Some of you may be late to catch onto the Cronut craze, as was I, and you may be thinking that a croissant-doughnut hybrid is nothing worth going on about. First let’s get the facts out of the way:
- The Cronut™ was created by Dominique Ansel and launched in May 2013.
- Dominique Ansel’s Bakery is located 189 Spring Street in New York City.
Whilst the bakery advises that customers begin to queue at 7 a.m. each morning I decided that leaving my house at 8:21 a.m. would give enough time for me to get one of some 350 Cronuts that are made each day. I arrived at the bakery and was surprised by the basic décor, poor lighting and impractical setup that causes congestion but I was not deterred as I wanted to see if the “proof was in the pudding” as they say. There was quite a line when I arrived but not one that seemed unbearable so I took my place and stood beside a window where a lady was working the dough diligently, which provided a little entertainment that added to the excitement of being able to taste one of Dominique’s famous creations. The smell of yeast was rife; although it is not a smell I find appealing I did appreciate that everything on sale was being made from scratch.
There was clearly anxiety in the air as the clock ticked and everyone in line seemed to be ordering Cronuts so I began thinking about what else I would order since surely there would be no more once I got to the front of the line. Just as I was about to order I heard a lady tell the cashier “only one more Cronut” and when the cashier asked what I would like I responded “that last Cronut please” with a huge grin. I did feel a bit guilty for the people behind me in the queue but I also felt quite triumphant that I had bought the last Cronut of the day!
The verdict: the Cronut is delicious, I am not a fan of doughnuts but this sweet treat is like nothing I have ever tasted. The texture is complex – crunchy but airy at the same time – and it looks so simple but the taste is surprising. It was so good I did contemplate lining up again the following day to enjoy the experience of eating another but they only serve one flavour a month. This brings me to a few minor negatives: the flavour I had was called Caribbean Rum and Raisin but tasted more like Apple Crumble since I did not pick up on the flavour of the Caribbean or the Rum; I would have liked a bit more filling in the centre and I do think that one flavour a month is slightly disappointing.
After dreaming about Cronuts when I returned to London I began doing some research about where I could relive my New York experience. I settled on Cocomaya at 3 Porchester Place probably because their bright pink logo spoke to me. Cocomaya looks inviting, I loved the mix-match teacups and saucers, the display of fresh pastries but the staff were not welcoming and the ambience was frosty. The music selection was confusing, beginning with Nico & Vinz ‘Am I Wrong’ followed by spa music and then the sounds of the radio. There was a communal table but no communal atmosphere; things did not begin very well but I remained optimistic.
In short the “CocoDoughs” (as they are called so as to not infringe on Dominique’s trademark) do not come close to Cronuts. They are too sweet, no crunch, no croissant element and instead taste like an overfilled doughnuts. Perhaps the problem was that I wanted to find an experience that was identical to that I had enjoyed in NYC because if you wanted a filled doughnut you would have probably have been more than satisfied with the Tiramisu CocoDough. I love the name Cocomaya, I love the website, the vibrancy of the pink logo and the coffee but that’s about it, for the bakery feels just as soulless as the street is resides on.
I guess I learned that very rarely can imitations outdo the original.
Live, Love, Eat!