Carolyn Ferguson just started selling her remarkable brioche-based pastries at the Columbia City Farmer’s Market this summer. Her Belle Epicurean pastries are among the most remarkable I’ve ever tasted. My favorite is the chocolate walnut bun. Besides its rich butter crust she douses it in chocolate sauce and adds chocolate chips inside. It just melts in your mouth into smooth bliss of butter and chocolate.
Carolyn also makes yummy treats like a brioche filled with ham and cheese. This is not your typical American ham and cheese sandwich. We’re talking wonderfully flavorful ham and a lovely melted cheese (probably Swiss or Gruyere). It’s great as lunch or a major snack. She’s stopped selling these at the Farmer’s Market due to fear that the Health Department might not like her serving the ham at room temperature. But she’s replaced this item with an almost as good brioche filled with onions and cheese.
What makes Carolyn and her business so special aside from culinary excellence is that she’s truly personable with her customers. When she first met my 4 year-old son, Jonah at the Market she struck up a conversation with him right away. And it was genuine, not that too cutesy by half way that some adults have of talking to children. That led to us talking about babies (we have 7 month old twins) as she’s expecting one herself. That’s how you win customer loyalty.
I’m disappointed that Columbia City Market couldn’t find a slot for Carolyn for the entire summer. As a result you can find her at the University District Market on Saturdays and the West Seattle Market on Sundays through the rest of the season.
And for anyone working downtown anywhere near the Olympic Hotel, Belle’s Buns will be opening its first retail outlet in the hotel in the fall (probably October or November). Watch her site for more information.