Champagne & Patisserie
An interview with Cheryl Wakerhauser of Portland’s Pix Patisserie
by Elaine Chukan Brown
Walk into Cheryl Wakerhauser’s red damask–walled Portland patisserie, and the first thing you’ll notice are the empty Champagne bottles surrounding counters filled with multicolored macarons, chocolates and fancy desserts. “Bubbles excite me,” Wakerhauser, owner and head chef of Pix Patisserie, tells me. “There are so many different styles—big and weighty, or bright and fresh, perfect for a summer patio.”
Wakerhauser began stocking Champagne to go with her pastries at Pix five years ago. Today she’s up to 400 selections, plus 100 other sparkling wines. Contrary to popular opinion, dry wines do just fine with dessert, she finds—when they are Champagne.
Cheryl Wakerhauser, image from Pix Patisserie website
The Champagne Connection
Champagne wasn’t in the plans when Wakerhauser started Pix in 2001. The restaurant began as a stand in the Portland Farmers’ Market, something to keep her busy after she lost her catering job in the post-9/11 economy. Within a year, Wakerhauser was doing well enough to open a fixed location, offering Belgian beer pairings to go with her French desserts.
“Belgian beers go great with pastries,” she explains. “I grew up in Wisconsin. Out there we drink beer. When I moved to Portland I didn’t know anything about wine.”
While out for a birthday her attention shifted. “Because we were celebrating, I ordered a split of Gaston Chiquet and a dozen oysters for the table. It was so delicious, we had a second round of both,” she says.
To read more, check out the rest of the article (including recipe, pairing tips, and video) at Wine & Spirits Magazine here: http://wineandspiritsmagazine.com/news/entry/champagne-patisserie
This article first appeared in W&S, December 2014.