Over the past several years Downtown Cranford has become one of New Jersey’s premier gastronomical destinations, with its wide array of top-rated eateries. Adding to the mix is the recently opened Le Petit Temptation, a fabulous French pastry shop that is like no other in our area!
Before opening a brick-and-mortar location in Cranford, Le Petit Temptation was primarily a wholesale business with weekend participation in local farmers markets. According to owner and pastry chef extraordinaire Jessie Dardar: “The response from the local farmers markets was overwhelmingly positive, and through engaging with my customers, I realized that there was a demand for my products on a regular basis as the feedback indicated a great desire for something different.”
Jessie was originally scoping out Westfield as the location for his shop, but he said, “A friend who knew of my plans and is also a Cranford resident gave me the grand tour of the town and introduced me to several local business owners. I then had the great opportunity to meet the fantastic and supportive team at the Downtown Business & Economic Development Office and I was quickly convinced that Cranford was the place for me.” I truly love hearing how welcoming Cranford is to small-business owners!
You don’t need to go to Paris to taste authentic French pastries–having lived in and worked as a chef in France for 12 years, Jessie has brought the signature French style of pastry-making right to our little hamlet of Cranford.
Now, we all know there are several bakeries in the Cranford-Westfield area, but I promise you, Le Petit Temptation is delightfully different. According to Jessie: “Our concept is to change the perception in the way dessert should be prepared. There is no valid argument why a dessert has to be large, sugary or even heavy, more often is the case that those are considered three no- no’s in one single serving. Moreover, this combination is not really enjoyable because it leaves us feeling weighed down and then the sugar kicks in.”
Jessie went on, “A dessert is meant to be a special ending of some sort, whether it is the finish to a meal or shared with family or friends. Desserts should awaken our senses and fill us with emotions; they should always be light, fresh and most importantly not overly sugary. That’s what we trying to accomplish with our pastries. We don’t have a set menu. We do things in small batches and when we run out . . . it is out.”
Jessie is known for his stellar macarons. If you haven’t tried these cookies yet, I demand you give them a try. Made from almond meal and egg whites, macarons are a classic French meringue sandwich cookie with a unique texture and taste, and limitless flavor combinations. I can’t get enough of ’em! Besides the macarons, Jessie said that his desserts featuring coconut have been bestsellers, along with his mango/passion fruit tart.
The cafe will soon be offering much more than desserts. Gourmet coffee will be on the menu, and Jessie said, “We are going to start doing light lunches, vegetarian salads, and quiches. Sometime in August, we are going to start featuring pop-up dinners two or three times a month, which will be a set menu consisting of five to seven dishes, and it will be whatever inspires me. Since our place is rather small with only 10 to 12 chairs, reservations will be a must.”
Le Petit Temptation offers catering services as well, so if you want to knock the socks off your guests at your next fête, give them a call: (201) 377-5919.
You can find Le Petit Temptation in the space formerly occupied by Artemisia, at 19 Eastman Street in Cranford. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 9 am to 9 pm, but follow them on Facebook for updates on their hours once the coffee equipment is up and running!