Every now and then one discovers a brighter star in the milky galaxy of sparkle and glitter on the main tourist drag of a vacation destination.  Like meteor showers, so many businesses flash and burn bright only to crash and fade away.  For weeks, we unknowingly skirted around the Peche Mignon hidden behind its wooden slats as we went to the Public Market across the street.  After several residents spoke well of it, and we heard about the new 950vt Lunch Specials menu, we ventured behind those wood slats.  The bustle of the street disappeared and a sidewalk café/patisserie/confectionary was revealed.  It was equally busy with local business folks enjoying the Plat de Jour and chubby tourists devouring the most luscious sweets.

 Cote de Veau Normande was tres delicious.  Only the French could make sauces a culinary art form!  Normande sauce was creamy, rich, and thick with mushrooms.  The fresh zucchini, and potatoes rissole were flavorful in their own right.  The only caveat: if, like Luc, you prefer meat thoroughly cooked, you have to emphasize it on ordering. To zee French, “a steak zat’s done well, Mousier, eez ne-VER well done!”  Americans and Auzzies, ask your meat one stage more cooked than you usually do.  

          This is the House of 10,000 Happinesses for ice cream and pastry addicts. Sundaes (500-650vt) are stunning masterpieces.  Garnished with, chantilly cream, and lacy house confections, this is NOT your whipped air and ersatz flavoring. All are densely creamy, rich and intensely flavored …ecstasy! The dazzling pastry display could be right out of a Swiss bakery, but are created by ni-Vanuatu staff who have been mentored and encouraged to learn the trade and even to invent and include their ideas, in the Peche Mignon’s extensive line of offerings.  Romuald Ledoux, owner and chocolatier, invited us to see the making of pralines, a complex and exacting process which he is teaching to some of his staff., who surprisingly didn’t weigh a 1000 pounds.

              Romuald is proud of his staff and cultivates and rewards those with the desire to learn. He has a strong sense of community and often offers support or even organizes events, such as the Waiters Race, where competitors race with a tray full of glasses. Romuald is a longtime innovator – from making chocolate delights right up from the cocoa beans of Vanuatu, to the workday Lunch de Jour specials that change each day (without a repeat for weeks!), and now, the newest offering: personalized catering service.  They will do it all, large or small, public convention to intimate private dinner aboard your luxury yacht, any idea is open to discussion.  With their reputation and peche, as the French say, they are sure to carry it off with flair.

 See Romuald if you are interested in viewing chocolates being made certain afternoons, or call to set up catering for your next big affair. Phone: 27271. 

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