Pain au Chocolat: Modena's "Dessert Speakeasy" With The Finest French Delights

Chiara Marando
copertina pain au chocolat

Just outside the city center, hidden in a residential street, for just over a year, "Pain au Chocolat" has brought authentic French pastry to Modena. A craft workshop, it represents a kind of speakeasy for the pastry arts, where you choose what to order online and pick it up on-site. The rest is irresistible goodness.

The story and the concept

It all starts with the buttery and indulgent fragrance of a classic pain au chocolat. From within this chest of traditional French pastries, which, along with the croissant, represents the most popular baked sweetness for breakfast in France. But also for a snack and a treat, to be honest. Puff pastry leavened and rolled around two bars of delicious dark chocolate, worked with the right time, technique, precision, and, needless to say, high-quality ingredients.

pain au chocolat modena dolci 7

These are the elements that Charlotte Brazi, pastry chef, translates into values, daily work, and passion to share and savor. From France, where she studied and embarked on her professional journey in the world of restaurants and pastry, she came to Italy thinking of making it a stopover before moving on. But the truth is that she never left Italy; instead, she built her future and family here. Thanks to her significant experience at Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana, which also led her to meet Fabio Galletta, now her life partner.

pain au chocolat modena dolci 2

Together, for just over a year, they brought to life the dream that, for Charlotte, represents a creative world. All starting from a big challenge: bringing authentic French pastry to Modena. And thus, Pain au Chocolat was born. "The idea came during the lockdown period when, staying at home, we had the opportunity to think more deeply about this project, to try and retry recipes to perfect them," explains Fabio.

pain au chocolat modena dolci 11

And that idea took shape and flavor, in a way that was unexpected and courageous compared to the usual public space. Pain au Chocolat can be considered a pastry speakeasy: a workshop without a storefront and without the usual counter displaying an array of delights. The choice was to opt for an online pastry shop where customers can order from their own homes, choosing from the website among the various types of delights to be picked up on-site. Large quantities are not necessary; even just one or two pastries for breakfast. And yes, if you're lucky and arrive early, you might find a few extra croissants on the tray just out of the oven. But given the enjoyment with every bite, it's better not to risk going without.

pain au chocolat modena dolci 4

This approach can be defined as a model of sustainable production, where daily production is regulated by demand, making it possible to avoid unnecessary waste. Wasting even just one croissant or pain au chocolat would be a real shame. So, what can be said? Modena's response was immediate and more than positive.

pain au chocolat modena dolci 10

Charlotte prepares all the products, and her workday starts at 2 in the morning. From that moment until opening and closing time, from 7:30am to 1pm, Charlotte kneads, bakes, and takes everything out of the oven. All by herself, according to the reservations received. Welcoming customers is an enveloping and inviting aroma that reaches the street. It's hard not to be drawn in and charmed.

charlotte brazi pain au chocolat modena 6

"I like arriving in the lab when it’s quiet, taking the time to work and express my passion for pastry. I don't feel tired; it's what I love and a way to bring the flavors of Paris here. - Charlotte says with a satisfied smile - The search for taste and aesthetics is essential to achieve a perfect balance between flavor, finesse, and indulgence."

pain au chocolat modena dolci 1

French Artisanal Sweetness: The Products

At Pain au Chocolat, the choice is to offer a completely artisanal production that is divided into breakfast bakery items with various types of viennoiserie, including pain au chocolat, caramel flower, croissant, and pain aux raisins, also in a Modenese version with sour cherries; cakes and exclusively French mignardises, such as Saint-Honoré, Paris-Brest, Opéra, Tropézienne, Flan Choux, Éclairs, and Macarons.

pain au chocolat modena dolci 3 1
pain au chocolat modena dolci 6

In summary, all expressions of the long-standing French pastry tradition, which, for Charlotte, gain even more meaning when shared and transmitted by combining past and modernity. And then there's a lot of constant emphasis on high quality.

pain au chocolat modena dolci 8

"There cannot be good products without good ingredients. - Fabio and Charlotte emphasize - For this reason, 'Pain au Chocolat' requires a careful selection of raw materials, sourced locally, favoring those from organic farming and seeking direct purchase from the producer. Butter and cream, however, are imported directly from France. Great attention is also given to proposing ingredients and products that respect seasonality."

pain au chocolat modena dolci 3

And looking to the future? "We started like this, a bit quietly and cautiously, because it was a completely new project in a city like Modena and because I work alone in the workshop - clarifies Charlotte - but I don't deny that the idea is to be able to indulge the beautiful habit of sitting at a table, savoring an espresso or cappuccino with something sweet, and perhaps manage to expand our 'Parisian' flavor by opening a 'Café'."

pain au chocolat modena dolci 9


Pain Au Chocolat

Via Casoli 50, 41123 Modena

Phone:  339 468 5503


Latest news

show all

We respect your Privacy.
We use cookies to ensure you an accurate experience and in line with your preferences.
With your consent, we use technical and third-party cookies that allow us to process some data, such as which pages are visited on our website.
To find out more about how we use this data, read the full disclosure.
By clicking the ‘Accept’ button, you consent to the use of cookies, or configure the different types.

Configure cookies Reject