Many of you avid Starbucks fans may have noticed the change in the pastry display at your favorite neighborhood coffee chain. Where are your maple cranberry orange scones? What about the marshmallow dream bars? Gone are the dull baggies used to carry your breakfast, and in are unfamiliar pink paper pockets that oddly complement the famous (if slightly odd) mermaid logo. Everything’s changing. I’m confused. Hold me, Starbucks.
The coffee company has recently partnered with La Boulange – a delightful landmark of a French bakery and café in San Francisco – to bring about a new era of offering fine pastries along with your daily hit of caffeine that keeps you functional and happy. Native Frenchman and founder of the bay area bakery, Pascal Rigo, has been whipping up baked goods for most of his life and is finally expanding his puffy little delicacies across the country. When we heard the news that the partnership was happening and La Boulange’s incredible pastries would be making their debut at our local Starbucks, we knew we had to pick some up to try. It was a good life decision.
Here’s what we daintily sampled with grace and dignity (and definitely did not gluttonously shove into our faces): raspberry passion fruit loaf cake, blueberry yogurt muffin with honey, carrot cake muffin with pecans, ham and cheese croissant, and tomato and cheese croissant. (The chocolate croissant didn’t make an appearance here because they are apparently in such high demand that seeing one is akin to crossing paths with a sasquatch…though hopefully more tasty.)
Not only were the muffins moist and the croissants perfectly flakey, but the flavors were well balanced – no cheap knockoffs here. As someone whose morning tastes skew towards the savory over the sweet, the ham and cheese croissant was the clear winner, mostly because the tomato and cheese reminded me too much of pizza. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. For diehard fans of La Boulange, it’s hard to compare to the just-out-of-the-oven freshness and mind-blowing variety of the real thing, but Starbucks has won a huge victory for their food reputation with these new additions. Our only negative was the bit of despair when you realize a few crumbs on your greedy little fingers are all that’s left of your pastry.