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Croissant Crusade!

13 Feb

Let me unbutton my jeans whilst I write this post…

Over the past week I’ve been spending my mornings researching a post that I’ve been intending to write for some time – a croissant crusade. I’ve undertaken the incredibly hideous task (ahem) of visiting local patisseries and bakeries in search of Vancouver’s “best” croissants. I have sacrificed myself (mostly my thighs and ass) so that you, dear reader, may enjoy some of the wonderful croissants that Vancouver has to offer. For consistency, I sampled the croissants around the same time every day (about 11am) and only on weekdays. Whilst most of the places also offered other types of croissants, such as almond croissants, I was only interested in researching the traditional butter croissants.

I sampled five different croissants from five different places; Beaucoup Bakery, Ganache Patisserie, Cadeaux Bakery, Thomas Haas, and Faubourg.

Beaucoup Bakery:
Where: Fairview
Cost: $3
Alternative orders: Anything!

Beaucoup’s offering is probably my favourite croissant (tied with Ganache) that I tried over the week. The reasons for this are:

  • It is smaller than the others that I sampled so it didn’t get the doughy insides that some of the others fell victim to.
  • It was slightly crunchy and shattered into flakes when I ate it. This is how I prefer my croissants.
  • The crunch gave way to a tapestry of pastry layers inside.
  • It was buttery and at times you could smell the butter on each bite.
  • There were very obvious thin layers of flaking pastry, as evident by the photograph.

Ganache Patisserie:
Where: Yaletown
Cost: $2.25
Alternative orders: Their beautiful individual-sized cakes.

Ganache was the dark horse of the race and I wasn’t expecting that from a place that I don’t hear much about. Ganache, and the croissant from Beaucoup, would be tied as the “best” for me. It was different to Beaucoup’s in a few ways:

  • It was much darker than the rest that I sampled but this didn’t take away from the taste.
  • It had a good amount of crunch, particularly on the bottom, but not necessarily flaky.
  • The pastry seemed almost sweet once you reached the inside.
  • The inside of the croissant had many layers and had a light and airy honeycomb-like structure (check it out in the pic below)

Cadeaux Bakery:
Where: Gastown
Cost: $2.75
Alternative orders: The bacon twist croissants!

  • This one was bigger in size than those from Beaucoup and Ganache but it wasn’t unreasonably large.
  • There was a good amount of crunch from the base and the ends.
  • A little buttery on the outside but not too much.
  • Spongy on the inside but then gave away to too much dough towards the middle, which I don’t like.
  • The flakey layers were satisfactory on the outside but I would have like to have seen more fluffiness and chew on the inside.

Thomas Haas:
Where: Kitsilano
Cost: $2.50
Alternative orders: I’ve been told that the almond croissants from Thomas Haas are da bomb!

Thomas Haas is well-known for his croissants so I was a little disappointed with the one that I ordered as I know that I’ve had better from Thomas Haas in the past. Unfortunately I have to review it on the one that I ordered so it was:

  • Medium sized.
  • Quite flaky on the outside, golden, and shattered slightly (evidence on the plate).
  • The inside was quite moist and slightly dense.
  • I found the inside was similar to Cadeaux’s in that it was too chewy and there was a lot of damp pastry as you moved towards the middle of the croissant, rather than fluffiness.

Where: Kerrisdale
Cost: $2.75
Alternative orders: Their baguettes are some of the most authentic that I’ve had in the city. The tri-chocolate decadent pastry was also memorable.

This was the furthest that I travelled for a croissant and it was good but that isn’t what I would travel back there for (see “alternative orders”).

  • A little too big for my liking
  • A little dry and it didn’t taste overly fresh, although I’m sure it was baked that day.
  • Minimal flakiness and it lacked obvious pastry layering.
  • The bottom was buttery and toasted, which was a plus in my books.
  • Quite underwhelming.

Boy, am I glad this post is over – no more pastries for me for awhile! I need to get back onto my “avoid wheat” goal but this was fun whilst it lasted. I’m confident that there are other places in the city offering good butter croissants but I went with my instincts and from recommendations. The places that I have listed above are a good place to start to help you find your own favourite croissants. As with anything that I eat, my preferences might not be what you find the “best” so happy hunting!


Good Morning Gastown!

9 Feb

Cadeaux Bakery
172 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1G1

T: 604 608 8889

This morning my stomach made me do some crazy stuff. It was on a mission and there was no rationalizing with it. It made me get out of bed early (that alone is CRAZY!). It made me get on the bus. It then told me to get off at Main street and Hastings street.

“Why would we get off here?!” I nervously asked.

“Keep walking” my stomach instructed.

We turned the corner onto Powell street and we opened the door to Cadeaux Bakery…ahhh, it all made perfect sense now.

