It’s been five years since I started working in the St. Boniface area. Le Croissant was one of the first places I reviewed after moving in. I stop by every few weeks or so. I could stop by even more frequently but neither my waistline nor my wallet would appreciate that.
On change in my life since I first visited, is that I have spent a lot of time reading about France and French food. Whether this be in the Bruno novels of Martin Smith, the videos of George Simenon’s Maigret, or the many books I’ve read covering the years when the United States had a love affair with all things related to French food. These have inspired to get out and try various French foods when and where I can.
Over that same period of time, Le Croissant has increased the variety of French cheeses, pates, and other foodstuffs that are available. The most interesting dish I had from there was Le Poulet à L’Estragon, which came in the form of a tinned ready meal. It was pretty good, but the portion size was a little small relative to the cost.
Over the last couple of years I’ve really come to enjoy and appreciate French foods such as Rillettes, Pâtés, and Cretons. These products, generally including the liver and fat of the animal they come from, generally pigs and ducks, although famously or infamously, depending on your opinions, from force fed geese for foie gras. Each of the dishes is rich, flavourful, and filling, so that you don’t need to eat much of them at any one time to fell sated. Especially if you spread them on a fresh, warm baguette.
While Le Croissant carries a wide range of French cheese, they also carry other European such as the above pictured Iberico cheese. If you are looking for something a little different to grate over a pasta dish this cheese would make a great choice.
I enjoyed the platter above as my lunch. Although I put the whole piece of Rillette on the plate when I took the photo, I cut it in half and put half in the fridge. As enjoyable as it is, and as easy as it would be for me to eat the whole thing in one go, I decided it would be best to make it last for at least two meals. I also only ate a relatively small portion of the cheese.
There are other products that I have yet to try, most notably their Tourtiere, but I think I will wait until I need to take something to share for a potluck, or such like before I purchase on of those. You’ll notice immediately below that Le Croissant’s hours can be idiosyncratic at times, so it’s best to phone before you visit.
Note: Le Croissant is closed Monday and Tuesday. Open 8-1 weekdays, til 2pm Saturdays, and 12 noon on Sunday. They also closed periodically without much warning. They bring the Slow Food idea to their bakeshop, making sure there is plenty of time for family and friends.
Since I wrote this post, I have tried their croissants, and they are perfectly light, and fluffy, and it’s enjoyable to tear your teeth into them.
As I’ve mentioned, I start a new job at the beginning of February. I am now the priest at St. Philip’s Anglican Church on Taché Avenue. New jobs bring lots of new learning experiences, a long with the chance to get to meet many new people. It also brings you close to new food haunts. One of these for me is Le Croissant, a French Patisserie just down from the church on Taché.
It’s been a few years since I have been at St. Philip’s with any regularity. As a result, it’s been awhile since I was last at Le Croissant. I would have visited a couple of weeks ago, but the start of my tenure coincided with the owners being away. So I waited, somewhat patiently, for my chance to visit. The visits have definitely been worth the wait.
As odd as you may think me, I haven’t tried Le Croissant’s eponymous pastry. However, I have tried the Pain de Chocolate, which was buttery and flaky with plenty of chocolate inside. Plenty of filling and topping seems to be a characteristic of the products available here.
Among the dessert options is a raspberry filled cookie. This cookie could easily make a nice tea snack shared between two. Just as good is the little chocolate cake I had. This cake has a proper name I’m sure, but I’m just in the habit of pointing and saying, I’ll have one of those chocolate things. I find this method gets the food efficiently from counter, to register, to stomach.
Le Croissant Breads:
While I enjoy the sweets, the bench mark for measuring any bakery should be in the bread they sell. Bread is that most basic of baked goods, the “staff of life” as the saying goes. The breads at Le Croissant are indeed life giving. Not just in the sense of nutrition, but also in being the kind of bread that make life more pleasant.
The baguette that I picked up was still warm, as it was just at opening time when I bought it. It the kind of bread that requires self-restraint not to just tear it apart as you are walking. Well, self-restraint and the fact that I would have dropped my briefcase on the ground. The bread has a crust that snaps apart, and an chewy inside.
The multi-grain bread is a good, crispy crusty on the outside, studded with sesame seeds. The colour is of a light pumpernickel, but with a chewy rye flavour on the inside. The chew on this bread is a little less intense than in the baguette.
They also have some savoury items. I picked up a cheese and tomato pie which makes for a wonderful breakfast choice. You can also pick up some packages of processed products at Le Croissant. I picked up some OKA cheese the other day, but there are about 8-12 different varieties available. I used the Gruyere here to produce my potato salad. Along with the cheeses there are some packaged chocolate and sweets and a few containers of what looked to be beverages, but I didn’t check them out all that closely.
Le Croissant is definitely going to be providing me with some of my breakfast and lunch materials over the coming months. If you want to get there, go closer to opening rather than the closing time, otherwise you may miss out on some of what is on offer. Baked goods this great don’t last long.