This croissant/donut hybrid was created by French chef Dominique Ansel in 2013 and has had people lining up around the block on the streets of New York ever since. Each day, a limited batch is produced and people wait in line for their chance to have a piece of the viral hype that is the Cronut.
I have a confession to make though: despite having visited two of Dominique Ansel's locations so far, I still have yet to try the elusive dessert that made him famous.
I have, however, tried many other delightful pastries and desserts from his stunning display cases in both New York City and his original London location (a second London location has just been announced).
I could best describe the SoHo location as small but mighty. It was busy that morning and felt almost cramped, but the view of the pastries as we walked in was enough to make the tight squeeze worthwhile.
Well, I started off with a DKA, which is Dominique's Kouign-amann. This lovely little pastry is sort of reminiscent of a croissant, but with little pockets of sugar inside and caramelized sugar on the outside. In my opinion, they are best served warm and are very easy to get addicted to. Below, you can see just how I felt about it.
Though I do not still have a photo, the pastry case was beyond compare. All of the gorgeous tarts and cakes and other desserts were so creatively and flawlessly decorated that I couldn't believe my eyes. Unfortunately, I didn't have room in my stomach to try one that morning and it certainly would not have made the exhaustive trek around the city. I left that little SoHo shop full of sugar and wonder and inspiration for my own culinary aspirations. That's the one common thread I keep finding with Mr. Ansel's work; it inspires me to be a better chef!
The magic I felt in New York was one thing, but the magic I felt at Ansel's first London location was another feeling entirely. Something about cloudy yet romantic foreign cities at Christmas time really adds something extra special to the mix.
This time, we walked all the way there on a blustery, gray morning, making sure to take in the sights as we went.
I found this shop to be more spacious than the SoHo location. It felt like there was more room to breathe and move about. Of course, it was still packed to the brim with people and we had trouble finding seating, but we did eventually find a small table that could hardly contain all the food I ordered. Oops!
You'll also notice that I took macarons to go just as I did in NYC. They were just lovely!
This one in particular was perfectly crisp. I mean, just look at that cheese on top. Served hot and fresh and devoured so quickly that my partner nearly didn't get his half. Oops.
And just like that, another Dominique Ansel Bakery visit was in the books.
Since then, Mr. Ansel has opened both a bakery location AND restaurant in L.A., which has of course taken the top spot on my list. As I mentioned earlier, he's also opening a second location in London which should be open by my next visit. And let's not forget that there's always the Tokyo location to dream about visiting as well. Maybe my next visit will see me finally trying the Cronut.
All in all, if you appreciate food and creativity, then these bakeries are certainly something to add to your list. You really just can't go wrong.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and read his book and take his MasterClass for French basics like any good fan girl would do!