Where to Colette Bakery in Medford, where traditional French breads and pastries fill the case.
Why Because everyone wants a little mom-and-pop neighborhood bakery run by a hard-working family to succeed. And who doesn’t need a croissant right now?
The Back Story Owners Nathalie and Franck Beddiar are from Toulouse in the French Southwest. The Colette sign says “Est 2019” but it didn’t open until last April after delayed construction and a long wait for equipment from France. In the middle of the pandemic, says cheerful Nathalie Beddiar, who runs the retail shop, the couple decided, “Let’s open and let’s see.” The customers poured in. Colette is in a residential neighborhood, everyone was working at home, and all were willing to queue up for this exceptional patisserie. Nathalie is a former flight attendant for Air France; Franck, who worked in management at a medical supply company, does the business end of the bakery. French-trained pastry chef Noé Doucet, 22, is baking with the Beddiars’ son, Valentin, 20. The name Colette comes from Nathalie’s family; the dog in the logo is a French Bulldog and Boston Terrier mix.
What to Eat The baguette de campagne, with its dramatic pointed ends and floury dusting, is made the old-school way, which the Beddiars know from home. The round “tradition” bread begins with a sourdough starter. Both have a deep flavor and firm crumb. On the savory menu, the vegetable quiche sits very high with flaky pastry and a silky egg custard. Hearty sandwiches such as tuna with eggs or eggplant and mozzarella are satisfying on house rolls. In the patisserie case, darling chouquettes (shoo-kets), which translates as “little bits of choux,” are sprinkled with big sugar crystals and they’re lovely and eggy. Tarte Choco Caramel is a generous single serving of chocolate cookie crust filled with chocolate ganache and a dollop of caramel. Stunning and delicious.
What to Drink All the standard café drinks are here, with only two tables if you want a seat. When the warm weather arrives, a little patio will hold four to six more tables.
The Takeaway You can watch the young pastry chefs through a large glass window in the retail shop. As in France, they start baking in the middle of the night. You have to order for the weekend over the phone by Thursday because everything at Colette is made in small batches. “This is a family business, so we prefer to make less, always the good quality,” says Nathalie Beddiar. She is quite gracious and wants to please her customers. “To see them happy makes me so happy,” she says. 509 Main St., Medford, 781-396-2313, colettebakery.com
Sheryl Julian can be reached at email@example.com.