Run by husband and wife team, Maurice and Nanette Chaplais, this foodie hub is the go-to place for small treats, big treats (they do amazing hampers), cheese, fresh bread and pastries. Maurice has selected the very best goods to fill the shelves, not everything is local, but it is mighty fine.
It is thanks to some spare space upstairs, they’ve been able to put in some tables and chairs for those who fancy taking the weight off their feet. But don’t worry if you’ve only got time for a flying visit, as most of their food (and drinks) can be made to-go, so you needn’t miss out.
The bread, the fillings, the pastries, the pork pies, the sausage rolls, the pesto, the soup, the cake, the sweet treats - absolutely everything here is homemade. You see, Maurice travels the world as an artisan bakery consultant, so he certainly knows his stuff and the proof really is in the pudding.
We popped in at lunch time, and as soon as Kingsley saw they do a homemade burger, he set his heart on that. I called him a greedy pig and then chose the equally large and fully-loaded coronation chicken and mango chutney baguette. They have a huge range of sarnies and baguettes, all freshly made to order.
We took a seat and as our plates were put down in front of us, they received top marks for portion size. The burger was tucked inside one of Maurice’s homemade baps (which are simply stunning) along with all the trimmings: bacon, cheese, pickles, lettuce, onions, tomato, mayo and ketchup. And my baguette was absolutely brimming full with delicious (and homemade of course) coronation chicken and salad.
We had an extremely highbrow conversation with Maurice about burgers and the fact that if they are messy to eat, then that usually means they are tasty. Don’t you just hate it when someone takes a knife and fork to a burger?! Hold it tight, get stuck in, get your chops round it and get messy – hands and face! Between us both, we used every napkin in sight, so if indeed our theory is correct, well then Maison Chaplais scores very highly yet again.
We had already spied some amazing individual key lime pies, so we knew coffee and a cake to round off lunch was on the cards. We went downstairs for another gander and chose a Sticky Bun (very aptly named) to go with the key lime pie, a cappuccino and a white hot chocolate. I have a thing for white hot chocolate at the moment, along with mint tea and a craving for a glass of white wine (which I cannot satisfy right now due to growing a baby).
The sticky bun is basically a rich brioche rolled with a cinnamon and butterscotch filling and topped with toasted pecans. I took a forkful and immediately shut my eyes to enjoy the moment. Kingsley asked me a question, but I just ignored him so I could continue in my own little heavenly world for a few more seconds. I told him afterwards that if my eyes are closed at the same time as eating something, it is not a good time to speak to me!
We both alternated between the rich and gooey sticky bun and the key lime pie for something ‘a little lighter’. Anything is light compared to one of those buns, believe you me! But onto the pies, well everything from the pastry case, to the lime mousse to the delicately soft meringue peaks was just perfect.
I don’t know if Maison Chaplais is well known or not or whether it’s a well-kept secret of the locals, but let me tell you, this place is most definitely worth a walk, a car-ride or a bus journey to. If you’re popping in for fresh bread, morning pastries and a fresh orange juice or to sit in and enjoy a breakfast bap or lunch, this place is bound to make your tummy smile. Just be sure to arrive hungry and have plenty of napkins to hand to enjoy the food in the manner in which it was meant.
Now please, don’t tell me you eat your burger with a knife and fork?!