The madness degree of a given foodie can be determined by amount of sacrifice he or she is willing to make in order to get desired food. In other words, where is your limit? Is staying in line for one hour too much? How about 3 hours? How about we add rain to the equation?
I consider myself a moderately crazy foodie. Although I have a feeling that I am sliding towards the total coo-coo side slowly but surely. The thought “Oh, I really shouldn’t, but it would make such a great post for the blog” is pushing me to do the unimaginable.
The craziest thing I have done so far is waiting in line at 7 AM under rain to get Dominique Ansel’s cronut – the most talked-about pastry described by many as a hybrid between croissant and doughnut. In my defense: it’s an absolute must-try if you are a foodie and if you are in New York. Besides, it’s not a simple combination of two pastries, creation process is described on the bakery’s official website:
“Taking 2 months and more than 10 recipes, Chef Dominique Ansel’s creation is not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried. Made with a laminated dough which has been likened to a croissant (but uses a proprietary recipe), the Cronut® pastry is first proofed and then fried in grapeseed oil at a specific temperature. Once cooked, each Cronut® pastry is flavored in three ways: 1. rolled in sugar; 2. filled with cream; and 3. topped with glaze. The Cronut® pastries are made fresh daily, and completely done in house. The entire process takes up to 3 days.”
There’s only one flavor per month, but those flavors sound like music: valrhona chocolate champagne, rum caramelized banana brown sugar, milk & honey (with hint of lavender) – shall I continue or stop the torture? The craze about cronut started almost immediately after the pastry was born. Just days after, hundreds of people were lining up to try the masterpiece.
Here are all the frightening things I learned about cronut on the Internet before visiting the bakery.
- The wait in line takes several hours and doesn’t guarantee you are going to get a cronut: they are sold out quickly after opening.
- On the bright side, while in line you might meet a celebrity. Hugh Jackman is a cronut fan and he himself stayed in line to get the famed pastry (isn’t he a sweet pie?)
- Immense popularity of cronut resulted in a “cronut black market” that, according to Time, “not only charges a whopping 700% premium for the pastries, but only delivers five out of each half-dozen ordered because the delivery person keeps the sixth as a surcharge.”
- To avoid reselling the bakery set a limit of 2 cronuts per person (reminding me of Soviet Union and ration cards).
- Some people reportedly looked through bakery’s trash bags to find cronut leftovers! Now the imperfect cronuts are not simply thrown out from the bakery, they are shredded.
- At City Harvest’s auction in 2013 a dozen freshly baked cronuts was sold for $14,000 in less than twenty minutes.
Scared? I was too, but having already tried Domique Ansel’s creations, I was sure cronut was worth the trouble. Yes, I woke up at 6 am, but I got to walk the empty streets of New York City and that doesn’t happen often. Yes, it was raining, but bad weather was a reason for a slightly shorter line that day.
Yes, I had to wait in queue but was rewarded with freshly-squeezed lemonade and out-of-the-oven madeleine for my dedication – the staff members came out and gave small samples to everybody in line, followed by manager who thanked people for coming so early and waiting. It was sweet.
Here are the things I learned about cronut first-hand:
- The wait is not so painful if you come on a week day which happens to be rainy and gloomy.
- I arrived at 7.15 AM and was inside at 8 AM when the bakery opened.
- Free cookies and lemonade help to pass the time in queue.
- There are plenty other things you will want to buy once inside: frozen s’mores, cookie shots and Paris New York cake look out-of-this-world delicious. Don’t fight that desire!
The question that’s probably escaping your lips now is “Was the cronut worth it?” The answer is: “Absolutely!” It’s a masterpiece of a pastry. Cream is oozing out with each bite leaving you in a state of happy childish mess. Cronut is filled with cream to the brim, but the layers are still flaky and crunchy as you would expect a croissant to be. And even though it’s deep fried, the dough doesn’t feel even remotely oily.
Doughnuts always seemed a little too straight forward to me, simple and lacking some finesse. Cronut took it to a whole new level with its delicate balance of flavors and textures. A masterpiece that is a must-try in New York!
One but, though. Do I think the cronut is tastier than other Dominique Ansel’s pastries? Nah-ah. DKA is just as mind-blowing. Paris-New York cake is as mouthwatering. I simply love the creative genius of Dominique Ansel and will wait in line for whatever he brings to the culinary scene next!
Address: 189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
Hours: Mon – Thu: 8 AM – 7 PM, Fri – Sat: 8 AM – 8 PM, Sun: 9 AM – 8PM
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AUTHOR: YULIA DYUKOVA
Yulia is a Russian food and travel blogger who found home first in Sri Lanka for 3 years, then in Brazil for a year and is currently based in Austin, Texas. She is the kind of person who starts a research of the new country by googling “what to eat in…” instead of “what to visit in…” Yulia is a self-proclaimed “food nerd” who will spend hours reading on the origins of pecan pie before trying it and who doesn’t consider waiting in line of 50 people to get a cronut a waste of time. She finds it hard to keep her delicious findings to herself and that is the reason why this blog exists.