Oh yes, I did it again! I found another wonderful bakery! Actually, since it is a French style one, I shall call it with its proper name: pâtisserie. Tucked away just slightly off to the side of downtown Sebastopol, California, Pâtisserie Angelica is a pleasant discovery I made while looking at Google Maps searching for something else. You know how Google Maps shows the names of businesses in the area you are zooming in on? That is how I found this one.
I was making plans to drive up to visit the Redwoods at the Armstrong Reserve in Guerneville. Since it was going to be over an hour long (very) early morning drive, I thought I might stop in Sebastopol for a cappuccino to perk me up. I remembered there was a promising looking coffee shop within the Barlow (a shopping area in Sebastopol), but could not recall exactly what street that was on; hence my perusing of the map. That is when I noticed that, just one street over from the coffee shop, there was a patisserie I had not known about before.
I made sure I was not confusing it with another bakery in the area, which I had visited a few months back, but which, despite the raves that had reached my ears, turned out to be mediocre. It wasn’t (yeah!), so I made a mental note that, if I had time on my way home, I would stop and take a peek.
As it turned out I was running a little late to pick up a friend on the way, so the morning cappuccino was scrammed. But I did have time to stop by Angelica on my way home! Though I am starting by giving you a look at the ambiance of the patisserie, which, as you can see, is very country-French-meets-west-Sonoma-County (so perfect), I actually walked in with tunnel vision, and the first thing I ogled was the goodie counter below. I know, you would have done the same.
Just as I opened the door, this adorable old little girl with hair in a stunning shade of pink walked out. She was clearly a regular and, when she saw me, she lavishly praised the patisserie and her people. I found out later that her name is Edythe and she is ninety-one. Hope to see you again Edythe!
I knew I would need to take my time to choose, so I did what I usually do in these cases: I ordered a cappuccino – I was still owed the one from the morning after all. And, since I had yet to eat either breakfast or lunch, but was not in the mood for a breakfast pastry, I picked one of the mini cakes to eat on the spot. Called Gateau Basque, it was a butter cake base, a little crunchy on the outside, and with a layer of Tahitian vanilla bean pastry cream in the center. Perfectly delicious!
While the friendly server was preparing my cappuccino, which turned out to be really nothing special, so it is best to skip on that one, I took a few photos and selected what I would be taking home with me. My friend Nicole had told me about the Parisien, so I started with that, then the Lavender Cake with Raspberry Rose Buttercream, of course. How can you resist anything with lavender, or rose for that matter?! After that I chose the Meyer Lemon Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake, and decided for one of the two chocolate cakes on display: the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mousse. All in mini size, of course, so I could taste different ones. Isn’t that the best?
Once home, I whipped out the new props I had recently been tempted to purchase at Pier 1, added one of the beautiful bone china tea cups I had purchased at the Dickens Christmas Fair, and styled it all up on the table in the garden.
It was only when I was done that I allowed myself to taste a bite of each mini cake. By then they were at room temperature, so in the best eating conditions. Seriously, once you try them at room temperature, you will never eat a slice of cake, or a macaron straight from the refrigerator again. It is sacrilegious. Ok, ok, if you are desperate, you are allowed to eat a piece of cake straight from the refrigerator, or the freezer for that matter. But it will be just good instead of sending your tastebuds floating to heaven.
My tasting started with the Lavender Cake with Raspberry Rose Buttercream. As you may know by now, I am not a fan of buttercream, except in this case. That little cake was just divine. The flavors of lavender and rose both distinctive and perfectly blended.
Next I tasted the Parisien. This cake is essentially three layers of macaron alternating with (almond) buttercream. It tasted like the macaron had been made not just with almonds but also with hazelnuts. It was not my favorite, but that is just a personal preference, as it was as the others.
The Meyer Lemon Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake was next, and it was definitely one of my favorites. How does having three out of four being your favorites work? A perfectly creamy, yet light texture combined with the flavor of Meyer lemons toned by the little bit of raspberry in the swirl. Am I allowed to say perfection again? Because I will have to use the word one more time for the chocolate cake, which, being the stronger flavor, I left for last.
Flourless chocolate cake is my favorite kind of chocolate cake. When you fill it and top it with chocolate mousse instead of frosting, we are instant best friends. Again, eating the cake at room temperature in all its creamy exquisiteness is what made all the difference.
The way I did this, by the way, was to slice a mini slice out of each mini cake. It was like having a tea party with dolls. I did this slowly, taking my time in tasting for textures and flavors. By the time I was done, the four mini slices had so satisfied me the macarons had to wait until the next day.
As my macaron experience is expanding, I am discovering that each patisserie makes them a little different. As you bite into a macaron by Angelica, you get a wonderful experience of crispy cloud followed by a bit of chewiness, and finally the smooth creaminess of buttercream. Once more the word du jour applies: perfection! They were among the best I have had so far. I also appreciated the delicate colors, indicative of a light touch with food coloring. I don’t know about you, but I really do not like strong colors in macarons. Besides the unhealthy aspect of using too much food coloring, it makes them look fake.
I just love my little blackberry teacup!
The quality of ingredients (organic and local as much as possible) and of the process behind these exquisite desserts is undeniable. Not only do they taste wonderful, but the body processes them easily, as is usually the case with real food that has been lovingly prepared with the best of ingredients and without shortcuts.
The angels behind Angelica are two sisters, Condra Easley and Deborah Morris. Their stories are my favorite kind, the ones that speak about passion and the courage to make hair pin changes in one’s life and career in order to follow that passion. Although her working life started out in architectural interior design, Condra has accumulated an extensive experience as a professional baker and pastry chef that spans half the globe, from Chicago to Aspen, to Paris and now California. For Deborah the passion for cakes and fondant came later, after piling up experience first as a potter working with clay, then as an accomplished skier creating and directing the Aspen Women’s Ski Seminar, and the first all-women Heli’s Ski Adventures. Talk about a change of life!
But you can read more about these two amazing women at this page on their website.
As you may have figured out, this award-winning patisserie is a small artisan company with just one location, the one in Sebastopol. However, besides tempting you with their delights in various sizes at the shop, Pâtisserie Angelica also creates exquisite cakes for weddings and other celebrations, as well as dessert tables for various events, and what they call The Chocolate Room. Can you imagine? A chocolate room! I suggest you take a peek at the images on this page, so you can get an idea, but also so I will not feel like I am the only one drooling at the computer.
Furthermore, I was delighted to find out that Angelica also serves afternoon tea, West County style, of course! Afternoon tea comes in three different variations and can be enjoyed from Thursday to Sunday between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm with a reservation. I am so looking forward to doing this with a few friends. I will, of course, blog about it.
6821 Laguna Park Way – Sebastopol, California 95472 | ph. 707-827-7998 | website
More wonderful desserts, food and other delights to be had in the California Wine Country: