Perfect Day!: Take a stroll down Main to The Perfect Sweet

Strolling down Main Street in Warren is an almost-every-day occurrence for me. When your job demands hours in front of a computer all week long, having a pleasant place to stretch your legs outside is a godsend.

There are a lot of little restaurants surrounding downtown Warren that are perfect stops for a mid-stroll snack or a full meal — Nectar de la Vida, the Coffee Depot, Federal Hill Pizza, Revival, the institution Rod’s Grille — the list goes on. One of the newest additions is The Perfect Sweet, a delicious bakery that focuses on handmade macarons.

The Perfect Sweet took flight from Hope & Main, a nonprofit on Main Street that serves as an incubator for culinary businesses. The shop is the ideal place for a sunny day stop-in. They have tons of multicolored macarons to choose from; my favorites are the cookie-dough-based Cookie Monster and the Fluffernutter. But I’ve walked in and been delighted by some surprise flavors like the Harry Potter-inspired Butterbeer and the adorable donut-centric Macar-onuts, which have to be seen to be believed.

After a few visits to their new brick-and-mortar location, I sat down with Tracy Woodard, owner and operator of The Perfect Sweet, to learn how the business was born. “When my husband first got into financial planning, I joined him on some business trips,” she said. “They really fed them well! They always had these little round, colorful sandwich cookies that I had never had before. I was hooked. After the third trip, I was determined to find everything there was to know about these unique little sweet creations and when we went back home, I did just that.

“I started with Hope & Main in March or April 2017. I started selling at their summer market every Sunday! The staff at Hope & Main, from founder, Lisa Raiola, and her husband Waterman to Luca, Ali, Ric and all the others who make things works over there — I can’t say enough about them. Lisa had a brilliant idea and it has been fully executed by her amazing staff. We are so lucky to have them.”

Woodard continued about the community aspect of her business. “I love what Warren has become. I grew up in Barrington. Back then, it was a bit of a different town. What I’ve found recently, though, is that all of these little artisan makers, from amazing food entrepreneurs to organic skin care products, book stores and other unique shops have really made it a true walking town, especially with the bike path running parallel to Main. Being just over two miles from my house is what sealed the deal.

“For those who know and understand macarons, they are beyond thrilled to not only have macaron accessibility in little ol’ Warren, but quality and authenticity to boot. Because I had a following from Hope & Main, I had already established a wholesale base and people knew they could order special occasion macarons from me, whether they be towers or wedding favors in boxes or bags, etc., so I was able to introduce my other sweet products.”

The Perfect Sweet also offers tons of other decadent and delicious baked goods, including brownies, cupcakes, cookies and Rice Krispy treats using housemade marshmallow. “I actually got my baking-business start in a very small way as a cake decorator. I used to do it from my home. Now that I have my bakery location, I can make all of the other things that I have been making for years and I’m learning new techniques and skills every day. I’m also working diligently to become a full chocolatier.”

But there was one question I NEEDED to ask. As someone who is occasionally surrounded by lovable food snobs, I know that it can be frustrating when people refer to “macarons” (the light french cookie sandwich) as “macaROONs” (a dollop of coconut-flavored cookie) because they are an entirely different baked good. How does Woodard deal with what must be a constant occurrence?

She laughed. “It was not a very thoughtful person who decided to name a completely different confection with a nearly identical name. I try to be understanding.”

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