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Croissant Taste-Off at the lab: Masse's vs La Farine

Coolbean98 Sep 26, 2003 06:53 PM

So today at work we did a croissant-off between Masse's and La Farine (both in Berkeley). We tried to be scientific about it (we are scientists, after all), but conclusive results can only be obtained by repeated tastings (I hope).

Experiment: Croissant Taste-Off
By: Coolbean98, Mary Kate, and Desserker

Hypothesis: Masse's criossants are yummier than La Farine's.

Materials and Methods: 3 plain croissants each from Masse's ($1.75 each) and La Farine ($1.50 each) were purchased and placed in identical pastry bags. The bags were weighed before eating. The croissants were divided into 3 parts (two tips and a middle), so each taster tried the same section from each bakery's croissant. 4 tasters were blinded during the tasting.

- Weight: Masse's bad was 3 ounces heavier. We hypothesize that this is butter weight, but further investigation is needed.
- Appearance: La Farine had a nicer shape - it was more curved and have more defined layers.
- Crispiness: Masse's won. That's pretty much it.
- Flavor: La Farine was more salty, while Masse's had a sweeter flavor, and one judge commented that it was almost nutty in its butteriness.

Conclusion: Masse's was the more popular croissant.

Recommendations for Future Studies: Chocolatines and Pan au Raisin

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  1. m
    mmmmmmmmmm Sep 26, 2003 07:22 PM

    I would say that if "4 people were blinded during the tasting" -- both Masse's and La Farine have exceedingly dangerous croissants.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mmmmmmmmmm
      coolbean98 Sep 26, 2003 07:31 PM

      Safety goggles. You know it.

    2. r
      rcc Sep 26, 2003 07:31 PM

      Under normal circumstances, I would say that you sure have plenty of time on your hands.
      However, and admittedly, being a croissantoholic that I am, I'll say that that's definitely time well spent.
      Now, if I can only get my hand on some of those croissants from Masse's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rcc
        coolbean98 Sep 26, 2003 07:37 PM

        LOL! It's nice that we can put our nerdiness to good use. ;)

      2. n
        Nathan Landau Sep 26, 2003 08:39 PM

        This is an inspired piece of what my family calls "play work." You'll need to repeat this when the Solano Ave. La Farine opens up, to see if you get the same results.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Nathan Landau
          coolbean98 Sep 26, 2003 11:17 PM

          I just heard!!! That's on my way to work too - I can't wait! :o)

          I will repeat as many times as I have to in the name of, uh, science.

          1. re: coolbean98
            Melanie Wong Sep 27, 2003 03:01 AM

            Hmmm, wondering what else we can ask you to taste test/compare in the interest of science? Gotta put that fertile mind to work.

            La Farine has been my favorite croissant, although I haven't had one for a year or two. Now, I'm even more interested in trying Masse's.

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              coolbean98 Sep 29, 2003 02:42 PM

              I was actually really routing for La Farine because it was also my favorite! I was sure that La Farine's was the one I was voting for, too, but it turned out to be Masse's. I still like La Farine, though, because I like that it's saltier. :)

        2. l
          Lost in San Diego Sep 27, 2003 11:36 AM

          Great post! Headed to Berkeley next weekend for homecoming and would appreciate locations. Does either shop also make their own preserves? How do these croissants compare to La Nouvelle Patisserie in SF? Thanks.

          PS Any recommendations for a pre-game lunch?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Lost in San Diego
            Nathan Landau Sep 28, 2003 02:53 AM

            The existing La Farine is at 6323 College Ave. in the Rockridge section of Oakland, just south of Alcatraz Ave. and the Berkeley line.

            Masse's is at 1469 Shattuck Ave. in the North Shattuck "gourmet ghetto" area of Berkeley.

            I don't know about the jam.

            I'm waiting for the day I can go back to Extraordinary Deserts in San Diego.

            1. re: Lost in San Diego
              Alexandra Sep 29, 2003 12:48 PM

              If Homecoming is on a Saturday, you could go to Cheeseboard for pizza (do a search for cheeseboard on the board and you'll find no end of debate about the place - most people agree that it's unique and great, though). Cheeseboard is in the same neighborhood as Masse's - Shattuck at Vine in North Berkeley.

              There's also Gregoire in that neighborhood - good, if a tad pricey, take-out French prepared by Gregoire himself. Great deep-fried potato puffs! There are about four seats outside if you can snag 'em. Cedar at Shattuck.

            2. s
              Sharuf Sep 27, 2003 11:37 AM

              If you get to San Rafael, try
              -- Le Croissant on Bellam
              -- Taste of Tyrol at Northgate 1
              -- International Deli at Northgate 2

              Le Croissant's are the biggest (huge, actually) and costliest (@ $2.00)
              Taste of Tyrol cost a bit less, and International Deli's are the best deal at $1.25. They are all wonderful.

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