There are ways to grab someone's attention. “Chocolate. ” See how well that works. Okay, now try, “Chocolate and flaky pastry.” Even better right? It is this phenomenon that has made pain au chocolat one of the most well-known French pastries. However, as with all great ingredients, there is more than can be done with chocolate and fine buttery layers of dough than turning it into a little stuffed log. Case in point, Paris Baguette Cafe's “feuilletee” chocolate.
Paris Baguette Cafe is a South Korea-based worldwide chain of bakeries. The décor attempts to emulate the polish of a place like Euro Pane. The pastries are baked in-house and replenished throughout the day, so the room is filled with an underlying hum of ovens like Lee's Sandwiches. Most of the items are self serve: customers grab tongs and a tray and can load up on sweet and savory baked goods like at Mexican panaderias. And while, they do make a good pain au chocolate, even on our first visit, we were drawn to their chocolate pastry twist, the feuilleté chocolate.
Feuilettee, or more accurately feuilleté , is French for puff pastry. Although, the shell of the feuilleté chocolate is indeed crisp, the inside is tender and gauzy. Studded along the twist are mini dark chocolate chips. As it bakes, the exposed chocolate bits lightly melt into the fissures of the golden pastry. Meanwhile the chocolate threaded within seeps into the pockets of airy dough. Combined, the chocolate doesn't just clump together and the pastry doesn't get weighted down.
Perhaps the biggest divergence between the feuilleté and the pain is the shape. The narrow feuilleté makes for neat bites. The shards of dough fall where they belong, in our mouths and not all over the table or on our clothes. This way we are fully able to enjoy the contrast of rich chocolate with light crisp pastry and come out of the experience without getting the unneeded attention brought on by a shirtfront covered with crumbs.
Paris Baguette Café: 125 North Western Avenue Suite # 101, Los Angeles, (323) 467-0404 and other locations in Koreatown, Glendale, Cerritos and Orange County
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