A la Recherchez du National Croissant Day – Creative Loafing

Posted by Cliff Bostock @cliffbostock on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Did you miss National Croisssant Day? It was Monday, according to many foodie sites. Nobody seems to know who decided it was Croissant Day and the croissant’s history is just as mysterious.

What we do know is that croissants have become so popular that you can quickly learn to hate them if mama serves you a frozen monstrosity. Even more horrible are the grocery-store versions that are chewy white bread simply molded into the shape of a croissant. Starbucks actually used to insult customers with those.

In honor of National Croissant Day, I stopped by the Bread Garden but only found one lone croissant, disappointingly lacking the usual airy puffiness, crispness, chewiness, and buttery decadence. I was surprised it wasn’t better, since Catharine Krasnow’s bread has long been among the best in the city. Maybe it was an off day.

Until recently, I’ve always thought that Alon’s made the best croissants in the city. The almond croissant in particular drives me crazy. It is kind of a hide-and-seek game to find the almond paste, but when your tongue hits it, the brain goes addictive.

Now, though, Little Tart Bakeshop in Grant Park (inside Octane) makes by far the city’s best croissant (photo). Co-owner Sarah O’Brien trained in Paris and told me soon after the shop opened that she has long been obsessed with making the perfect croissant. My God, does it ever show. She can call it an obsession. I call it transcendental meditation with butter.

Many will argue that Star Provisions makes the city’s best. H&F Bread Co. also does a good job, but you can’t have one fresh from the oven, since they are distributed wholesale. The market downstairs at Parish does a great job and Joli Kobe’s ain’t too bad, either.

Sadly, I have not tried the croissants at the Croissant Bakery in Norcross, but the name is certainly promising.

(EDIT: Doh! I put the wrong caption on the photo earlier. It is, of course, the croissant at Little Tart Bakery, not at the Bread Garden.)


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photo: Cliff Bostock