Petite Soeur: Georgetown’s New Luxurious and Affordable Chocolate Boutique
By October 25, 2021 0 606•
Pâtissier Ashleigh Pearson’s stylish Wisconsin Avenue boutique, Petite Soeur – set to open Oct. 26 – lures passersby with her handcrafted chocolate displays. Pearson honed her chocolate-making techniques at Thomas Keller’s famed Per Se in New York City, where she crafted an entire chocolate course of eight to 12 different bites each day. Her pastry skills reflect training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and her work at D.C.’s Marcel’s.
Intricately painted bonbons in flavors like hazelnut, passionfruit, caramel and a clever play on s’mores, plus classic French butter cookies called sables, fudge, caramels and chocolate bars (some are gold-flecked) are beautifully arranged in the display case. The confections can be assembled in elegant gift packaging – or adorably boxed individually, for a take-home solo treat. She imagines that savoring such a personal, “affordable luxury” would foster a “quiet, intentional moment” in the day.
Pearson’s delight in personal-sized, sweet treats dates back to her Washington/Baltimore area childhood when she would go to church with her aunt, who always had individually wrapped candies in her purse. Indeed, her family history is at the core of her business. Its name – “little sister” in French – references a nickname coined by supportive siblings.
The flavors that fill the hard-to-craft, thin dark chocolate bonbon shells often reflect her family and personal history. Her maple black walnut bourbon filling harks back to a family favorite “Grandfather cake.” Using almond butter, instead of peanut butter, was a work-around for a wedding cake at Marcel’s. Her s’more confection, a childhood nod, is a tour de force – involving house-baked graham crackers punched up with honey and cinnamon as well as marshmallow crafted with vanilla beans.
The artistry displayed in the hand painted confections – only natural, edible colors are used – often shows up on Instagram. Indeed, she says it is her “biggest marketing tool.” Now, the business she developed at pop-ups and through online marketing has a distinctive modern black, white and polished marble home. A welcome table shows off featured items with seasonal flavors. As Pearson intends, “All eyes go to the chocolates.”
The website for Petite Soeur, at 1332 Wisconsin Ave. NW., can be found here.