Being a city that celebrates its bilingual heritage, I suppose it is no surprise that we have made every attempt to perfect the French croissant. If I had my way, I would be indulging at our favourite Parisian boulangerie, not far from Gare Montparnasse.
Lucky for us, we have perhaps a dozen places throughout the capital that make a respectable pastry.
Many will say that the king of croissants can be found at The French Baker in the Byward Market. Established in 1995, it is the benchmark by which all other croissants should be measured. Although it is a top choice of mine, in our home, there is no solidarity when voting for the most favourite.
Over the past year, Bridgehead Coffeehouse and Art-is-in Boulangerie started baking their own, creating more choice for us close by. What I like about all three places is that they also make the pain au chocolat and the almondine. Bridgehead also crafts a meal with their ham and cheese croissant.
Interestingly, a croissant seems to taste best as a morning treat only. Matched with a cup of really strong coffee. A croissant certainly does not get better with age.
When I cave to this dreamy treat, I am looking for a dense but flaky croissant. I want a buttery finish, but not too sweet. I don't mind a glowing crust, but not so shiny that I catch a reflection.
Others in the family prefer a lighter, more tender texture and a golden buttery exterior. Or, I've been told, it is particularly important that the layers be pronounced, and not so flaky that the crust will shatter. When pulled apart, the centre unravels.
What do all three have in common? Butter. Lots of butter.
Where can you find these delectable treats? Here are three of our favourites.
- Bridgehead Coffeehouse: 12 locations across the city
- The French Baker: 119 Murray Street (near Dalhousie in the ByWard Market) and 801 Bank Street (in the Glebe)
- Art-is-in Boulangerie: 250 City Center Avenue, unit 112 (off of Scott Street)