Pretty little Cadeaux welcomed me in and my sleepy eyes were greeted with mounds of freshly baked croissants, cookies, scones, and brownies. I could have been dreaming if not for the smell of butter in the air. I ordered myself a butter croissant and a white chocolate and pear scone (the things I do for research!). I ate the croissant sitting in the small café and “ooohed” and “ahhhed” my way through the layers of flakey, butter pastry. By the time I had finished I was happily covered in a snow storm of pastry flakes. This would have to be one of the best croissants that I’ve had in Vancouver. Absolutely delicious!

Butter croissant from Cadeaux Bakery – $3.50

White chocolate and pear scone from Cadeaux Bakery – $3.25

I saved the white chocolate and pear scone for morning tea and wow! This was good too! This little gem, nestled away on the outskirts of Gastown, is creating amazing baked goods and you should get yourself down there to try them out. Besides all of the goodies I’ve mentioned above, you can also order cakes and housemade ice-cream. FYI – their hours are hard to find but they are closed on Mondays, open 8am to 6pm Tuesday through Friday, and open 9am to 5pm on Saturdays & Sundays.

My stomach wasn’t done yet. It wanted to wash all of this deliciousness down with a strong coffee. Normally, JJ Bean is the coffee of choice but today Revolver was our go-to place.

325 Cambie street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 1H7

T: 604 558 444

I’ve actually been to Revolver many times since it opened in fall last year but I’ve yet to write it up (you can chalk that up to pure old laziness). Revolver is a trendy, coffee-obsessed Gastown café. Rustic wooden floors, exposed raw brick, and urban decor gives Revolver a modern, welcoming vibe. One of the design highlights is a wall-sized world map made completely from nails that showcases coffee-growing regions.

Revolver takes it’s coffee very seriously, which is interesting for people like me who are new to anything other than espresso drinks. The counter at Revolver looks like a science lab with all of the different types of coffee paraphernalia that they use! I’ll leave the technical stuff to these guys but I know that the coffee at Revolver is strong, and the coffee is good. If you are a bigger fan of the coffee process than I am, then you need to go and talk bean to the guys at Revolver. Me, I prefer to sit back with my coffee and watch the world go by.

Revolver also has freshly baked pastries and muffins but obviously I was already satiated so that was the last thing on my mind today.

Gastown, you may be difficult to get to in the mornings but you are worth it! My stomach and I thank you for being awesome.

Cadeaux Bakery on Urbanspoon

Revolver on Urbanspoon

First glance: Matchstick Coffee & Cadeaux Bakery

29 Jan

Ahhhh weekends! Who doesn’t love weekends? They bring freedom to do whatever you want, and for me and B that means discovering new food establishments. Thankfully, new places are popping up all over the city so we jumped in a Car2Go and went exploring.

A friend of mine had text me during the week to tell me about a newly-opened coffee shop hidden away up on East 15th and Kingsway (right near Les Faux Bourgeois). Matchstick Coffee Roasters only opened last week and was already humming with caffeine-craving customers when we popped in on Saturday. The space is very sleek, deliberately minimalistic, and well-executed with a lot of blonde wood features. A long communal table and window seating begged for linger, particularly on this gray and wet Saturday.

The latte was smooth, yet bold, and rates highly on the short (but getting longer) list of great coffee in Vancouver. Matchstick plans to roast their own beans so watch their blog for updates if that tickles your fancy.

To me Matchstick had a similar feel to that of Revolver in Gastown (if you’ve been, you’ll know what I mean). These guys appear to take coffee very seriously so no weak Starbucks-esque coffee here. The times, they are a changin’! There were some pastries and baguettes on offer, although offerings seemed limited. The butter croissant that B and I shared was sinfully buttery but we didn’t stay for more than that as we were off to check out another new addition to the Vancouver food scene, Cadeaux Bakery.

I must admit that when I heard that a bakery had opened up near the strip club No. 5 Orange, my first thought was that the owners must be crazy. But Andrew Morrison’s recent article, with drool-inducing pictures, and learning that the owners are ex-Chambar employees convinced me to make the trip to the Downtown Eastside. Truthfully, I didn’t need that much convincing – it is a bakery after all. A few metres from the door of Cadeaux and I was over-whelmed with the smell of butter wafting through the air. We stepped up the pace and found ourselves pushing the door open to a very elegantly pretty cafe.

The counter was overflowing with flaky, golden croissants, danishes, cookies, scones, and lemon meringue tarts. And everything looked so damn tempting! Do NOT come here if you are on any form of a diet as this will be torture. I grabbed myself an apple danish and B ordered a dill and goat cheese croissant. The apple danish pastry was deliciously buttery and the layers, oh the layers! I really wish I had ordered more to try as I have high expectations that everything else will be just as divine.

We Vancouverites sure are spoilt. All of the good food that we already have in the city, and now we get two more additions?! I’m looking forward to return trips to both Matchstick and Cadeaux Bakery and the sooner, the better.

Cadeaux Bakery on Urbanspoon

Matchstick Coffee on Urbanspoon