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Croissant Battle: Maison Giraud vs. Chaumont

  • J.L. Nov 24, 2013 01:26 AM
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Just tried the relative newcomer's croissant at Chaumont (in Beverly Hills; croissant is pictured) last week. Comparing it with my current croissant fave at Maison Giraud (in Pacific Palisades):

Butteriness: The edge goes to Maison Giraud.

Bite: Chaumont has a slight advantage.

Flakiness: Gotta hand it to Chaumont.

Aroma: Maison Giraud wins in this category.

"French"ness (for lack of a better phrase): A virtual tie.

It's too close for me to call. Someone else cast the deciding vote. I suppose we're fortunate to have this problem here in L.A...

 
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  1. Chaumont is so much easier to get to though...

    "I suppose we're fortunate to have this problem here in L.A..."

    Very fortunate indeed. =D

    1. As much as I like Chaumont and agree with your assessment in all categories and it's virtually in my back door…

      I had one yesterday, hoping to fulfill the Thanksgiving problem of which roll to serve, and I'm afraid I'm going to hand the entire battle to Proof, although I'm in love with Maison Giraud.
      Proof's croissants hold their 'body'.
      A couple of hours went by with croissant at Chaumont and I find it just wasn't the same as when I purchased it.
      Not so with Proof…I can purchase one in the morning and it's no different hours later.
      Sorry to bring in another contender.

      26 Replies
      1. re: latindancer

        I haven't tried Chaumont, but really like Maison Giraud and Proof as well. I couldn't vouch for either holding up well as croissants of this level don't stick around for long in my home. I admire your restraint.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          In this case I want to purchase a croissant that's not going to need a lot of reheating to bring back the integrity for a large group of people
          I don't have alot of restraint (virtually none) when it comes to anything, in the way of baked goods, that's stellar :).

          1. re: latindancer

            Latindancer your pie baking also in my backyard. Want a chowhound feature?

            1. re: jessejames

              LOL….yes! :).

              We could print out baking forms for attendees to handicap.

              1. re: latindancer

                Deal!

        2. re: latindancer

          What is enabling that?... That actually does not sound like a good thing to me. Does Pooof use some sort of preservative in their croissants?

          1. re: Stravinsky

            <preservative in their croissants>

            They're just better croissants, in my opinion.
            I sort of compare it to a piecrust. My piecrust, rich and flaky, is better than most pie crusts I've experienced and lasts more than a day in body. I use no preservatives, I just know how to turn out stellar piecrust that doesn't break down.

            i know you're a big proponent of Chaumont (I *do* like them) but some things are just better than others for no apparent reason other than the person who's making them and their talent.

            1. re: latindancer

              Another tie-breaking vote for Proof.

              They are just better.

              1. re: latindancer

                Well...unfortunately it's very hard to tell what is meant when people stat using phrases like "it's just better" and "for no apparent reason".

                Earlier in the discussion it seems like people were doing a bette job of describing 'better' in terms of specific properties, such as flakiness, butteriness, etc...

                1. re: Stravinsky

                  Its a Proustian thing...

                  1. re: jaykayen

                    It is…-).

                    1. re: jaykayen

                      And here I thought the Proust was in the pudding (or, rather, madeleine).

                    2. re: Stravinsky

                      :).

                      Well, I *do* believe i'm not the only one who stated 'they're just better'…

                      The same could be said about, say, sex.
                      No explanation needed.

                      1. re: latindancer

                        Latindancer!

                        1. re: jessejames

                          Please forgive my brief lapse in judgement :-).

                          1. re: latindancer

                            I like it!

                            1. re: jessejames

                              Ahhh….good.

                              Phew :).

                      2. re: Stravinsky

                        Seriously, without sounding too flippant…

                        Have you ever tasted the croissants at Proof?
                        I'm just curious.

                      3. re: latindancer

                        maybe it needs a little extra something for the schlep back from Glendale?

