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Review: Cannelle serves up elegant treats in downtown Detroit



In case you haven't heard, Detroit is now a bakery town.

It's official with the recent addition of Ochre in Core City, where a secret Hamtramck baker has gone legit, and Warda Patisserie inside Trinosophes, which is receiving national press for its pastries. They join established favorites like Astro, Avalon, Sister Pie, Sheila's, Shatila, Prince's, and so many more, all of which stack up against the best out there.

There's also the new Cannelle location, which Golden Wheat baker-chef-owner Matt Knio opened in downtown Detroit's Capitol Park.

It's the French pastry shop and bakery's second location (the first is in Birmingham), and it's where one goes for dishes that at times could best be described as "elegant." For example, one version of the prince noir is a shimmering dark chocolate orb arranged with a curled chocolate shaving and sprinkle of roasted hazelnut. Break open the orb to find it's an intensely rich ball of chocolate mousse, and the sum of its texture, appearance, and taste is sublime. A second version of the noir is a rectangle with the similar ingredients in a different composition, while a third envelops fresh, acidic raspberries that accent the dark chocolate.

Similarly, the rocher is a spongy, moist wedge of chocolate cake that's laced with rich chocolate mousse, covered in chocolate ganache, then coated with pure chocolate nibs. The tiramisu is rich, creamy, and super moist, and one of Cannelle's best. Also excellent is the crunchy, a chocolate cake that's got a light hazelnut and almond crunch.

If one's not looking for chocolate, the plum tart offers rolled ribbons of tart, lively shaved plum in a floral-like arrangement above a small pie of creamy, mellowing custard. The fruit tart does the same, but with a bright, colorful arrangement of blackberries, raspberries, grapes, mandarins, and strawberries. The tutti frutti is a pink cake made with vanilla mousse, black currant, strawberries, under a soft, sugary candy slab.

One of the more interesting pastries is the Mille-Feuille, which arrives with multiple layers of flaky caramelized dough holding dollops of white French vanilla pastry cream — it's a much chiller, laid-back option than most of the desserts

Perhaps the only dessert that I wasn't crazy about was the giant pistachio macaron-stuffed raspberries. The presentation is beautiful, but the texture and flavor of the cream turned me off.

However, the biggest surprise was a different pistachio dish — the pistachio Paris Brest. It's a cup of light green, airy pistachio cream that's arranged in a pate a choux, all of which encases marinated strawberries and raspberries.

The sandwiches are served on either croissants or baguettes and come with no small amount of gooey gruyere cheese and meats like sausage or ham. There's also a range of savory croissants that are delicious, and when you're leaving, it'd be a good idea to grab some bread or baguettes, if your breadbox isn't already full of Detroit-made loaves.

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