We popped out of the metro, greeted by the rather unimpressive Moulin Rouge. It’s better in the movies, I think. It sat, in full Parisian sun, looking like a tourist trap. We veered off the the right, and began to climb Rue Lepic.
Montmartre sits on a hill, and is filled with market streets and plenty of exercise…perfect for those looking to eat their way through the neighborhood. After a leisurely stroll, stopping too many times for pictures (and honestly, also huffing and puffing, because my idea of exercise is walking a mile to my next croissant), and nearly stepping (one too many times for comfort) in dog caca…we found ourselves on a quiet little street, pushing open the doors to Gontran Cherrier.
After admiring the delicious-looking flammekeuche (a Strasbourg specialty and one you should try — I am, as I plan to return) and meandering down the line of sandwiches, pastries, and viennoiserie, the kouign amann stopped me in my tracks. It was a glossy and beautiful round disk of buttery layers, so I ordered one. Each bakery I go to seems to have its own take on this Breton cake, but this one was a familiar spiral, quite like a snail. Pulling it out of the paper bag (which now had butter stains on it), it was tacky on the fingers, with just enough sugar and an good chew. I don’t like my kouign amann to be feathery. I want them as dense and as buttery as they come — with the layers; that’s the trick. GC’s take on my favorite pastry was delicately crunchy and intensely chewy; a good one I’d go back for.
The croissant, on the other hand, not so much.
Upon first site, sitting just past the kouign amann, they appeared a tad flat and very dull looking. Something you might find at Paul, for instance. And I’m not hating on Paul at all. Just, for an artisan boualnger, they looked a little disappointing. They could have used, at minimum, a good egg wash.
Breaking it in half, I found the croissant rather squishy and bready, with no real layers that I personally think make or break the croissant. (This, obviously, broke it.) Biting it, the bottoms provided the smallest bit of texture, as did the ends, with some crisp…but it wasn’t anything to write home about.
So I say, skip the croissant, load up on kouign amanns, come back for flammekeuche; and try a baguette or focaccia. I’ll be updating this when I do!