Chocolatine is such a place, and as a surprise I took the children there for an early Valentine's treat.
Though it's not located in the most picturesque area of Thousand Oaks, once you cross over the charming threshold, you're whisked away to an authentic French patisserie~and with good reason. The owners Hugo & Sabrina are both from France, one from the Loire Valley, the other from further North. If anyone is going to understand the nuances of what makes French delicaies so special, it would be them.
Both have worked hard to bring the experience of enjoying decadent desserts and drinks to their shop by inviting their patrons into a beautiful and cozy atmosphere. The small space exudes warmth, as does the lilting of the French language spoken by each employee.
Eldest was entranced by it, asking every so often what they were talking about. My French was a little rusty, but I did an adequate job explaining what could be understood.
But let's get to what y'all really want to know: the menu. True to French form, the menu was small, but filled with delicious choices. From the traditional Croque Monsieur to a most unique & spicy libation~the Nana Chocolate~your appetite is not left wanting.
Much as we wanted to try their quiche du jour, it was late in the afternoon. The children and I chose to live dangerously and opt for desserts and cafe au lait instead.
The scallywag nibbled on a butter cookie shaped like a heart, while I enjoyed a citron tarte and Eldest a chocolate croissant.
With each and every bite, we fell a little more in love with this little chocolate tea room. Each of us savored our afternoon treats, and as the children goofed off I took time to appreciate the details Hugo & Sabrina put into their shop. From the white-washed floors,
to the gallery walls & assortment of various cafe chairs,
the entire space had a vintage, chic feel, with the fruits of their labor~their pastries~at center stage. They were the jewels in the middle of a very beautifully crafted jewelry box. From eclairs, to truffles, to macaroons, there was a little bit of everything you'd expect to see~and more. What wasn't seen, though can be on their website, was their laundry list of cakes & crepes that are available.
Oh, la la!
Also available? A sample tray filled with an assortment of meringues. The children and I nibbled on some while waiting for our order, and they were the best I've ever had.
Undoubtedly our trip to Chocolatine was everything we'd hoped it would be and more. But what made me happiest were the small gestures of love my children showed one another.
They clash sometimes, as brothers and sisters often do, but at the heart of their relationship is a true love for one another. I don't need to tell you what it does to me when I see it on display.
That's a special kind of sweetness that chocolate can't beat.
With that in mind, I'll wish you all a lovely Monday morning, and in case we don't chat tomorrow, a very Happy Valentines.