On a winter morning, I met a friend for hot chocolate, and we sipped it outside while we walked up the Main Street. It came as rich, hot cocoa with steamed milk, and while we waited, we eyed croissants on the counter and chocolate tortes with mint whipped cream. Claire Raposo came home to the Berkshires to open the Lost Lamb — but she learned her patisserie in Paris.

She grew up in the Berkshires, and she was 19 when she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. She opened her shop not long before the pandemic hit, and she has adapted and grown a faithful following for her soups and sandwiches, cookies and muffins and pastries.

I’ve gone out of my way for a breakfast sandwich of sausage and cheese on brioche, and taken it across the street to the garden outside the library for an impromptu picnic with iced coffee. (I kept mine simple, but she has espresso and capuccino and latttes, and coffee with flavor shots or whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, cocoa or house-made salted caramel …)

For the holidays, she’ll offer larger and more lavish treats — a Black Forest Cake layered with dark cherries and mascarpone chantilly cream, or a flourless almond tort — or, to strike the grandest note, a Hazelnut Chocolate Bûche de Noël, a Yule Log chocolate cake rolled around dark chocolate mousse and frosted with ganache, with marzapan and decorations like tiny meringue mushrooms.

BTW Berkshires