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Side Dish 

Truffes promises sweet delights to those who look past its unassuming façade

It sure doesn't look like much from the street, but some of the great desserts in St. Louis are produced behind covered plate-glass windows about a half-block north of Delmar Boulevard on Skinker.

The location -- 622 N. Skinker Blvd., to be exact, extending to two adjoining spaces -- houses Truffes, the primarily wholesale bakery and confectionery run by cookbook (The New Pastry Cook, William Morrow & Co., 1986) author Helen Fletcher. The sweet secret is that Truffes does sell retail to the general public, as long as you order in advance.

That knowledge resulted in a box of freshly handmade chocolate truffles -- hard dark out, soft dark in -- for my wife on Valentine's Day. When last seen, she was curled up in a corner, smiling like a Cheshire cat and even purring gently. But my trip to Truffes also netted the knowledge that Fletcher is about to open a true retail outlet at 407 S. Jackson Ave. in U. City, where she will peddle both her sweets (which also include cakes, tarts, pies, tortes, petits fours and more) and a selection of takeout meals.

The new location -- a couple of doors down from La Piazza, the newly opened restaurant that took over the old Off the Eaten Path/Black Tie Gourmet space on the corner -- is expected to open in June. "I've always said that I'd have to do something like this before I can die happy," says the ever-animated Fletcher. In the meantime, Truffes' specialties are available for browsing at or the clever alias

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