by Celina Colby

Crémeux French Patisserie on Harvard Street in Brookline is the source of all sorts of sweet, buttery scents wafting into Coolidge Corner. Since moving to Brookline in late November 2022, the patisserie has been serving flaky croissants and delicate macarons with a focus on clean ingredients and layered flavor profiles.

The sweet treat haven is co-owned by mother-son duo pastry chefs Alexandre Waddell and Isabelle Waddell. Alex grew up wanting to learn more about his French heritage, which landed him at top-tier culinary schools in Paris. Isabelle grew up in Paris and migrated to Florida and then New Hampshire here in the United States. She worked as both a professional pilot and a nurse practitioner before landing in this new role as a bakery owner.

Crémeux first opened in Merrimack, New Hampshire, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Waddells never expected to expand so quickly, but they discovered a surprising correlation between Merrimack and Brookline, Massachusetts populations.

“There seems to be an overlap between this population and the Merrimack/Amherst, New Hampshire location,” says Isabelle. Visitors to Merrimack would sample the delectable pastries and beg for a way to access them closer to home. In that, you’ll find older generations in those areas. And then the kids or grandkids are actually in Brookline.”

“Over maybe four or five months, all I heard was Brookline, Brookline, Brookline,” says Isabelle. There are actually a lot of similarities between where we are in New Hampshire and this population. A lot of high education levels, high income. We thought, well, if it works up there, maybe it’ll work down here.

And work it has. Chef Alex produces all of the French classics, utilizing many ingredients like butter and flour shipped directly from France for quality purposes. He has made some slight modifications to classic recipes, generally reducing the saccharine sweetness level a bit to bring out the more dynamic flavor balances in each pastry.

The almond croissant is a classic example. Typically almond croissants are made using slightly stale croissants revived with the sweet almond cream inside and a dusting of powdered sugar. Feeling guilty about serving anything day old, Alex reformatted this pastry. The Crémeux almond croissants are rolled with a sweet center and baked like that, providing a highly unusual fresh almond croissant experience.

Crémeux and its expansion have truly been labors of love. While working to hire and train a kitchen staff for the Brookline location, Alex would get up at 1 am to bake, and Isabelle would pick up pastries in Merrimack at 5 am and drive them down to Brookline herself. These processes will become streamlined with a baking staff on-site in Brookline, demonstrating both owners’ commitment to high-quality pastries.

The additional offerings at Crémeux live up to this quality standard as well. They serve coffee and tea meant to compliment the baked goods, sandwiches of the style you might find at a Patisserie in Paris, and chocolates by the exclusive Belgian brand Leonidas.

“We’re able to reach very multilayered combinations of taste using only natural ingredients and balancing those ingredients,” says Isabelle. And that’s our vision.”