Charlotte Croissant Wars: 4 bakeries blind taste-tested and ranked

Charlotte Croissant Wars: 4 bakeries blind taste-tested and ranked
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I’m a big believer in limiting restaurant spending money to food I can’t or won’t replicate at home. (Spending hard earned dollars on eggs and toast is a huge waste of resources.) Items on my buy list include complicated raw vegan dishes (thanks, Luna’s), kombucha I’m too lazy to brew myself (thanks, Lenny Boy) and pastries of all kinds. Among the more impossible pastries to replicate is the humble but complex croissant.

Charlotte croissants

Deceptively simple  in presentation but painstakingly precise in preparation, the croissant is easy to mess up.

I love these mounds of flaky dough in all their buttery glory and have heard conflicted rumblings about where to get the best one in town. So I did what anyone would do and ate them all in one afternoon. I dragged Ted and Andrew along for the blind taste test.

croissant wars Charlotte

The Contenders

Nova’s Bakery

Location: South End and Plaza Midwood
Plain croissant: $2.20
Chocolate croissant: $2.20

Nova's Charlotte croissant

Nova's Charlotte

Sunflour Baking Company

Location: Elizabeth
Plain croissant: $3.75
Chocolate croissant: Sold out!

Sunflour croissant

Sunflour Charlotte

Renaissance Patisserie

Location: South End
Plain croissant: $2.50
Chocolate croissant: $3.50

Renaissance Patisserie

Renaissance Patisserie

Amelie’s French Bakery

Location: NoDa
Plain croissant: $1.99
Chocolate croissant: $2.99

Amelie's Charlotte

Amelie's Charlotte

The Judges

Ted: two-time unqualified food competition judge; eater of Panda Express

Andrew: dad chef extraordinaire; drinker of Applebee’s cocktails

Katie: highly pro-carb token vegetarian; huge fan of Lemonheads

Since we are clearly food experts with refined palates and lots of competition judging experience, scoring was serious business. Comments included:

  • “Must be a day old.”
  • “Get in my belly.”
  • “Hint of something.” (very helpful)
  • “Is butter a carb?”
  • “Screw this one.”

The Rankings

Plain

  1. Renaissance Patisserie – #1 across the board
  2. Sunflour Baking Company – #2 across the board
  3. Amelie’s French Bakery – Ted and I ranked it #3, Andrew ranked it #4
  4. Nova’s – Ted and I ranked it #4, Andrew ranked it #3

Chocolate

  1. Amelie’s – Ted and I ranked it #1, Andrew ranked it #3
  2. Renaissance Patisserie – #2 across the board
  3. Nova’s – Ted and I ranked it #3, Andrew ranked it #1

The Aftermath/Analysis

New kid in town, Renaissance Patisserie, was the undisputed champion in the plain butter category. We were all surprised to be so unimpressed by Amelie’s, but Ted and I thought they redeemed themselves with their chocolate croissant. Sunflour was a close 2nd in the plain butter category and considering their chocolate croissants were completely sold out, they probably would have fared well too.

I’m very alarmed that Ted and I had identical rankings considering you can’t find two people with more opposing food preferences. I think this fact validates our rankings.

Charlotte croissants

Have you eaten all these croissants? What’d we miss? Hit us up and let the croissant wars continue…

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