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Self-medicating with baked goods 

After a week spent worrying about the economy and the election, I've decided to self-medicate with baked goods. If you've polished off your Halloween candy and would like to join me on this sugar tour, read on:

C'est si bon (1002 Brace Lane, Chapel Hill, 942-6550, www.cestsibon.net), Dorette Snover's cooking school, is offering a "Chocolat: Savory and Sweet" class from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 7. Snover's classes emphasize technique rather than recipes, to give students confidence in their own kitchens.

She had me at "chocolat," but if you need more info, the menu includes langoustine with chocolate and chiles; roasted hens with orange and bittersweet demi-glacé; and twice-poached plums in red wine with chocolate. Cost is $75 per person, and reservations are required.

And you can bet your tarte tatin that I will be loitering at La Farm Bakery (4248 Cary Parkway, 657-0657, www.lafarmbakery.com) come January. That's when owners Lionel and Missy Vatinet plan to open a cafe at their bakery and retail store. The expansion will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, all featuring Master Baker Lionel's creations: tartines (toasted and melted open-faced sandwiches) and pastries in the morning, then soups, salads, cheese and charcuteries plates, more tartines, and French fare such as eggs Benedict. Oh, and French wine too.

Lionel Vatinet says he is delighted to bring a slice of his French life to North Carolina. "I've always looked forward to the day when La Farm Bakery could offer a full menu and be a gathering place for our customers at all hours of the day, just as a boulangerie is for every Frenchman."

click to enlarge Larry's Famous marble and chocolate cheesecakes: So happy together - PHOTO COURTESY OF LARRY'S FAMOUS CHEESECAKE
  • Photo courtesy of Larry's Famous Cheesecake
  • Larry's Famous marble and chocolate cheesecakes: So happy together

Before January, though, I can seek out the yummy wares of local bakers who don't have storefronts, like Larry Webster, proprietor of Larry's Famous Cheesecake (533-6277, www.larrysfamous.com) in Pittsboro. Webster has been cooking and baking since he was a 12-year-old Boy Scout in Massachusetts. His home-based business, open for two years now, produces New York-style cheesecakes in several flavors, as well as sheet cakes, biscotti, pastries and even granola. Larry and his wife and business partner, Karen, made a few appearances this summer at area farmers' markets, but their dream is to open a bakery in Pittsboro. Plans are under way, but until then, contact them via phone or e-mail cheesecake@larrysfamous.com.

Durham baker Rhonda L. Jones makes nine kinds of rum cakes. (It is so hard for me not to put nine exclamation points on that sentence.) Like Larry, she began baking as a youngster—making her dad pineapple upside-down cakes with her Easy-Bake Oven. Now she has a business, Chez Moi Bakery (824-2610, www.chezmoi-bakery.com), turning out classic layer cakes, cheesecakes and rum cakes. Contact her via phone or e-mail rhonda@chezmoi-bakery.com.

And finally, here's some sweet news: A new French brasserie is open in Raleigh. Coquette (4351 The Circle at North Hills, Raleigh, 789-0606, www.coquetteraleigh.com) is the latest offering from Kevin and Stacey Jennings' Urban Food Group, which also includes Frazier's, Porter's City Tavern and Vivace. Coquette replaces South, which closed in the same location earlier this year.

Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at food@indyweek.com.

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