Atelier Monnier French Bakery is a one-stop Kendall shop for Valentine sweets, chocolates and wines. The sleek space has glass cases filled with patisserie plus sandwiches on fresh-baked breads or croissants and quiche by the slice. Atelier is French for “artist’s workshop,” but the confections are crafted in a nearby warehouse under the supervision of pastry chef Franck Monnier, who trained at Fauchon in Paris under Pierre Hermé. Born in Rouen to a restaurateur family, he worked in three-star restaurants in France, and came to Miami with the Four Seasons.
Monnier opened his own place a year and a half ago with Patrick Feyten, a native of Belgium who was a manufacturing executive for Kraft, as the manager. Feyten is the face of the store, welcoming customers, helping them find items and offering wine pairings with sweets.
A box of a dozen macaroons in flavors like rose petal, mocha, pistachio and piña colada sandwiched with ganache or a box of silky chocolate truffles rolled in cocoa powder would please someone special. There are also clusters of croustilles (chocolate-covered almond slivers and orange peel), milk chocolate bark with caramelized hazelnuts and dark chocolate bark with coconut shreds.
A dozen gourmet fruits de pate (fruit jellies) come in a clear box with a mix of flavors including black currant, mango, pineapple and guava. Warm a heart with a frozen vacherin cake in a piped meringue shell filled with raspberry sorbet and vanilla crème glacé (French ice cream with a lower fat content).
The signature cake is the Ivoire, crème brulee mousse filled with mango-passion fruit cream and a layer of tropical fruit compote over coconut-lime dacquoise (sponge cake) garnished with gold leaf. Anything from this boutique should make a sweetie swoon.