                      4. re: Stravinsky

                        You probably already know this but breads and pastries are very temperamental things. It could be something as simple as moisture content, which would be my guess. Factors like humidity and even the water content in butter (Euro-style butters typically have less water content, and even this varies between makers) can change the level of moisture in dough, where seemingly small differences like 1-3% can ultimately pan out to make a noticeable difference in the end product, particularly when a bread or pastry is eaten hours apart. With everything else being equal, the higher moisture content will create a more hospitable environment for continual change.

                      5. re: latindancer

                        interesting. that wasn't the case for me: we picked up some croissants (plain) from Proof in the a.m., and when i tried one at about... 4 - 5 p.m. it was worse, definitely.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          also, Proof, cause cortado.

                          Chaumont coffee tastes like burnt Starfucks. It's so fasionably French, I s'pose. Goes so great w/ cigs, though.

                          1. re: TonyC

                            They need a "pain chinois, avec chive et dried shrimp"...

                            1. re: J.L.

                              Where do u get that? Hanoi?

                              1. re: J.L.

                                The closest they have right now to whatever it is you're talking about (sounds interesting) is the savory galette.
                                It's made with root vegetables and is quite tasty.

                              2. re: TonyC

                                <cause cortado>

                                I agree. I love the espresso at Proof and the Chaumont coffee just doesn't do it for me.
                                Interestingly, the owner at Chaumont told me, when I asked what they used, people are asking him to order the beans for them…
                                It comes in a can he showed me.

                            2. Chaumont Tiebreaker for other pasties esp Eclairs.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: jessejames

                                I give you Maison Giraud's other great pastries / danishes...

                                1. re: J.L.

                                  Well sounds like a challenge with all winners. What's your fav that has chocolate?

                                  1. re: jessejames

                                    <What's your fav that has chocolate?>

                                    Neck and neck…

                                    Maison Giraud by a nose.

                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      Which items?

                                      Did u try any of those raspberry cream items at chaumont?

                                      1. re: jessejames

                                        The only thing, besides the croissant(s), that I've tried is the pear tart.
                                        It was wonderful…the crust was perfect.
                                        Are the raspberry cream items good?

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          Incredible. Eclairs too

                                          1. re: jessejames

                                            <eclairs too>

                                            Yes, I had the chocolate one today. It was incredible.

                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              So good. Now u gotta try the coffee one, vanilla one and raspberry one! Not all always available.

                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                Well, I didn't want to come across as a glutton but I *did* take a bite of the coffee one too…

                                                Equally incredible.
                                                They're very rich and dense. It's exactly the way an eclair should be.

                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                  LD-glad you like those too. I am addicted.

                                                  few other things i like there a lot are anything with that raspberry cream. The "missus" is in charge of that dish and created it and it comes in form of eclairs and other pastries there...dynamite...also the breakfast sandwiches served on a kind of eggy bagette (which they call foccacia) and i like it with the scrambled eggs, beef bacon and provolone, and tabasco...make sure to tell them to forget the mayotard (my-oh-naze as they say) and the arugala, and get the fruit salad instead of a salad...something like 7-8 bucks a great deal...it's huge...they also do a nice soft boiled egg which goes nice with the croissant or rolls....funny they do the beef bacon not real bacon, but it's actually quite good...sometimes tho i prefer the real deal.

                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                    I've yet to sit down and actually partake in the menu items…

                                                    While I'm waiting for items to be boxed/bagged I watch as items come out of the kitchen and everything looks beautiful and appetizing.

                                                    The place is growing on me, for sure, and it appears the workers around the area have already caught on as it's usually pretty busy throughout the day.
                                                    Thanks for the heads-up on things to order. I'll have to check it out when time allows :).
                                                    It would be incredible if a place like that stayed around for awhile and if the owners stay the same as they are, with the wonderful hours they keep and the stellar customer service, I think their chances are pretty good.

