As I sit here and write these words, the scent of butter is emanating from by being. This is not a metaphor, or a poetic musing. I just straight up smell like butter. It might seem like an odd thing to confess, but these days, smelling like butter makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
In 2 weeks and 2 days I’ll be heading to Paris (!) for the first time (!!). While I’ve already mapped out the standard Paris virgin’s itinerary (one that includes that little tower and little museum), I’ve also made room for a few other things, including a viennoiserie class in the 4th arrondissement where I’ll be learning how to make croissants, amandines and chocolatines. With a French pastry chef. BY THE SEINE.
By total coincidence, April 20th happened to be “La Fête du croissant” in Montreal, which means that over a dozen bakeries in the city were showcasing their version of the iconic French crescent and offering them at reduced prices. Under the guise of “research” for my upcoming class, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to
eat an obscene amount of pastry take some notes. I enlisted a few friends to do some bakery-hopping with me to help determine what made a good croissant, and what made a not-so-good croissant, assessments based on the holy Parisian tenets of:
4 friends, 4 bakeries, all within a 4-block radius of my apartment. Voici les observations:
9:25am – with Julie at Monsieur Pinchot’s
Overall look: flat; floppy; not really crescent-shaped; the way someone’s eyes look after a long cry
Layers/texture: layers? what layers?; cakey interior; greasy
Sound/smell: no crunch (thus no sound); sweet, buttery smell
Taste: surprisingly nice taste…if it wasn’t pretending to be a croissant (Julie says, “Oueh…pas les meilleurs.”)
9:50am – with Simon at Co’Pains d’abord
(*Note: due to large demand, they were out of regular croissant, hence the chocolatine)
Overall look: pleasantly plump; toasty-coloured exterior
Layers/texture: visible layers; airy; rises back up after you bite into it
Sound/smell: crispy shell that crackles nicely; scent of butter
Taste: pleasantly buttery; lightly yeasty (in a good way) (N.B I discovered that Simon likes to eat the crispy exterior in its entirety before the soft interior. He gets points for adorability.)
10:30am – with Marko & Marie-Lou, breakfast with croissants from Le Grain de blé
Overall look: perfect crescent shape (Marie-Lou says, “It looks like a crab.”)
Layers/texture: uniformly toasted exterior; heavier than they appear; dense; overcooked ends
Sound/smell: slight crunch when squeezed; no memorable scent
Taste: underwhelming; we ended up making ham & cheese sandwiches with them (Marko says, “Yeah, these suck.”)
11:55am – Fous Desserts, with yours truly
Overall look: relaxed crescent shape; golden exterior; lightly glossy; sexy
Layers/texture: visible, delicate layers; easy to pull apart; crispy exterior; airy, soft interior
Sound/smell: exterior had a satisfying crunch; scent of wheat and butter
Taste: rich butter taste that hits the tongue and melts; very lightly yeasty; nicely balanced in sugar and salt
Of the four, Fous Desserts knocked it out of the park. Their croissant is epic. From now on, there is no need for me to go anywhere else in my neighborhood. This is croissant that slays all others.
If you live in Montreal, or are visiting, here’s where you can find them:
809 Av. Laurier Est
Montréal H2J 1J2 [Qc] Canada
Thanks again to Julie, Simon, Marko & Marie-Lou xx
Ok, Now I know why the fromagerie/bakery where I usually buy my cheeses and bread offered 6 croissants for the price of 3!
Fun surprise, no? 🙂 Bon croissant, Natasha!
Rudolph Martin said:
you’re right the best croissants in montreal !
Oui! I’m glad you agree, Rudolph 🙂
from my point of view the best croissant are at les co’pains d’abord on rachel street, just perfect
Hi Eric! I agree – Co’pains d’abord makes a pretty delectable croissant…their pain au chocolat is fantastic too. Thanks for stopping by & look forward to hearing from you again! 🙂