Flaky, buttery, crispy with a pillowy soft interior -- warm croissants fresh from the oven accompanied with a large bowl of café au lait are the classic components of a petit déjeuner, or a small French breakfast (although they're actually an adaptation of a Viennese pastry).
Francophiles living in the East Bay are fortunate to have several delightful French bakeries to satisfy their pastry fix, and these are worth traveling to if you live outside of the area. Let us know your favorites in the comments.
After spending several weeks in France this summer, I helped stave off my croissant withdrawal by heading over to Fournée Bakery. They have a bountiful and magnificent buffet of picture-perfect croissants that rival what you'd find in Paris: traditional, ham-and-Manchego, roasted tomato-and-goat cheese and more (along with all of their fine breads, sandwiches, pizzas and glorious desserts). But their ham-and-egg croissant, with the meaty accoutrements baked into its center, is a truly inspired creation. It's all you need (plus coffee, of course) for a gourmet continental breakfast.
Best Croissant du Jour
New to Alameda, Crispian Bakery opened up its doors this past August and offers a fine array of baked goods -- including several tantalizing croissants. While you could opt for butter, pain au chocolat, almond, or ham-and-cheese, their specialty croissant (which varies daily) is quite often their standout offering. On a recent visit, an almond-chocolate-pear confection dusted with powdered sugar was a sublime trifecta of sweet flavors.