The Best of Beirut
on Mar 24, 2014 By Danielle Issa
Who can resist the quintessential French treat, the croissant? The buttery puff pastry is deliciously flaky and delicate with a distinctive crescent shape, crispy shell, and tender interior.
But the perfect croissant requires premium ingredients, a special age-old recipe, and sweet love baked into every fold and layer of dough. Vraiment, c’est magnifique!
So where does Beirut go for its favorite breakfast roll? Follow me on a journey through pure croissant bliss.
Photo via Pinterest.com
The folks over at Fauchon are masters at making delightful French treats, both savory and sweet. Their croissants are no exception: tightly curled, flaky, and buttery, they are the real deal. French flour, French mineral water, and butter from cows who graze on Normandy grass: all of it ships in several times a week to the Fauchon patisserie that’s made its home in Beirut since 2012.
Try the cheese variety: premium gruyere baked into the croissant’s core and grated on top for a golden-brown glow.
Photo via hungryatmidnight.com
A mere few steps across from Fauchon sits Paul, an established name and reference in French bread, patisserie, and the entire range of viennoiserie. Paul’s signature croissants have a mouthwatering crisp crust and an incomparably soft center.
You’re going to want to try just about everything in succession, but ready your appetite for les amandes, an authentic chocolate croissant enriched with almond paste, dipped in syrup and topped with almonds and confectioner’s sugar. Truly the food of the gods.
Avenue Georges Haddad
Tel.: +9611212888 Ext: 1012
Abdallah Beihum Street
*More locations across Lebanon.
Photo via foodspotting.com
Pâte à Choux has been around for decades. Long before the big commercialized bakeries like Pain d’Or came into being, this family-run business was churning out dainty cakes and pastries at its original location in the mountains of Broumanna.
Yes, their trademark Bahamas cake, which superbly marries bananas and chocolate, is inimitable (more about that in a separate article), but have you ever sampled their croissants? Go for the round mound that is generously stuffed with gruyère cheese and sliced ham. A dash of more gruyère is baked into its golden crown. These babies run out quickly, so do arrive early.
Tartine Bakery only recently opened; it's the first boutique bakery brought to Lebanon by the very same founders of Zaatar w Zeit. And boy do they know how to make a mean croissant!
Plain is the way to go: crunchy on the outside, airy and oil-free on the inside, with a delectable aftertaste. What makes Tartine Bakery’s croissants and bread so unique? Perhaps it’s the liquid yeast used to leaven the dough, or perhaps it’s the fact that bread is baked twice daily and sold fresh. At any rate, nothing remains on the shelves for more than a few hours!
Mar Mikhael Street
Photo via nogarlicnoonions.com
We wouldn’t be Lebanese if we didn’t take a cherished foreign foodstuff and adapt it to the local flavors of our country. Enter the zaatar croissant, a symbolic ode to the Franco-Lebanese alliance—well, not quite, but it’s still irresistible! And no one makes it tastier than urban coffee shop [Grid] (which actually shares its kitchen with the fabulous pâtisserie, The Garden).
Grid folds the slightly pungent, aromatic and nutty herb zaatar into a delicate crescent pastry. The dose is perfect—neither too rich nor too scant—and will make you giddy with excitement. Pair it with white coffee (café blanc) for a wholesome breakfast.
Danielle Issa is a food blogger in Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her blog, Beirutista.
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