This weekend, my friends Hanah, Jessica and I participated in Croissant Battle San Francisco 2018 at the fabulous French-Vietnamese bistro Le Colonial. When I saw this desciption for the event, I knew I had to be there: "in front of a panel of professional chefs and a special French celebrity guest, the finest bakeries in the Bay area will compete to be the Best Croissant in San Francisco."
While the judges were going to award the official "best croissant" award, the participants also could confer a "Fan Favorite" on the best croissant and pain au chocolat from a bakery. I was up to the challenge!
My friends and I arrived early to get a good start on all the pastries. As we entered into the restaurant, we saw that there were a half-dozen stations for each bakery, including:
- b. patisserie
- Le Marais
- Neighbor Bakehouse
- Midwife and Baker
- Jane the Bakery
Each station featured samples of their plain croissant and pain au chocolat for judging, as well as other select French pastries. At b. patisserie they had, of course, two varieties of kouign amman (plain and black sesame), their passionfruit bostock, and a few other items. Arsicault served samples of their amazing almond croissant — perhaps my favorite in the city. Neighbor Bakehouse had several of their delicious sweet and savory pastries. The best selection I thought was at Jane the Bakery, including a very solid kouign amman and a delicious pain au chocolat.
By the first hour, I had eaten so many french pastries I couldn't imagine another bite. Which is saying a lot for me.
As for my vote for "Fan Favorite," I went for Midwife and Baker for their whole grain croissants. Such nice texture on the outside, and just the right amount of butter and salt on the inside. Jane the Bakery was a close second for me, for their delicious pain au chocolat. (Surprisingly, I found b. pattiserie's croissant and pain au chocolat to be kind of sad and bland.)
I of course called the official winners: Midwife and the Baker won the Fan Favorite award, and Jane the Bakery won the professional juried contest.
Overall, a well run event, with an friendly and diverse crowd, with an incredible selection of pastries. Well worth the $20 I paid for it.