Meet the Producer: Belle Epicurean perfects French

Category: Eat + Drink Articles


There are few things Carolyn Ferguson loves more than rolling croissants—a pastime the French-trained chef calls her “biggest stress relief.” She gets plenty of opportunity as the co-owner of Belle Epicurean (Downtown, 1206 Fourth Ave.; 206.262.9404), a French patisserie she runs with her husband, Howard (and named in part for their daughter, Isabelle). The couple—both graduates of France’s esteemed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school—ran a French bistro in New Orleans before migrating to Ferguson’s native Seattle in 2002 and debuting their luscious pastries at local farmers’ markets in 2003. After gaining a following, in 2005 they launched the Belle Epicurean storefront.

Belle’s wildly popular buns and croissants can be found (and quickly gobbled up) year ‘round at the University District (Sat., 9 a.m.–2 p.m.) and West Seattle (Sun., 10 a.m.–2 p.m.) farmers’ markets, and beginning in May at the Broadway market (Sun., 11 a.m.–3 p.m.). Favorites include the all-natural croissant pur beurre ($2.79), a full-flavored, all-butter croissant, as well as other flavored croissants (from caramel apple to spicy corn to zucchini parmesan basil), Belle’s Bun of the Month (in March, a bun with a vanilla bean and Darjeeling-tea-infused filling topped with caramel for $3.79) and seasonal crème brûlées (such as rosewater-infused crème laced with fresh rose petals, $5.79).

If you can’t get to the farmers’ market, head downtown: The elegant shop at the Fairmont boasts a marble floor and tabletops, and a gorgeously golden antique espresso machine. Plus, you’ll find savory soups, sandwiches and decadent desserts, all made daily.