That pastry chef is Haiti-born Edwige Fils-Aime, who learned his French pastry skills at La Boulange in Manhattan and whose Princeton shop (which opened in 2003) has slowly and quietly become a mecca for anyone who loves French pastries (and who doesn’t?) and who respects someone who knows how to do them right.
What’s his secret? “Ooooh, there are so many.” First, there’s the quality of the ingredient (no shortening, for example, just real butter, from nearby Belford Farms, which supplies all the eggs and cream, too).
Then, well, there’s the attitude. “You have to focus on what you’re doing. If you’re doing it, you’re doing it right.”
It’s a philosophy that’s expensive and time-consuming, but then again, why bother otherwise? “If I cannot do it the way I want to do it, there’s no point in doing it.”
By afternoon, the students have switched to napoleons with their espressos. The shop also does brisk business in éclairs, tarts (fig, almandine, alsacienne, as well as the traditional fruit tart). Plus brioche, macaroons and cream puffs. Order a chocolate cranberry tart for the Thanksgiving holidays, or, for Christmas, one of the traditional holiday log cakes, the bûche de noël, made of mocha or praline.
The Little Chef Pastry Shop
8 S. Tulane St., Princeton