Epicurean Charlotte

Food & Wine Magazine


Sweeten Up Your Valentine’s Day with Amélie’s French Bakery & Café on Park Road

by Bryan Richards
images courtesy Amélie’s French Bakery & Café

Whether you’re honoring a long-time relationship, a new fling, or your child’s classmates, the pressure of finding a creative and unique way to celebrate Cupid’s favorite day often results in one crafted more from stress than love. Sadly, that’s why many of us write Valentine’s Day off as a pointless Hallmark holiday. Who needs another red teddy bear or heart-shaped locket anyway?

Amélie’s French Bakery & Café to the rescue! The Queen City’s favorite French-inspired café can help you plan the perfect Valentine’s Day with their newest location in the Park Road Shopping Center. Not only can you indulge that special someone in your life with Amélie’s scratch-made French pastries, but the Park Road Shopping Center location also offers French wines, seasonal mimosas, and local craft beer alongside the pastries and café drinks Charlotteans have come to know and love.

“People work here because they get to create and make,” says Sarah Britton, Director of Operations at Amélie’s. “We look forward to holidays and special occasions because we get to be a part of our customers’ lives.”

Plan a night out with the special someone in your life

One of the Park Road Amélie’s most unique attributes is its proximity to all the other fixin’s needed to plan a special date night. Prefer to snuggle up in a movie theatre with your beau? Stop into Amélie’s for a pick-me-up like their spiced maple café crème—the French version of the latte—beforehand and then head on over to the Manor Theater for the latest flick.

Consider yourself a foodie? Plan a progressive dinner with stops at Rock Salt for oysters (nature’s aphrodisiac… wink, wink), DotDotDot for appetizers and cocktails, and CO for an intimate yet exotic dinner, all followed by dessert and a glass of French wine at Amélie’s. The rich chocolate peanut butter petit four washed down with the berry, vanilla, and floral notes of the Bordeaux Rouge from Château de Fontenille make the perfect end to an evening.

If your relationship has advanced to the next level fellas, pop into Brownlee Jewelers and let her shop for the engagement ring she’s been dreaming about. Amélie’s ups the ante on that proposal with a custom made “Will you marry me” Éclair. Not only will her heart melt, but the buttery, creamy dessert will melt in your mouth.

Not ready for a romantic night out, yet? Enjoy a casual Valentine’s date night at Amélie’s

As if the stress of Valentine’s Day just being Valentine’s Day isn’t enough, add to it the complexity of a new relationship. Are we ready for an intimate night out at The Cellar at Duckworth’s? Or is the high price tag of a fancy dinner coupled with awkward moments of candle-lit silence too soon? Amélie’s in the Park Road Shopping Center allows the perfect setting to test the waters of your new relationship.

Skip the tomahawk bone-in ribeye and enjoy a casual, yet still delicious, dinner of seasonal soups, salads, and sandwiches like the wild mushroom duxelles tartine (the French version of an open-faced sandwich). Wash it down with a playful orange and clove mimosa or a Hop, Drop ‘n Roll IPA from NoDa Brewing. If the conversation seems to be moving in the right direction, keep it going with a hazelnut praline café crème and a petite dessert trio, which comes with a fresh fruit tart, a two-tiered macaron, and a mini cream puff.

When you do reach those unavoidable lulls in conversation, talk about the café’s eclectic décor, which Brenda Ische, designer, brand manager, and co-founder of Amélie’s, describes as Marie Antoinette meets Alice and Wonderland. The Mona Lisa wearing sunglasses is my personal favorite.

Enjoy a special date night at home with Amélie’s

Maybe you’re like my wife and I and prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a quiet night at home by either ordering in your favorite takeout or preparing an elaborate dinner. I prefer the latter, often whipping up my eggplant parmesan recipe, which takes me all afternoon to cook. I tend to fall short when it comes to dessert though. I may know my way around the kitchen, but when it comes to anything with sugar, forget it.

Amélie’s is to the rescue with sweet treats like the previously mentioned Éclair Your Love. Customize them with a personal message (requires a 48-hour advanced order). Another customer favorite is the sexy chocolate covered strawberries. With a choice between dark, milk, and white chocolate, there’s something for all chocolate lovers. Last year they sold almost 3,000 of the romantic treat.

Bring home treats for the whole gang.

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day isn’t just limited to the special someone in our lives. Many of us like to bring sweets to the office for our colleagues to enjoy, treat our important clients, or put a smile on the face of our child’s classmates. Britton recommends picking up a dozen or so of Amélie’s pâte sucrée Valentine’s Day cookies—the French version of a sugar cookie. “They’re really buttery when you bite into them but still sturdy enough to support the royal icing that delivers that Valentine’s Day touch,” she says.

Another option is Amélie’s famous French macarons. Raspberry, mixed berry, or a seasonal cranberry pistachio offers that finishing Valentine’s Day touch.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be that difficult after all. With the help of Amélie’s, make this Valentine’s Day your best one yet.