January 30 – Croissant Day
Ah, the crisp, flaky, buttery perfection of a croissant. There’s nothing more elegant than the airy layers of the crescent-shaped pastry for breakfast, nor can you find anything that speaks so highly of the French cuisine–the amount of labor and expertise put into making a tiny croissant, daily, is astounding. The French have been making crescent-shaped pastries since the Middle Ages, and have since honed the making of croissants into a discipline much like the creation of Japanese tempura, or–to put it in local terms–the New York bagel. Not only do the ingredients have to be pitch-perfect and the chef masterful at her craft, but the atmosphere has to be right for the croissant to be fluffy, fragrant, and flavorful–the local water and the very air must be just right.
Of course, most of the croissants you see these days are not done masterfully, and the air around them is far from fresh or optimal. Wikipedia wagers that almost 40% of the croissants sold in French bakeries today are pre-prepared and frozen. And while that adorable little doughboy does make a mean crescent roll, it pales in comparison to the genuine article, made fresh daily, and eaten at just the right time of day.
You can, however, find some delectable croissants without having to book a flight to Paris. The Petrossian Boutique & Cafe (not to be confused with The Petrossian proper, which is far more a classic upscale dinner restaurant than a breakfast cafe) boasts one of the best croissants in town. A light, flaky almond croissant is baked traditionally, but with a delicious almond finishing glaze and a few sprinkles of almond shavings on the top. French croissant purists might decry the use of the almonds, but for us New Yorkers, we’re always looking for ways to build a better mousetrap–or, in this case, bake a tastier croissant.
Petrossian Boutique & Cafe
911 7th Ave (between 57th St & 58th St)
“After having tried croissants or pain au chocolat at Patisserie Claude’s, La Bergamote, Ceci-Cela, Balthazar, Payard, Eleven Madison Park, Bouchon, and Pret a Manger (I liked theirs a good bit, actually!) and probably others, Petrossian’s is the only one which crosses the threshold into good Parisian croissant territory.”–Chowhound.com
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The croissants are perfection. I still crave/dream about those croissants. The almond croissant is just delectable, buttery, flaky (but not flaky all over your clothes), with just the right amount of marzipan. I’m repeating myself, but truly, perfection.”–Linh N.
“I could easily eat their almond croissant all day, every day. $3.50 for the buttery, gooey marzipan inside, flakey outside, uber delectable pastry- I don’t know how I’ve lived so close for so long and haven’t made it over there before. Martha Stewart once called this her favorite croissant in the world, and I don’t blame her.”–Rajani M.