Location: 1626 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
I don’t have much to say about the almond croissant at Patisserie la Cigogne other than that it was delicious and you should eat it.
It was really good, though.
I mean, almond croissants are just generally great; if they’re done well, they’re an amazing combo of crunchy, crispy, buttery, and sweet. And I honestly can’t remember the last time I had one this good — the croissant was flaky and super buttery, and there’s a very generous amount of the sweet almond filling.
I mean, look at all that filling that’s oozed out and become crunchy and caramelized. The best. There’s also a generous amount of filling inside the croissant that’s nutty and creamy and sweet. Also the best.
(The whole thing was pretty much the best, so like I said earlier, you should probably go eat one.)
Location: 120 Dundas Street West, Toronto
The lemon meringue croissant from Butter Baker is one of those things that I saw on Instagram and immediately had to eat. And yes, I know: this makes me part of the problem.
A very strong argument could be made that social media (Instagram in particular) is making our cuisine appreciably worse by incentivizing restaurants to serve visually innovative food in which the actual taste is an afterthought (e.g. Sweet Jesus).
And that’s absolutely the case here. I mean, look at that! It looks so impressive! But it gets less impressive once you start actually eating it.
For one thing, it’s almost impossible to eat without getting sticky meringue all over your face. But let’s set that complaint aside, because a lot of cupcakes are just as hard to eat without making a mess, and only a monster would argue that a cupcake isn’t great.
The two main issues here are that the croissant itself is merely okay, and the lemon curd filling is completely bland. The latter point is especially egregious; the whole appeal of a lemon meringue pie is the delightful way that the tartness of the lemon curd is offset by the sweetness of the meringue. But here, the curd is disappointingly anemic, with a limp sugariness and almost no sour bite. Because of this, the whole thing comes off as one-dimensionally sweet and boring.
I will, however, give Butter Baker props for the use of creamy Italian meringue over frothy, dull French meringue. This is correct; French meringue is for jerks.
Location: 4910 Yonge Street, North York
Hey. Do you like croissants? Of course you do, who doesn’t? How about peanut butter and jelly? Again, I’m going to have to assume the answer is yes. Of course you like PB and J. You’re not a crazy person.
Well then, you’ll be pleased to hear that Bake Code has a PB and J croissant, and yeah, it’s good. How could it not be?
It’s not even that the croissant is that great. It’s fine. It’s a bit too dense, and it’s not quite as flaky or as buttery as you’d like; it’s a decent, middle-of-the-road croissant. But then they fill it with an absolutely absurd amount of peanut butter and strawberry jam, and how could that be bad? It can’t be.
The crispy croissant, the crunchy peanuts on top, and the gooey PB and J turn out to be an irresistible combination. It almost feels like cheating — you could put gobs of peanut butter and jelly into pretty much anything, and it’s going to be delicious. But tasty is tasty.
Location: 215 Madison Avenue, Toronto
People: this is not a drill. The chocolate hazelnut croissant at MoRoCo Chocolat is mind-blowing. It’s the best pastry I’ve had in a long, long time, and yes — I’m including my recent ten-day trip to Paris. It’s an all-timer.
Everything about it is amazing: you’ve got the croissant itself, which is buttery and flaky and delicious. There’s the perfectly crispy sweet hazelnut topping, which is basically like the topping of an almond croissant, only with hazelnuts, and which goes perfectly with the rich, chocolately filling.
And the icing on the metaphorical cake? The absolutely astonishing custard, which might have been the best custard I’ve ever had.
And I mean, who expects custard in a croissant like this? It’s weird, right? But good weird. The best weird. It’s what pushed this over the top and made it one of the best damn things I’ve eaten in such a long time. It was creamy and rich, with a flavour that I can only describe as the platonic ideal of custards. It’s the kind of custard that makes all other custards taste like garbage, because it’s so damn perfect.
It took something that was already delicious and made it crazy delicious.
I’m not sure why you’re even still reading this when you should clearly be driving/walking/sprinting to MoRoCo to buy one. Just be warned: after taking a couple of bites and realizing that this was the best thing ever, I promptly went back into the store so I could buy another one or two (or three). But that was it. Apparently they only make one or two a day. So get there early. It’s worth it.