PHOTOGRAPH BY ?KATIE NOBLE
With techniques that have been passed down through his family since World War II, pastry chef Dimitri Vallier runs the family affair on Essex Street that makes all of us feel French, even if for just a moment. Perfect macarons in soft pastel colors with crispy outsides and soft middles are the mainstay in popular salted caramel and seasonal lavender, but the chef has whims and likes to indulge requests. The Royal au Chocolat is a delectable work of art, while the sweet and salty almond croissants can cause a Saturday morning frenzy. Playful, with twists on tradition, the patisserie caters weddings and parties, while also offering gift boxes and hasty nibbles.
281 Essex St., Salem, 978-594-0244, caramelpatisserie.com
A&J King, Artisan Bakers
For a decade, Salemites have been armed with baguettes from A&J King, Artisan Bakers, while crisscrossing Salem’s busy streets. Jackie and Andy King came down from Portland, Maine, to change the standard of bread on the North Shore. From a handcrafted wheel of fougasse to seasonal fruit tarts, corncakes, and scones, the bakery is known for bread that takes time, effort, and patience to make and lasts only two days in your kitchen before it’s time to go get more. Their delicious breads and pastries can also be found at farms and markets across the North Shore.
48 Central St., Salem, 978-744-4881, ajkingbakery.com