Even if you care little for bakeries, and sugary treats leave you cold, there’s a strong possibility that you have heard of the Cronut®, french chef Dominique Ansel’s signature half croissant, half doughnut pastry. Originally just another quirky news item on a blog when they first launched back in 2013, within days the Cronut’s® existence had become a viral phenomenon, capturing the attention of news media globally, with insane queues forming daily outside Ansel’s tiny Manhattan bakery, and stories of Cronuts® selling for $50 000 to people with more money than sense. It’s certainly true that, due to its limited production, the Cronut® spawned a black market in New York with scalpers buying them for $5 and reselling them for up to $100 each or $5,000 for an order of 20. (Wiki)
Fast forward to 2016 and Ansel, with the help of backers, is taking his famous sweet-toothed creations around the world – his first satellite bakery opened in Tokyo and this month sees his London bakery open up in Belgravia to the inevitable media storm
To celebrate – and whip up that media storm even further – Ansel’s PR booked a capsule on the London Eye for a series of rotations and invited the UK’s food media and a few digital hacks on board to
sample stuff their faces with the confections that have been developed exclusively for London.
This was what awaited us on board at 9am.
Of course there were Cronuts: The Cronut® brand and product is a registered trademark of Dominique Ansel Bakery in the U.S. and in most countries internationally, including the U.K, so that means that Cronut® pastries are only available in Dominique Ansel bakeries New York, Tokyo, and London.
In the London bakery you can also get the famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot, which is filled with cold-infused Tahitian vanilla milk. (below), as well as all sorts of treats, from Liquid Caramel Peanut Butter Mousse Cake to the Paris – London, a twist on the classic Paris-Brest, made with Earl Grey mousse, lemon curd and blackberry ganache.
The bakery also serves soups, tartines, Croques Monsieur, salads and even avocado toast.
I don’t have a massively sweet tooth, so I sampled all the sugary snacks, but really went to town on this:
the Welsh Rarebit Croissant, filled with a moreish proprietary Cheddar Béchamel with wholegrain mustard, Fontina, Guinness, and Worcestershire sauce. It was excellent, and even better when popped in an oven at home for ten minutes to warm through.
There was also a lot of love for this very clever thing: a strawberry Eton Mess, which you shake up in the box. Those aren’t actually strawberries: they’re made of mousse and jam, and the mini meringues are black pepper and the cream is fromage blanc. It was very good.
And then, thirty minutes later, it was back to terra firma. Before we left we were each handed an empty box and commanded to help ourselves to the leftovers. I have two words: ravening wolves.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
17-21 Elizabeth St, London SW1W 9RP