It being Valentine’s Day, I paid a visit this morning to our local baker /confectioner / prepared food purveyor.  Sucré Salé, located in Manotick’s east in a small strip mall off the Rideau River  has been in business for about a decade and although I’ve always been very impressed when ever I shop there, I did wonder how they would survive in this rural wilderness far from the centre of the action in downtown Ottawa.  However, survive they have, and indeed they have thrived.

I had intended to pick up a small box of their gorgeous truffles, which come in an eclectic choice of both flavours (fruits, spices) and decorative styles (beautifully stenciled in gold, blue and other surprising shades); your selection is charmingly packaged in their branded boxes with a tiny ribbon – a great giveaway I used at a Christmas party one year.   But when I entered today it was the beautiful selections of desserts that drew me, although I admit to being distracted by the cookie shelves as my order was packaged.

The store is run by a couple, Rémy and Michelle, whose love for food is apparent.  Classically trained, he in France, they offer a beautiful selection of breads which are invariably sold out unless you arrive before mid-morning.  Early on, they expanded to add a choice of  prepared meats like sausages, terrines and speck, often made with venison or other game.  They’ve since included a choice of cheeses that vary from season to season.  And of course, the chocolates and desserts round out the picture.  In the intervening years, they’ve added more packaged goods, like biscotti and other cookies, as well as chocolate confections, including the package of chocolate-covered fruit nougat drops I picked up for my run club teammates who are meeting this Valentine’s Day evening (yes, that’s dedication).

One pleasant addition in the recent past is a selection of ready-to-serve main which include a starch and vegetable, leaving you with nothing to do but heat.  In addition, they’ve got into catering in a big way, and offer a beautiful selection of canapés, mains and of course desserts for all occasions.

At today’s visit, Rémy was manning the store, cheerfully serving a young woman with a baby who much like me, was picking up treats for this evening.   That gave me time to peruse the well-stocked dessert counter, which was stuffed with beautifully presented individually-sized treats.  I considered the Black Forest mousse cake before moving on to more solidly chocolate options, a truffle mousse cake and a triple chocolate mousse cake.  Both were tiny round cylinders with layers of mousse stacked on a cake base, and then glazed with chocolate on the top.  A small chocolate heart graced the top of each at a cocky angle.  As Rémy boxed them up, I slipped a glazed heart-shaped cookie into my order as an impulse buy to enjoy at lunch.

Sucré Salé is another one of the hidden gems in Manotick.