                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                      I do takeout and call ahead

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        I hope they stay too. They shuddered picklez

                                2. Proof
                                  Maison Giraud
                                  Chaumont

                                  I go to Chaumont way more though because MG is just so much further for me.

                                  1. Great that there's a close contender.

                                    MG's croissant is an exercise - no, scratch that, a difficult, heart-wrenching, nearly impossibly exercise in self-control.

                                    I could eat 10.

                                    I would also recommend the croissant at Farmshop. In fact their chocolate chip cookie exhibits some kind of mind-control over me whenever I go to the Brentwood Country Mart. I go in saying "Okay a couple tacos at Frida's and I'm off AND NO COOKIE!" And I seem to get one every time. (sometimes cookie and croissant).

                                    1. Not had Chaumont, but thought Proof and Maison Giraud were too close to call. Flakiness I think goes the Maison Giraud but the ones we had were VERY greasy, which was a little off-putting.

                                      latindancer, I know what you mean about wanting croissants that stay good for at least a few hrs (which is my main prob w/ Amandine.... They need to be re-heated usually, which is unfortunate since they're only a block away from me!).

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: ilysla

                                        I know what you mean.

                                        I've been hoping I could feel the same way about Chaumont's like I do Proof or Maison Giraud…they're definitely good but I just like the others better.
                                        It's just way more convenient for me, like Amandine is for you.
                                        But, like everything else when it comes to food, the 'best' is just worth the drive and traffic headache.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          Agreed.... which is why I'm a fairly frequent customer at Literati. =P I don't go to Amandine much simply b/c I'm not a pastry kind of guy (at least, not on a consistent basis), and they don't open late enough for me to have dinner there (I do rather enjoy their quiches and sandwiches).

                                        2. re: ilysla

                                          Exactly my take on MG; always too greasy.

                                        3. This is something I'd be remiss if not mentioning.

                                          Today I went to Chaumont to order a couple of things for Thanksgiving, being I'm swamped the day before and day of with cooking and baking.

                                          I was so touched by the owner's attention to detail and concern for the customer.
                                          I was very pleasantly surprised when I asked when I should pick them up, obviously the later the better the day before Thanksgiving. I'm a stickler for freshness.
                                          He told me to come in Thanksgiving morning…they'll be open from opening (6:30) to closing…noon.
                                          What place does that? None that I"m aware of, when it comes to bakeries.
                                          Awesome, awesome, awesome customer service.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: latindancer

                                            Indeed, the owners are an awesome couple. They work the front end pretty much every day themselves. There are very few people/places I am so happy to give my money to =D

                                            My only wish is that they had the bottled coffee from G&B instead of the stuff they currently stock...but it's a fairly small complaint.

                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              I always pick up our pie the day of Thanksgiving when ordering from MG. I thought that was standard for bakeries.

                                            2. I may have to try Chaumont again; I wasn't that impressed the first time; What a really cute couple, though. My personal favorite is Maison Giraud

                                              Need to get to Proof sometime.

                                              The new Sweet Rose Creamery on Pico offers a whole wheat croissant that really works well. My personal criteria is that I can taste the crispy layers.

                                              1. I've bought croissants at Amandine, Milo & Olive, Farmshop and Maison Giraud. Giraud is probably the best, though Farmshop is very close. The only problem I have with Giraud is that their website Bakery list erroneously indicates a croissant is $3.00, whereas it is really $3.98 ($3.65 plus tax), which is the same price they charge if you eat it at the restaurant. No other bakery that I know of charges tax on take out items.

                                                1. Though not in contention with a good butter croissant - Rockenwagner bakery just upped their game in the croissant world. I wasn't crazy about their standard one - wasn't crispy enough, not flaky enough - but I love their pretzel croissant. Just that the other day, they were out of their pretzel croissants and I tried the regular variant - much improved and very good.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                    I also like that pretzel version. Pretzel-anything here is worthy.

                                                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                      Their almond croissant is worthy as well. I'm sure I've mentioned both at least once/twice in the past.

