At Canelle, the overwhelming display case has a variety of options of sweets such as macaroons and chocolate eclairs. Photo by Charlotte Parent '21. (Charlotte Parent '21)
At Canelle, the overwhelming display case has a variety of options of sweets such as macaroons and chocolate eclairs. Photo by Charlotte Parent '21.

Charlotte Parent '21

Pastries galore

New chic French pastry shop in the heart of downtown Detroit

April 17, 2019

Canelle by Matt Knio, located in the heart of the rapidly-growing urban area of Detroit, is a proper French patisserie. I went there one chilly afternoon with my family and was pleasantly surprised.

I’d heard about Cannelle before, mainly from my mom offhandedly mentioning one of her friends who went there last Saturday and absolutely loved it. The more I heard about it, the more I was convinced I had to go try the French pastries everyone was raving about.

My mom, dad, brother and I drove down Woodward to park to get to Cannelle. The outside was simple and chic– the tall windows and brick building above gave it an elegant atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else in Detroit.

The inside was even more chic and sophisticated. It was completely open-concept, with its wide array of rainbow pastries setup for hungry pedestrians to see and buy. Rose gold light fixtures hung from the ceiling, illuminating the light hardwood floors and marble backsplash. The only take away from its gorgeous interior was how cramped it was. If you sat down at one of the dark, wooden tables, you’d be apologizing frequently for knocking into the seat directly behind you.

Once inside, you’d form a line along the pastry display case, gazing at creations that don’t look as though they’re real. You’d reach the counter, completely butcher the name of whichever complicated French tart you wanted and then sit down at a table and attempt to cover your embarrassment while waiting for your dish. There was no “to go” option– you eat your macaron or sip your cappuccino while you’re there. It may have been a tiny and unimportant detail, but I loved it.

I was overwhelmed when I first saw the display case– I wanted one of everything. After much deliberation between a mixed-berry cake and vanilla almond layered pastry, I chose the latter. My mom had a miniature lemon meringue pie; my dad, an almond-filled croissant; my brother Owen, a chocolate eclair. My dad also bought a pack of macarons, per my request and a persuading sales pitch from the cashier.

The food was delicious. My millefeuille– a layered dessert with pastry cream and flaky pastry sheet– stayed solid basically the whole time. The dollops of cream were decadent and airy at the same time. Each and every pastry at Cannelle had looked as though it was painstakingly crafted by hand by an artist. There were tiny details in all of them, whether it was strategic placement of the lemon shavings on a pie or a slightly-askew white chocolate decor. It gave a personal touch to an otherwise ethereal pastry.

After our pastries arrived, the drinks were set down in front of us as well. You couldn’t just get a bottle of water– the options available were “refined beverages”, ranging from lattes (complete with latte art) to specialty lemonades. I got the French pink lemonade, expecting a sweeter version of the MinuteMaid lemonade I drink through the summer. To my surprise, it was notably different– it was sparkling, which I enjoyed, but the ‘pink’ part of it was grapefruit juice. It was a super tart drink. After a couple of sips, though, it grew on me.

Canelle is located right near Capital Park, giving the cafe-goers a lively scene to enjoy as they sip some coffee before heading out to work. There’s plenty of dogs roaming about with their owners as well, which I liked a lot. The atmosphere is on the louder or bustling side, so if you’re looking for somewhere you can focus, you’d be better off somewhere else.

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