15 Jul 2021
Welcome to the third installment of the Croissant Critique with the Alliance Française de Chicago! Here, we take pastries very seriously. Not only do we scour Chicago to find the best bakeries, but as also rate each pastry based on six different factors. They include flakiness, flavor, butteriness, lamination (how shiny they are), presentation (how they look), and whether they’re more traditional or innovative. Before we get started, make sure to check out our thoughts on the croissants at Lost Larson and Hendrickx Bakery! Allons-y !
This week’s Chicago bakery of choice is La Fournette. This Gold Coast gem comes from the Zimmermann family from Schnersheim, France, where they developed their baking expertise over the course of 110 years! Today, World Baking Champion Pierre Zimmermann and his wife, Michele, run a bakery that’s distinctly Alsatian and uniquely Chicagoan.
Read on to learn our thoughts on each croissant that we sampled!
We got our tasting started with a good old pain au chocolat. This chocolate croissant had a lovely, light texture, although we would have loved un petit peu more density! The best part was the flavor. With bars of European dark chocolate inside, it gave the perfect amount of chocolatey goodness without overpowering the butteriness that you expect from a quality croissant.
La Fournette’s classic croissant was an absolute delight! We thought that it was just about as traditional as it gets – and sometimes, that just hits the spot. It boasted a wonderful butteriness that really stuck with us after every bite, without feeling greasy or heavy. In fact, we were surprised to find how flaky it was. Buttery AND flaky? Ah mon dieu !
This raisin roulade had such a dynamic flavor, what with its golden raisins and pastry cream! Although it was arguably over-toasted, the croissant was still fluffy; sometimes, the texture matters a whole lot more than the presentation! We also loved how chewy it was, and at only $3.15, this pain aux raisins is a great deal!
Our last pastry of the day was La Fournette’s almond croissant. Like the others that we tried, it was a bit over-toasted, but that gave the almonds on top an extra layer of delicious toastiness! The flakiness was très bien, as was the level of butteriness. We wished it had a bit more lamination (the shine on top), but we love almond croissants so much that we really can’t complain! This traditional pastry was a great way to round out our Croissant Critique.
Overall, we really enjoyed how traditional and buttery these croissants were. If you love classic Alsatian breads and pastries, head to La Fournette at 1547 N. Wells Street in Chicago!
Thank you for joining us on our third Croissant Critique! For more French food and culture, take a look at the Alliance Française de Chicago’s wine & gastronomy events. We also offer a wide array of French classes, summer camps, social events, and more. Keep your eyes peeled for our next Croissant Critique. À bientôt !