                                                    2. It is surprisingly difficult to find a decent croissant in LA. Proof is the only place I have found so far that comes close to a Parisian croissant. I have heard rumors, however, of a place in Studio City that has an imported Belgian oven and superlative croissants. Anyone else heard that?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: HayDegha0917

                                                        Would I be correct or incorrect in assuming that you have not tried Maison Giraud's croissant? If you have not, it would be interesting to see if you find that these do in fact compare somewhat favorably to those found in Paris, as well as to those found at Proof.

                                                      2. Amandines makes the best, still. And then I go to Whole Foods for theirs. Price is a factor for me and to pay more than $2 for a croissant is ludicrous when it is a morning staple in France for 1.50 Euros.

                                                        Y'all can argue over your $4-$6 pastries

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: dharmathug

                                                          The last time I went to Amandine, less than a month ago, their big plain croissant was still $1.95, to go. They bake a miniature for $1.35, I think. Their croissant is excellent. I agree -- I really don't want to pay three dollars or more for a croissant. Shoot, i can get a really good -- albeit not as layerly but cheese-filled and i like the strawberry -- sweet dense croissant at Portos for barely over a buck.

                                                          1. re: nosh

                                                            I respect that. Everyone has their own point of diminishing returns...

                                                        2. If you haven't tried B-1 bakery in downtown L.A. you've missed the most scrumptious croissants this side of Paris. The French owner knows how to make authentic buttery, crispy, aromatic croissants!

                                                          1. i agree with HayDegha0917: Proof in Atwater Village.

                                                            ETA: and everyone else championing Proof. Proof is just excellent overall.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: hpsquared

                                                              <Proof is just excellent overall>

                                                              I'm pretty sure I've tried everything they have to offer…

                                                              You're right.
                                                              Everything is stellar.

                                                            2. i need to try these two croissants but wanted to jump in and say that auntie em's croissant is the best one i've ever had. i can only eat half at a time, it's so filling. i think it's $3.50. it's buttery perfection.

                                                              1. noting a new flavor of eclairs today, pistachio at Chaumont....

                                                                1. I live near Maison Giraurd and do the PP Farmers Mkt every Sunday,
                                                                  but unfortunatelyi do not like their croissants at all, and find the food very overrated also.
                                                                  If maison giraurd were good, it would be my Sunday choice.
                                                                  Most of us locals feel the same.
                                                                  (Trader Joe's croissants that you proof and bake are
                                                                  so much better.)

                                                                  1. OK, in the spirit of friendly competition, I finally made it out to Proof Bakery & Cafe in Atwater Village just before Christmas to sample a third candidate in this battle.

                                                                    ... And I think our third candidate from Proof might just win the whole thing (but by the slimmest of margins, mind you).

                                                                    Man! What a great croissant!

                                                                    I thought the croissant from Proof Bakery (pictured) had the best bite, flakiness, and overall flavor of all three contestants.

                                                                    Thanks to all the 'Hounds for (again) pointing me in the right direction!

                                                                     
                                                                    1. Looking for any other contenders. Bueller?...

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                        Bread Lounge makes a kick-ass Kouign-Amann.

                                                                        Any baker that can a good kouign-amann, I trust can make a kick-ass croissant.

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          BreadLounge already bakes my top baguette in L.A. - Just haven't had a chance to try their croissant yet...

                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                            Their kouign-amann kicks-ass, and I don't even like butter.

                                                                            If you can do kouign-amann well, then a croissant should be like "a walk in the park, Kazansky"

                                                                      2. I finally tried Chaumont this weekend, in addition to going back to Proof as a reminder.

                                                                        MG is still tops. It wins on butteriness and Frenchness - it just tastes "correct". But Chaumont is very close, and I would agree on the flakiness. A nicely satisfying shatter.

                                                                        Proof wasn't as good as I remember it - seemed to be lacking in the butter department. Was it always somewhat healthier?