Authentic French Bakery & Restaurant Near Orlando

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Sweet Traditions

Sweet Traditions

By now, regular readers of my blog have come to understand that Number One Daughter attends the most unique, fantastic and fabulous Montessori School in Celebration, FL.

Indeed, many of my favorite posts come from unexpected experiences related to the school.  Today is no exception.  Her middle school is doing an internship with an animation and special effects company called Nth Degree Design and Visual FX in Winter Gardens, FL.  On Wednesday, Mrs. LanceAround, Number One Son and I drove her class on the half hour trip to Winter Garden for the internship.  Since the students were going to be there for four hours, we had every intention of driving to a wonderful British Tea Room in Mt. Dora.

But we never expected to be enticed by the city of Winter Garden.

Feeling as though we had somehow been transported into a downtown scene from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  We drove around the town, enthralled by a town clock, gazebo and fountain in the wide median strip down the main street in town.  We saw an old fire truck, two caboose trains turned into an attraction, a welcome center, a museum and a bicycle shop just opening for business by putting out an antique bike where the front wheel is about five feet in diameter and the rear wheel only about one foot–A common prop you have undoubtedly seen in some old time movie.

And we discovered Sweet Traditions Bakery and Cafe, a French bakery and restaurant.

Located right in the middle of this quaint town, we found out that the wide sidewalk that meanders around the gazebo and fountain, then underneath the town clock archway is the West Orange Trail–A “rails to trails” bike path that currently connects the towns of Apopka and Clermont through Winter Garden.  It will be subject of a separate blog post.  Over 50,000 people per month ride this trail.

This helped to explain the enormous bakery display case containing hundreds of freshly baked french pastries and other desserts inside Sweet Traditions.

Mrs. LanceAround ordered a mushroom and cheese omelet, I ordered a spinach, egg and cheese croissant and Number One Son ordered the Chevre Chaude–A toasted baguette with goat cheese served on a bed of fresh greens and tomatoes.  For an appetizer, we shared a baked brie salad.  Everything was scrumptious.

We enjoyed it so much, that after the student’s internship was finished, we brought them back to the restaurant for dessert.  We all had tastes of ice cream, sherbet, a Napoleon, strawberry cheesecake, dark chocolate and pistachio truffle and, best of all, an authentic french strawberry crepe.  Delicious!

We chatted with Stephane and Christine Crocher, who founded the restaurant in April of 2008.  He was raised in Paris and she grew up near Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.  They ran a bakery in Wellesley, MA for four years before moving to France and opening a bakery near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Christine, who says her staff refers to her as “Anal Annie,” found life in Paris difficult.  She loved the country, but found the lack of personal space and the gruffness of the French people very intimidating.  After five years, she convinced her husband to move back to the USA.

At first, they were going to open a shop in Cary, NC.  But the demographics that looked perfect on paper did not feel right in person.  So they came to Orlando and within a few hours of experiencing Winter Garden knew they had the perfect location for their French Bakery and Cafe.

It’s a wonderful restaurant, definitely off the beaten path and just waiting to be discovered by the well informed traveler looking for “more than a mouse!”™

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