The shop is the brainchild of two sisters, Alejandra Mamud and Cristina Lazzari, from Rosario, Argentina. Mamud and Lazzari fused their traveling experiences with their passion for baking and coffee to share it with the community of Jackson and the surrounding area.
Before opening La Brioche in 2014, both sisters traveled, collecting knowledge and experience from different cultures. Mamud, who is the pastry chef at La Brioche, studied at the French Pastry School in Chicago. She graduated in 2011 and then mastered her skills at various hotels, restaurants and bakeries in the same city.
"My sister always liked sugar and art," Lazzari says. "She thought a bakery is a perfect way to combine both. It's where you can get creative and express yourself while letting other people enjoy it."
"The 'B' stands for 'Brioche,' and it resembles a heart that represents the love for wheat and baking, while the doily is what you put under your mugs, implying the coffee part of it," Lazzari says.
Lazzari works as the general manager at La Brioche. She acquired her love of coffee and pastries from her experiences living in Miami and frequently traveling between Sweden and southern Italy, where her husband Patrik Lazzari lived.
Cristina says that one of the challenges they encountered early on was that many Jacksonians weren't familiar with their different products, including their now popular entremets—French mousse-based cakes.
"People here in Mississippi are used to cupcakes," she says.
"Also, it brings different cultures together and introduces something really different to people who haven't experienced it before," she says.
Something people may notice at La Brioche is that entremets are titled with feminine names.
"That's French," Lazzari says. "In France, if you go to their patisseries, you will see cakes labeled with women's names. It's just sort of a rule of thumb for them."
Lazzari's two favorite entremets at La Brioche are "Natalia" and "Celeste."
"They are named after my two daughters," she says. The one called Natalia is filled with lemon and raspberry flavors, while Celeste is a combination of dark chocolate, pistachio and almond.
"They are the best-sellers," Lazzari adds with a smile. "It just happened to be."
"We go a lot with seasons," Lazzari says. "In summer, you will see more fruit-based desserts and ... when we are moving towards cooler weather, it's more about chocolate, caramel and heavier stuff."
Besides the regular pastries that customers can find on the display counter most of the year, La Brioche offers special desserts for various holidays, including a Valentine's Day "Eve" entremet, which was a chocolate cake dipped in Grand Marnier with butter-cream icing, and layered with strawberries, macarons, chocolate pieces and gold dust.
"That's the creativity in the kitchen," Lazzari says. "That's where the art part comes in. It's not just about baking, but also how you can express yourself. That's the artistry of it."
The business model of La Brioche reflects Lazzari and Mamud's attitude toward people.
"We try to do what we like to receive," Lazzari says. "We like quality, delicious food, good service, cleanliness and atmosphere. This is what we like to give. What you experience being at La Brioche is how we would like to be treated in other places."
The shop also previously offered sandwiches, salads and other entrees for catering, but its lunch menu recently became a regular offering at its new second location, which opened at the Mississippi Museum of Art in February. For more information, see pages 20-21.
La Brioche Patisserie (2906 N. State St., 601.988.2299) is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. La Brioche at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601.960.1515) is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit labriochems.com.