Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cafe Vanille: Love and magnolias on Beacon Street

Magnolias in full bloon on Beacon Street
Never fear, this will not be a post about happy young things in J.Crew sweaters necking on Beacon Street in the first flush of Spring. Although there are magnolias bursting with flowers in downtown Boston, the love I refer to is the deepest, the most sustaining and elevating love there is: Dessert. And more particularly, Vanille Cafe on Charles Street.

Perhaps I was somewhat predisposed to love this little shop of edible jewels, after walking throuh the Public Garden and marvelling at the blossoms, revelling in the 80 degree weather, past a sea of pasty Bostonians in various stages of sun worship. But I wouldn't have fallen head over heels without justification, and Vanille has it.

Nestled amidst the Tuttie Frutti tarts and the Annabelle cake (sponge cake topped with meringue and cranberries), live a miriad of drool-worthy French desserts, whipped up by the pastry chefs who own the joint.

And that's just the cakes. The breakfast pastries don't look half bad either.

But the gauteau that won my heart? The chocolate orange cake topped with orange macaroons that have chocolate smiley faces on them. Mind.Blowingly.Good. Chocolate mousse layered with light spongy cake and topped with a waxy layer of dark chocolate. Light yet substantial, chocolately but not to the point of death. It was the whimsy of the macaroons that put me over the edge. This is it. I will be coming back to Vanille at every opportunity to eat this cake.

Not that it's a hardship to amble around Beacon Hill's cobblestone lanes. Cafe Vanille is just the place to people watch and gander at the iconic churches and townhouses that make this one of the cutest three square blocks of real estate in New England.

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