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Pastry Profiles: Almond Croissant, La Boulange, San Francisco

La Boulange

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm an expert on almond croissants.

But as someone who has eaten many almond croissants in life (it's kind of my job, you know), I have sampled enough to know what works and what doesn't. 

And the version from La Boulange in San Francisco works.

In case you don't know the establishment, La Boulange is a small bakery-cafe chain in the San Francisco area. Well, it was a small chain. Until it was purchased by Starbucks last year for $100 million. 

Yes: One Hundred Million Dollars. Pardon my pun, but that's a lot of dough.

I have been a big fan of La Boulange since before the takeover--one of their locations is just a few blocks away from SpySis's apartment. So far, not much has changed following the purchase. The pastry offerings seem the same, and that is a good thing, because in my opinion, they are exquisite. Especially the almond croissant. I mean...look at this.

Almond Croissant, La Boulange

Almond croissant is possibly the cleverest and most delicious use of day-old croissants, wherein you split the buttery treat, coat the inside with almond paste, and re-bake. At La Boulange, they not only use a nearly obscene amount of almond paste inside of the croissant, but use more on top, which not only makes it almond-y heaven but also acts as "glue" to hold on an armadillo-like coating of almond slices.

Those almonds on top crisply crunch when you bite into the treat, giving way to a soft, pillowy interior, gooey with almond paste, and then another light crunch when you reach the toasty bottom of the croissant. 

Just looking at the pictures make me want to cry, just a little, because I don't have one right now to eat.

La Boulange

But I'll always have my memories. And hopefully, following the Starbucks takeover, not one thing changes about this recipe.

La Boulange, various locations in the SF Bay area; find one online here.

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Reader Comments (3)

La Boulange baked goods are factory made with low quality -- think Sysco -- ingredients. When Pascal Rigo morphed La Boulangerie (an actual bakery) into the La Boulange franchise, they adopted the standcard chain/mass-market formula -- cheap ingredients produced into product at wholesale scale sold with a high margin in an atmosphere that attempts to convey authenticity. No wonder Starbucks bought them -- it's the same model applied to food that Starbucks applied to coffee.

In a city that has many authentic small bakeries run by borderline masochistic bakers that get up in the middle of the night to put out wonderful baked goods made with care, it's incredibly disappointing that you are pimping for Starbucks.
January 6 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Merritt
Hi Brian, my goal was not to disappoint, it was to celebrate a sweet eating experience that I really enjoyed. I don't necessarily do "reviews" on this site but more write about good experiences I have had, to keep this a joyful place. I feel that enjoyment can come on all levels with sweet treats, from Twinkies or Tastykakes or a Dunkin Donut to an exquisite pastry from Tartine or Arizmendi.
January 6 | Unregistered Commentercakespy
i am so glad you posed this as i LOVE and dream of this treat. I am going to learn to bake these in case starbucks changes the way they do this.

The use of day old was a good tip as i wondered if they baked these with filling in and on top

thanks again I also wonder if they make there own almond filling as almonds are plentiful near and the expense of buying it. i think the croissant on columbus street La Bolange is extra creamy and drips out when you bite in
February 20 | Unregistered Commentermarky

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