Croissants and Paris go hand-in-hand so much that one simply cannot imagine one without the other. It’s ludicrous to even think of the City of Light without also thinking of a flaky, buttery croissant!
That said, just because the French make the most perfect croissants doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also try some of the other delights that the city’s boulangeries have on offer. After some careful test testing (read: getting overexcited about moving to the French capital and ordering one pastry per day during my first few weeks of living here), I’ve discovered a number of great pastries that one should try during at least one of their petits–déjeuners in Paris.
1. Pain aux raisins
This custardy, spiral-shaped pastry contains layers of plump sultana raisins and crème pâtissière. The pastry itself is like that of a croissant, providing a good contrast for the slightly-sweet filling.
2. Escargot au chocolat et pistache
A more decadent version of pain aux raisins, the escargot au chocolate et pistache is my current favourite treat to pick up at my neighbourhood boulangerie. It contains pistachio-flavoured crème pâtissière and dark chocolate chips.
3. Chausson aux pommes
This puff pastry is filled with a cinnamon-apple compote. The dough is quite light and the apple filling not overly sweet. It resembles a mini apple pie – and tastes like one, too!
4. Brioche aux pralines roses
I originally tried this pastry in Lyon, where it is most common, but have stumbled across it at several Parisian boulangeries as well. Brioche itself is a sweet, eggy bread that’s heavy on the eggs and cream. Already tasty on its own, it’s even better when dotted with French pralines – crunchy caramelized almonds in a beautiful bright pink hue.
5. Croissant aux amandes
I know, this addition seems to contradict my title, but to be fair, this is no plain croissant! Croissant aux amandes are identified by the sprinkle of slivered almonds and powdered sugar on top. What’s more, they’re filled with a delectable almond-infused crème pâtissière.