Thursday, December 10, 2009

Red Stick at the Strands Cafe

One bite of the Red Stick sweet treat and it was heaven! I read about Strands Café newest signature confection when reading the latest issue of  225 Baton Rouge magazine. Rachael Upton wrote a short review that aroused my curiosity and my taste buds.  My friend and I made the trek to the downtown location for a quick lunch and to try it for ourselves.

Strands Café is the entrepreneurial success of cousins Linelle Mon, who grew up in Baton Rouge, and Lilita Blanchard who hails from Honolulu. Both studied at Le Cordon Bleu Australia in Sydney. They chose Baton Rouge as the place they wanted to set up shop and our city is lucky to have them. Their pastries, coffees and candies are fabulous!

All the food, according to Linelle, is made from scratch. They are closed on Mondays to make chocolates. They bake their pastries daily.  Everything is very fresh and the display case was filled with tempting treats.  The aroma from the kitchen made my mouth water. This is no ordinary café. They even grind their own gourmet coffees.

It was lunch time, so we ordered the quiche made with goat cheese. It was light and well seasoned with a tender pastry crust. It was accompanied by fresh fruit. We also had some hot tea. The tea service included sugar, honey and cream. After enjoying the quiche and the tea it was time for the main purpose of the visit: Chocolate. It did not disappoint.


The Red Stick is part of the Louisiana Collection of hand crafted chocolates offered by Linelle and Lilita. They describe it as a “tribute to our beloved city.” Each stick is a milk chocolate shell painted with red cocoa butter and filled with a pocket of dark chocolate ganache, a pocket of Madagascar butterscotch and a pocket of white chocolate ganache. The creators say it represents unity within the city of Baton Rouge aka The Red Stick. It was certainly a taste treat and was pretty to look at as well.


I asked for a full listing of the chocolate menu items and they graciously sent all the information to me so I could share with you.

Rounding out the Louisiana Collection are Acadie (café au lait filled milk chocolate created in honor of the beauty and bravery of the Acadian people) and the Crescent City (Milk chocolate pecan praline with a dark chocolate crescent as an elegant representation of our sister city. But it doesn’t stop there.

There is also the Tesoro Heart that is basically a butterscotch filled milk chocolate heart. The Pomegranate Heart is pomegranate caramel topped with green tea milk chocolate ganache inside a chocolate shell. Tiger Eye features honey butter caramel inside chocolate with purple and gold decorations. (It has to be a tribute to the LSU Tigers whose colors are purple and gold!)


There are other tempting flavors on the menu such as Siam, Tierra Caliente and Emerald City. Next time I am going to try the Figaro. This one is a dried Grecian fig filled with marzipan and dipped in dark chocolate.
Linelle told me that they use cinnamon, chili, lemongrass, tea, peppermint, vanilla and other unique flavors when preparing the chocolates. No wonder the place smells so good.

Strands Café is located at 226 Laurel Street in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can park on the street if you are lucky enough to get a metered space, and there is a pay lot close by. It’s worth feeding a meter and staying a while to enjoy the ambience and delicious pastries, chocolates, coffee and tea. I was told that special orders must be placed at least a week in advance. I have encouraged them to offer shipping so my out of town blog readers can have some sent to their homes. If you do happen to visit Baton Rouge, you have to try Strands Café.

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