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Oh la la…

February 8, 2010

A few months ago Eugenia Theodosopoulos told us that her friend and mentor Jean Louis Clement was coming from Paris to work with her at Essence Bakery Cafe. He was coming for a week to help Eugenia and her staff refine and perfect some new recipes and products for the bakery. Jean Louis is a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) en Boulangerie/Veinnoiserie recipient. He earned the MOF award in bread baking. This is the highest and most distinguished honor a chef can receive in France and Jean Louis was presented the award by the President of France.

I asked if I could come and just sit and observe (and hopefully taste test, sample and indulge) while they went about their work. Sadly, as excited as I was to meet Jean Louis, when that day came I had a head cold that no chef would want near a kitchen.

But lucky for me a little box from Essence found its way to me and look what was inside!

It was a beautiful sampling of the croissants Eugenia and Jean Louis created. There was one traditional croissant, as well as a two an chocolate and almond version. They were perfect and a reminder nothing can replace authenticity. These croissants are the real deal, not Americanized version of a croissant. A Parisian would be proud.

Each bite took me through a million buttery layers from the top crunchy shell down through to the airy center. They have a rich buttery decadence with just a hint of salt. Croissants are so beautifully complex. They are light and yet rich, flakey and still chewy, they can be a breakfast or a dessert. I would have thought that the chocolate would be my favorite, but the almond croissant won out. I don’t know what it was, the sweet almond filling, the dusting of confectioners sugar on top, the little slivers of almonds. All of them were thoroughly enjoyed in our home.

I am still very sad that I missed meeting Jean Louis and watching as he and Eugenia create a little of Parisian magic in Tempe, but I am so grateful to now enjoy the results of their work. You too can enjoy the gift that she and Jean Louis brought to our valley at the Essence Bakery Cafe. You can also see them for yourself online. Eugenia posted a video of their work on her website. Bob said he didn’t know that croissants could taste like that. They can, although not on this side of the Atlantic, until now.

Essence Bakery Cafe
825 W. University Drive
Tempe, Arizona 85281
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