Ranking Of Where To Get The Best Pain Au Chocolat In The USA
This is going to be the last post about France for a while. I was so lucky to get to spend a couple weeks in France this summer and I’ve loved writing about the experience. But all good things come to an end. In this last post, I’ve decided to try all the different pain au chocolat in the US (that I could think of) and rank them based on how they fare against the real thing in France.
It was a tough job but I rallied my family members and we taste tested 4 different versions of the pastry.
Pain Au Chocolat vs. Chocolate Croissant
First, a quick note. I realize most people think I’m talking about a chocolate croissant. But a croissant is a pastry that gets its name from its shape. The pastries I’m talking about look like little buns (a.k.a. pain in French). It would be like if we called limes green lemons. Limes aren’t green lemons. They are their own thing.
The Taste Test
I had my niece, nephews and sister help me out with the taste testing. Believe it or not, on the day of the sampling, Starbucks’ manufacturers of ‘chocolate croissants’ had run out and no Starbucks in the area had any in stock. So it had to be a two pastry taste test.
1. Trader Joe’s:
Trader Joe’s sells these lovely pastries in packs of 4. They are about $4 for the pack (so $1 per pastry) and come frozen.
-They are so fresh since you cook them at home
-The price is right!
-They are pretty darn tasty
-You have to plan ahead of time if you are going to make these because they need to thaw overnight
-While they are delicious, they did not win the taste test. Only 1 out of the 5 tasters liked this version the best. However, once the price difference was revealed, everyone agreed they would buy these over the more expensive ones.
2. Local bakery- La Fillette:
Many local bakeries around the nation will make their own pains au chocolat. You need to find an actual bakery, not a coffee shop that gets them delivered in from who knows where. In Denver there are two such places. I bought the pastry from La Fillette. The cost was $5/ pastry (yikes!)
-They were delicious! Four out of 5 taste testers preferred this version of the pastry. Although my sister put it best when she said: “You are asking me to review two amazing things. One is more amazing than the other but that doesn’t really mean much.”
-Convenience. Unlike the Trader Joe’s version, you don’t need to worry about making these in advance. In a pain au chocolat emergency, these are the best bet! 🙂
-The price. You could almost get 5 of these pastries from Trader Joe’s for $5.
While Starbucks didn’t make it to our taste test, they still deserve an honorable mention. Their pastries are around $2.50 (depending on where you live).
I’ll give my own personal review of these. I would say these are a average. They have the pro of being convenient and not too expensive but they aren’t freshly made. If you are looking for a treat, I would opt for a fresh version of this French snack!