I remember resorting to a plastic wrapped croissant only once, after having a few drinks, being literally stranded in the woods shivering while camping, and sitting around a dying camp fire. Considering my abnormal admiration for croissants, that was a low point in my romance with the pastry.

Of course, taste is one of the most subjective things in the world, but my thorough search for the perfect one makes for a passionate list. I have had an on going search for the perfect croissant in and out of Beirut for about a year now, and to be fair to any new challengers, I can say my search may never be over.

My favorite type of croissant is a chocolate almond croissant but to level the playing field I compared each bakery’s chocolate croissant. Professionals insist that the color of a classic croissant should be golden brown. The sound upon biting into it should be crisp. The texture should be flaky, and it’s weight very light in proportion to its size. The croissant should unravel in a spiral and crumble slightly when pulled. To the mouth, a croissant should be flaky enough to softly prick the inside of your mouth while still melting like butter. The inner layering of a croissant is the most telling; croissants should have 80- 90 tissue- thin layers.

Here are 5 spots in Beirut that professional butter slicked hands would applaud. In the art of croissants there is absolutely no room to be health conscious.

1. Cannelle

Cannelle is my all time favorite croissant spot in Beirut because of it’s classic simplicity. Their chocolate croissant is very light with abundant flakiness that makes you disregard the crumbly mess below you. The chocolate is just enough to taste but still give the pastry the attention it deserves.

Boulevard President Fouad Chehab, Ashrafieh, Beirut. Next to the huge intersection connecting Ashrafiyeh and Downtown. Phone: 01202169.>

2. Pate a Choux

Don’t bother trying to find a croissant left after 9 am at Pate a Choux. In line with their availability, Pate a Choux’s croissants are slightly more dramatic than the rest with a visibly more inflated shape, making it relatively light. They also have a touch of a cripsier, more toasted outside that dusts your plate once bitten into. Despite its outside crumble, the inside is soft and layered.

Damascus Road, Sodeco, Ashrafieyh, Beirut. Near CBJ Sodeco. Phone: 01614150

3. Gustav Innovation Sucree

The croissants at Gustav are not as light and traditional as Canelle and Pate a Choux but are a refreshing change. The dough is a little more dense than airy, but with a full flavor and rich chocolate taste.

Hamra, Beirut. Off the first street to the right after Roadsters. Phone: 01747199

4. Paul

Paul’s has countless branches all over Lebanon and the Middle East for a reason. They offer a widely loved croissant that still has tight roots with the classic.

Avenue Georges Haddad, Gemayze, Beirut. Phone: 01570170.
Other locations across Lebanon.

5. Noura

Noura is a dainty shop that offers a humble croissant that knows it’s worth. Noura’s croissants are gracefully buttery, flaky and layered with slightly more chocolate than the average croissant.

Sassine Square, Ashrafyieh directly across from ABC Ashrafiyeh Upper Level Entrance. Phone: 011215806
Sioufi Street, Ashrafiyeh. Phone: 01425533

6. Abdul Rahman Hallab & Sons

Abdul Rahman Hallab & Sons croissant gets a spot on this list because of its perfectly balanced flakiness and excellent quality of chocolate. When 9 am is the last chance you have at finding a batch served by its already exhausted staff, you know Hallab is just as serious as it’s customers.

Sin el fil near Beirut City Center. Phone:01 501881
Other locations across Lebanon.

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