Pumpkin tarts and spicy chocolate mousse … clam chowder and crusty baguette … where does New England meet a French pâtissière?
In Stockbridge, Claire Raposo runs the Lost Lamb bakery and cafe at 31 Main St. A native of Chatham, N.Y., she left the Berkshires after high school (at the Berkshire Country Day School) for two years at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. And at 19, she came home to open a bakery.
She opened the Lost Lamb just a few months before the pandemic changed the landscape, and in the past year she has navigated a year of changing restrictions and shutdowns, and grown a local following.
On a winter afternoon, neighbors will walk down to put in an order a bouche de noel — a rich cake rolled around chocolate creme in the shape of a Yule log — or just to get a cup of hot chocolate. They’ll clear snow off the outdoor tables, or walk up Main Street cupping a hot drink in their hands.
She offers pastries she learned along the Seine, a few hundred feet from the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou. At the Cordon Bleu, Raposo studied at the center of the largest network of culinary schools in the world.
She has always loved baking, she said, and she has already developed a background in local food. Growing up just over the line in New York, she had her own farm stand at the Chatham Farmers Market.
She decided to take time before college to study abroad, she said. In Paris, she learned pastry, croissants, cakes, several kinds of chocolate mousse … She serves tarts with whipped cream, cakes and macarons with fresh coffee. On the savory side, she makes quiches and focaccia bread and sandwiches to go.
“I’ve worked in a cheese shop,” she says, “and I’ve made hundreds of grilled cheeses in my life.”
The cheese she serves now is local. She sources ingredients nearby whenever she can, she said — dairy from local farms, fruit from a farm stand down the road.
She enjoys playing with seasonal ingredients, even in the cold. In the fall her rich tart crusts become pumpkin pies.
“France doesn’t have pumpkins, so it’s a fusion,” she said.
You may find fall vegetables in her savories and salads, and apple tarts or spiced chocolate. After a snowstorm she may fill them with mint and cream.
You can get one to go with an espresso or café au lait. You’ll have to stop by to order — she runs a tight ship. You can check out her daily menu ahead of time, and the coffee is locally roasted too.
An excerpt from this story first ran as a sidebar in Berkshire Magazine in fall 2019. My thanks to Anastasia Stanmeyer.