For the first installment of our Croissant Critique series, we ordered from Lost Larson at the recommendation of our followers! This gorgeous bakery recently opened a storefront in Wicker Park, and its original location is in culturally-Swedish Andersonville, which makes it less surprising that Lost Larson has a strong Scandinavian influence.
The pastries we sampled were so delicious and unique that we decided to rate each of them based on their flakiness, flavor, butteriness, lamination (how shiny they are), presentation (how they looked), and whether they were more traditional or innovative. Read on to learn our thoughts on each croissant that we sampled!
The first treat we tried, a tebirkes, is classic in Denmark! This poppyseed-covered and almond cream-filled pastry is more savory than sweet, with a refreshing and unique flavor. Wrapped up in a pain au chocolat shape, the tebirkes (valued at $4.75) was absolutely delicious!
Tebirkes Final Grade
Lamination: 2/10 (coated in poppyseeds)
Innovation: definitely unique to most Americans
Lost Larson’s pain au chocolat, $5, was the most chocolatey croissant we’ve ever tried! With notes of cardamom and mocha, it had a more complex flavor than other bakeries’ pain au chocolat, and it boasted a consistent amount of chocolate throughout the pastry (instead of just a few chocolate chunks in the middle).
Pain au Chocolat Final Grade
Innovation: A unique take on a classic
The almond croissant had a dense, concentrated almond filling. Admittedly, it was a bit over-toasted, causing a slight burnt taste, but the sugar and almond dusting on the top made for a great presentation. And considering that it cost $5.25, this wasn’t the best almond croissant we’ve ever had, but it was still tasty!
Almond Croissant Final Grade
Lamination: 6/10 (hidden by powdered sugar)
Nutella, caramel drizzle, and extra chocolate? Sign me up! This delicious hazelnut chocolate croissant was so rich, filling, and massive that it could be a whole meal (for $5.75). However, we’re not sure it warrants the “croissant” name, because a true croissant would be in a crescent shape with a simple taste, while this was more like a round personal cake with borderline-crowded flavors and sweetness.
Hazelnut Chocolate “Croissant” Final Grade
Innovation: very innovative
Lost Larson’s classic croissant, which goes for $3.75, won our hearts over with a great buttery texture, generous size, beautifully golden color, and the ideal chewy interior. If you’re heading to the bakery for the first time, you should beeline to the plain croissant, which has clearly been perfected by the team at at Lost Larson!
Classic Croissant Final Grade
For more French food and culture, take a look at the Alliance Française de Chicago’s wine & gastronomy events! We also offer a wide array of French classes, summer camps, social events, and more. Also, keep your eyes peeled for our next Croissant Critique. À bientôt !