Written in chalk on the sidewalk in front of a soon-to-open bakery, Colette, in Medford were the words “Please Open.” Clearly, "we had to open in a hurry,” said owner Nathalie Beddiar. She and her husband Franck moved here three years ago from Toulouse, France, and worked for a year to launch the bakery, which was slated to open mid-April. They reconsidered during the pandemic, but support and encouragement from the neighborhood persuaded them the time was right to take the leap. Now, lovely aromas waft from the shop that sells croissants that taste like the ones in Paris, and French apple turnovers, lemon meringue tarts, eclairs, and flan ($3 to $4.95). Their baker, Noé Doucet, 21, came from Paris, where he worked at the prestigious Hotel Plaza Athénée. He also turns out snail-shaped puff pastry with chocolate and pistachio, and the labor-intensive Breton specialty kouign-amann, caramelized and flaky with rich layers of butter and sugar (both $3.50). Crusty, thick baguettes, brioche, and artisan loaves ($2.50 to $6.50) are crafted with natural leavening — a sourdough starter — a technique made popular by the prominent French master baker and teacher Gerard Levant, who is Nathalie’s uncle. Levant had intended to join the couple for the bakery’s opening, she says. “Someday he will come.” For now, curbside pickup is available, and only two people are allowed inside at any given time. The Beddiars are already turning down offers to supply pastries and breads to restaurants and markets. “We are simple and traditional and are doing quality, not quantity,” says Nathalie. 509 Main St., Medford, 781-396-2313, colettebakery.com.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.