The One Treat You Must Try at Windham's Hidden French Bakery
This French bakery has been hiding on me in plain sight. The first time my cousin-by-marriage Alex slept at the double-wide, he was the first one up in the morning and took it upon himself to drive to Windham and return with boxes of pastries — crumb-topped muffins, sugar-crusted croissants, sweetly spiced cinnamon buns, and turnovers made with the lightest, crispy-edged dough. Apparently, Alex has a sixth sense for delicious things because I'd been to Windham plenty of times, but I'd never driven behind the diner on Route 23 to discover La Patisserie Normande.
We recently traveled there during the sleepy, sleety late spring, after ski season and before the summertime rush. French pastry chef and owner Antoine Vasse took a break from the wedding cake he was working on and recommended taking home an almond cake with fig filling. It was so ridiculously good. So fragrant and almondy, so rich with the jammy sweetness of its fig filling. This cake is the perfect foil to a cup of coffee or tea, and I've been craving it ever since. Seriously, if you're in the area, you need to try the almond cake, which you'll find in the pastry case with a variety of fillings.
Now that we know where to find it, we can't wait to return to La Pastisserie Normande in the busier summer season for fresh baguettes and their beautiful fruit tarts on brioche crust.
Though the treats here are authentically French, the space has a ski lodge vibe and the wedding cakes—like this one, a traditional tiered design with budding branches popping out from its frosting—are ready for woodsy Catskill Mountain soiree.
The wood-paneled seating area offers free WiFi and some horse murals, which Ramona especially appreciated.
And here's an oversized teacup, which Ramona found hilarious.
Also provided: Some useful advice for those who need an excuse for eating cake. (But once you have a bite of Antoine's confections, you'll never need an excuse to go back for more.) Stay safe. Eat cake.