all.
Mexican, Italian, and Chinese restaurants are likely the top three most common (and favorite!) in our country, wouldn’t you say?
I have heard of a Patisserie as i am an avid Foot Network watcher and they talk a lot about French pastries. Although I am not a good baker, I would love to make something like the pain au chocolat. It may surprise you that my fav place I have ever eaten French cooking was in a very small town in Ireland, where the chef went to school in France at the Le Corden Blu. Never had anything better. If you are ever in Donegal, Ireland look up Danny Minnie’s.
I love this, Kathleen! I love that you’re familiar with a patisserie. I watch the Food Network, too. Why are we so fascinated with food and its preparation?
When I was doing my research for CHRISTIANA, I did find that to be a true pastry chef requires a few extra kitchen utensils, and the ovens are top-notch.
How delightful that you found a little French restaurant in Ireland. I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the experience. It was clearly memorable for you!
I have been to several patisseries. I love food from all over the world. Last night we had berbere chicken, tonight some lebonese chicken, the next day a Japonese soup and saffron custard…. I’m taking a little vacation so I have time to cook, and when I do, the food is usually a lot of fun and varied in cultural background. A favorite though… never. (Smiley face)
WOW!!! I’m so impressed, Kristen!! You are so diverse and knowledgeable. I wish you lived next door so you could invite me over for dinner. Or take me to an amazing restaurant! You have convinced me I’m in a real rut with my usual food choices!
Funny you won’t share your favorite. Ha! I can only assume they are ALL your favorites. Thanks for sharing!
welcome today. so cool that you found this place. I found years ago, back among the warehouses a polish bakery. oh but their pastries were divine. 35+ years it is still there. big smile from me. a friend of mine and I used to visit frequently while our kids were in school. your book cover is fabulous. this sounds like such a great series and a great book quilting dash lady at comcast dot net
Hi, Lori! Oh, a Polish bakery! That’s an unusual one for me, but I suppose if one was Polish, the pastries would be familiar. I’ll have to check that out.
I love that it’s still a fond memory for you. And thank you for the kind words about CHRISTIANA!
I love macarons. I occasionally indulge from a cupcake specialty bakery in our town. She won on Food Network.
There was an authentic Italian bakery nearby, but I think the rent was too high and they closed. They have another location in Little Italy in Baltimore.
Ah, an Italian bakery. You know, being Italian, I’ve never even been to one. My grandmother rarely baked (and she was an amazing cook). I remember she made some sesame cookies that us kids never liked. They were just too bland and had to be washed down with coffee or milk. I’ve just always thought the Italians weren’t quite known for their desserts.
Now you make me want to go on the hunt to see if I can find one here.
I’ve not heard of it before (not going to try to spell it, either!) but it looks great!! I’ve eaten at an Indian restaurant, Japanese, and Italian.
Hi, Trudy! Of the three you mentioned, Japanese is most unusual for me. There are so many variations to the Asian cuisines, I can’t even begin to know the differences – Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean.
Spices? I do know some use um, unusual ingredients.
Thanks for stopping by!
Oh my goodness, this made me so hungry! LOL We have a little French bakery here that is owned and operated by a man who emigrated here from France many years ago. Everything he makes is amazing. I don’t get to enjoy it very often, in fact it’s been a very long time, because I’m just not an early morning person and he always sells out quickly.
Hi, Christy! Selling out is the sign of a good baker who knows what he’s doing. But I also know Ed (mentioned above) wants everything fresh. He doesn’t bake in bulk and then freeze. So you’re right – once he’s out, he’s out until the next day when he can bake all over again.
I guess you’ll just have to set your alarm and treat yourself to some high-class French pastries for breakfast some morning. Ha!
I’ve never been to the Patisserie, but I do hang out occasionally at Le Petit Paris Bakery on 155 and Dodge. Lots of croissants and tarts. And I’ve even had pain au chocolat. It’s so insanely delicious. I am hunting up the Grand Patisserie next!
Oh, my goodness, that’s a new one for me, Mary. I had no idea, so you’re a step ahead of me for having had pain au chocolat. 🙂
The Grand Patisserie will be nice and close for you from your daughter’s house. No excuses for not going there and sampling some of Ed’s pastries. 🙂
Me, too! I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t. 🙂
This is right up my alley, girlfriend. I love sweets and French pastry is super great. I had the pleasure of enjoying some in Paris, which is a whole different experience. All the food in France is a different experience. Thanks for the fun blog and I loved reading about Christiana teaching the cook on the train how to make pain au chocolat. Mm, sure wish I had some right now. Christiana is a fabulous read, in case anyone is interested. I loved it. Thanks, Pam.
Aw, thanks for the kind words, Charlene, and I had no idea you’ve been to Paris!!! I’ve never even been overseas before, but I hope to rectify that very soon.
Looking forward to LULA MAE – I’ll be in touch soon.
I do wish I were more adventurous, but with food I am fairly picky. How I do love sweets and it sounds as if trying some French pastry would be beneficial as well as delicious! My favorite exquisite sweet would be cream filled horns which are available in most grocery stores but also in bakeries. It would be a super great to visit a patisserie. Your book, “Christiana” sounds as if it would be very interesting and enjoyable. Best of luck with your career and Happy Easter. God bless you.
Howdy, Judy! Ed told me that French pastries are actually lower in calories because there is far less sugar than we Americans normally use. The French (as do many ethnics) rely on the natural sweetness of fruits and dark chocolate. Guilt-free, right?
I do hope you’ll get a chance to read CHRISTIANA soon. Reviews have been excellent.
Happy Easter and God bless you as well.
This is new to me. I enjoy Chinese food. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
It’s always fun to learn new things, isn’t it, debbiepruss? For as old as I am, I’m amazed at how much I don’t know. LOL.
Happy Easter, my dear.
I am a bit late for this post, but we are on the road heading west. Now I am sorry we are not going through Omaha like we have several times in the past. I always look for good bakeries of any type. Unfortunately, things look so good, but more often than not, they are a disappointment when it comes to taste. We have a bakery in North Carolina that was recommended by a blogger we will try to visit on our next trip south and now have this one in Omaha to visit. I like ethnic food of all types and am always willing to try something new. Sometimes, little neighborhood restaurants have some of the best food. It can be closer to the roots of the real country’s food than larger or chain restaurants. Thank you for another and evidently really good place to look for and try out.
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