Paris patisserie specialises in canine delicacies

PARIS (AFP) - Does our little four-legged friend Fido have a hankering for a foie gras cookie? Or maybe a biscuit in the shape of a heart, a flower or the more classic bone, confected with tropical fruit or carob?

These and other canine delicacies -- without sugar or salt, of course -- are on the menu in France's first and only patisserie for pooches, "Mon Bon Chien" ("My Good Dog").

Recently opened in the heart of Paris by American Hariet Sternstein, Mon Bon Chien also takes special orders for birthday cakes with Fifi's name inscribed in frosting. A selection of gifts imported from the United States, and his-and-her perfumes made in southern France, are also guaranteed to provoke yips of contentment.

And for that impromptu gift, why not a little sachet of small, medium or large biscuits tied up in a red ribbon?

"There's no stopping progress, and of course it would be an American," quipped one elegant retiree passing by with a dog that was clearly never going to set foot in the store or taste its doggie delights.

A college student who had brought her shaggy companion for a grooming session -- the stores other activity -- was a bit skeptical about the whole idea. "It original, but the biscuits are a bit expensive. I suppose they are good for a gift," she said.

Depending on the size, Mon Bon Chien's artisanal biscuits sell for 50 euro cents (0.60 dollars) to two-and-half euros (3 dollars) each, with cakes going for ten euros (1.2 dollars).

"I wonder if it will work in France," a purchasing director from a neighboring store wondered. "I went to have a look and frankly I find the whole thing ridiculous."

"Besides, the cookies are not really good for him," she added, nodding toward a listless, droopy-eyed basset hound on the floor next to her.

Sternstein, 44, treated major trauma patients in a Seattle, Washington hospital as a psychologist for 18 years before quitting and becoming a baker. After September 11, 2001, she decided to moved to Paris, which she had long adored, and stumbled upon this idea to make ends meet.

"I don't understand why this did not already exist in France, a country which loves dogs. In the US, there are lots of dog bakeries -- the first one opened in 1989. There are even restaurants for dogs," she said.

Drawing inspiration from a dozen American cookbooks for dogs, Sternstein makes her own biscuits and cakes every day from scratch. She offers samples to two-legged visitors too, explaining that she uses exactly the same ingredients when cooking for herself. "My favorite is the carob flavored ones," she said.

Since opening this summer, she has built up a clientele of American expatriates and folks from the neighborhood. She has even had -- and refused -- two offers to franchise the store.

No comments: