Last fall, along with some friends, we invented the best hobby ever. Tasting. As in biking around Boulder finding the best (insert delicious food item here). Our first try was pumpkin muffins, which was illuminating and, of course, seasonal. Our second go was croissant tasting.
A bit of background. Matt and I are super enthusiastic about croissants. They are kind of magic. A simple yeast dough laminated with butter, baked to a crisp on the outside but soft and pillowy inside. We have been looking for the best croissant in Boulder for years.
This is a charming little cafe on the Hill. The word on the street is that their baker used to be at the Kitchen, where he also heavenly croissants before moving to Aion. These croissants are very crispy on the outside. They do not have a ton of loft to the crumb, but are exquisitely buttery. This is my favorite chocolate croissant in town, as the richer texture and taste fit well with the chocolate filling. The plain croissant gets an 8 of 10.
Spruce Confections - 5
We have been fans of this bakery for a long time. We had these croissants at our wedding. They are decent pieces of pastry, but not very dark on the outside. The croissant is a little soft for my taste without much distinction between crust and crumb. They do, however, make a pretty good croissant sandwich. Plain croissant gets a 5 out of 10.
Udi's - 7
As the only place to get excellent artisan bread in town, the Udi's booth at the farmer's market draws a big crowd. If you get there early, they also have pastries - croissants, morning buns, sticky buns, and such. Their croissant is pretty crispy on the outside, but lacking the strong butter flavor of Aion's. 7 out of 10.
Frasca Caffe - 9
Frasca is one of the nicest restaurants in town. They recently opened a caffe next door. These croissants have a crisp crust and a lofty crumb with a heavenly butter flavor. While there was a bit of disagreement on most of the croissants we tasted, everyone on our excursion agreed these were the best. 9 out of 10. However (sadness of sadnesses), they closed the Caffe a few months ago.
Lucky's Bakehouse - 7
This new place on the North side of town won my heart on my first visit. The baked goods are stacked on a wooden board behind a glass barrier and labeled with hand-written cards. They carry a vast, ever-changing array of delicious-looking things. The croissants are apparently popular, because the first time we went, they were out (around 10am). These are a good in between in terms of crust/crumb constrast: not super crispy on the outside, but not too soft either. 7 out of 10.
Part of the spread at Lucky's