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Jan 24, 2017 12:12PM

Carousel of Delights: New French bakery serves up tasty, homemade treats

By Chris Cashion
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Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com
Alison Farrier, owner of Carousel of Delights, 4009 E. 53rd St., Davenport, serves up a tray of mixed berry and multi-fruit tartelettes.
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Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com
Apricot eclairs are among the treats you may find at Carousel of Delights, 4009 E. 53rd St., Davenport.
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Alison Farrier opened the Carousel of Delights pastry shop in Davenport late last year, and she has been focused on delighting her customers ever since.

"It's all about making people make that face… The face of delight," she says.

I briefly wonder what it feels like to make the face she refers to as she runs to the back of the bakery to grab a pastry. She pops one into my hand and explains what it is as I nibble it.

I would have listened more intently, but I ended up devouring it — and making "that face."

Farrier, 24, was born in France and moved to the United States when she was in high school. She always loved baking, and when she began making her chocolate mousse, eclairs and cakes stateside, she says people were in awe.

"They would ask, 'What is this?' They had never tasted things like this before. So many people here are born here and never leave here. They have never experienced the way we bake in France before," she says.

While working in retail, she saw the need for this kind of shop here. She got her degrees in pastry, ice cream, candy making and chocolateering, and when a space became available, at 4009 E. 53rd St., Davenport, she jumped at the chance to open a bakery.

She's been hopping ever since.

Farrier is a ball of energy. Her store is open every day, and she works every one of them. While she hired some weekend help, she handles the majority of the shop's operations. She uses local, organic ingredients, and offers vegan and gluten-free options, too, because she wanted everyone to have options.

She changes her menu daily based on the availability of ingredients and what she feels inspired to create.

The shop opens at 9 a.m. (except on Sundays, when she opens at noon), and stays open until 4 p.m. — or until she sells out, whichever happens first. It's usually the latter of the two.

Farrier says the only thing she would change about her job and work schedule is the amount of sleep it affords her. "I've scheduled a couple of hours for that in May, but we'll see," she says, and laughs. "Sometimes, I'm here at 4 in the morning, and sometimes I'm here until 10 at night. But I'm thankful for what I have."

Farrier says she wanted to be a teacher when she was younger, but life brought her to teach people about French pastries instead. She says she wouldn't have it any other way.

Watching Farrier work is entertaining. Her banter with customers is quick and lighthearted. She tells couples who plan to split a pastry that they must order two, lest they avoid an argument over it later.

She teases about trying her treats each day "for quality control purposes."

A salon owner stops in to order some of her confections for a special event, and Farrier responds with bubbling excitement and a promise to stop by. Her smile is quick, and her wit is even faster. Conversations are punctuated with warmth and her infectious laugh.

"It isn't about selling; it's about getting to know people. Sometimes I've sat on the couch and chatted with my customers. I've exchanged cat pictures with a customer. Sometimes, you just click," she says.

The shop is bathed in bright colors, as though they were meant to match her personality. She's chosen accent pieces with history or stories, and arranged the seating in ways she feels will encourage her patrons to relax and enjoy. She says she likes choosing eclectic pieces, and she displays what makes her happy.

Her ever-changing menu makes her happy, too.

She posts the day's offerings on her Carousel of Delights Facebook page, where you also will see her mix of eclairs, macarons, cupcakes, ganache, madeleines — whatever the day's stroke of inspiration has swayed her to create.

Farrier is not afraid to think outside the box.

"Macarons are temperamental. There are 18 documented ways to screw them up. You're not supposed to put things in the shell, but sometimes, I have. I don't like rules," she says.

"I'll never be a wallflower. I'll always be the loudest person in the room, and so will my cakes."
Chris Cashion is a writer on staff with Radish. For more information about Carousel of Delights, visit facebook.com/CarouselofDelights or carouselofdelights.com.

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