Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Battle of the Croissants

Matt and I happened to watch a show one day on the Food Network on how to make croissants, and, well, we were hooked! It may not be something I will attempt to make in my kitchen (it requires a lot of butter and some muscles for rolling...), however we did go on a diligent search to find that best bakery for croissants in Toronto. After some busy research (Matt loves researching these things, and Toronto Life is great resources that does a lot of the researching for us...), we narrowed it down to two different bakeries in the city and set out to try them both.

Round One
Pain Perdu: Being located uptown, we decided to try it one day on our way out of town. We found parking right outside the front door (how lucky was that!?!) and were happy that we were getting our breakfast to go. As is often the case, these small cafes have limited seating and are often fully booked! We got 3 croissants to share, just in case one was not enough, a cup of coffee, and away we went. I think the first few minutes we were too busy savouring the buttery goodness - it was one darn good croissant! I have to say, I was pretty sure that it was going to be a tough one to contend with.

Round Two
Clafouti Patisserie: This little pastry shop is located within walking distance on Queen St W, so we decided to visit it while Matt's sister and her family were in town. We thought an afternoon croissant would be the prefect snack on a Sunday afternoon. Plus, walking down Queen St is always fun, especially for out-of-towners. Well, we should have been wiser to know that the croissants would be sold out by 4:30pm on a Sunday, so we were out of luck for that day. However, we did learn that we could call ahead and have any of the pastries set aside for us, so we took a card and intended to do just that. But while we were there, we did enjoy a coffee, so all was not lost.

Take Two: The following weekend we learned our lesson and called ahead to reserve three croissants, and then headed out at a decent hour to fetch them (I think walking there also helped to justify us eating the croissants...). It was a little busier than the last time we got there, and luckily our croissants had been set aside, because the box was empty! Getting a seat was a little more challenging, but eventually a table opened up and we were able to sit and enjoy our morning snack. These were very good croissants, indeed, doughy in the middle and very buttery. Heck, they were good enough for us to get two more to go for breakfast the next day!

The Results
I would have to say, in honour of the Olympics, that Pain Perfu gets our Gold medal. They were just a small step above Clafouti's, which earns them a Silver. But let's be honest, its hard to go wrong with croissants. I think this taste test officially knocks out the Pillsbury Dough Boy out of the running. I'm not even going to give him the Bronze... let's just say he didn't qualify.

However, by default, Clafouti might be our go-to bakery based on location. Plus, it's right next door to The Paper Place. You might remember them from the post on making my own lampshades. Well, it also has a starring role in our Wedding invites, which are hitting the mail box soon (they better, since the wedding is April 17th!). We're doing the invites ourselves; I wanted to add our own little touch of creativity, and I'll be sharing more about that soon.

Hmm.... wonder what the next battle should be?

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