Restaurant: Boulangerie Cho Pain
Last visited: Sept. 25, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC (Downtown/West end)
1165 Davie Street
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Authentic Parisian bakery - operated by French people with cute accents!
- French baker/pastry chefs
- Offers 125+ classic European breads and rolls
- Fresh breads and pastries prepared daily
- Small selection of savoury snacks available: quiche/sandwiches
- Espresso/lattes available
- Few tables and chairs for sit down
- Casual atmosphere
- Closed Monday
** Recommendation: Gateau Basque, Paris Brest Hazelnut Choux, Almond Croissant
This is perhaps my favorite bakery in Vancouver - well it's my favourite FRENCH bakery - but I haven't tried enough in Vancouver to compare. These are your traditional French pastries, so don't expect anything like "Matcha whatever" or "Coconut whatever" or "Tropical blah blah blah". The selections are very authentic and very French. As soon as I walk in I feel like I'm in Paris again, especially since all the staff have these cute French accents. I feel like ordering in French too - but I can't so I just do it in English. Je veux un croissant aux almondes sil vous plait? Not bad huh?
The pastries here are amazing! You can't help but to ohhh and ahhh at them while exploring their display cases. Quality ingredients and French techniques. It's comparable to many French bakeries in France - it's not comparable to the BEST French bakeries in France though. They have some really good ones there. I would know because I researched the heck out of them and made it a priority to visit them all! =) This is in between a good one and a gourmet one. Vancouver is lucky to have one of this standard.
They serve all the typical pastries and breads, and some fancier ones, but the ones that take longer to make aren't there. The only thing is walking by I should be able to smell the aroma of freshly baked breads and pastries - but I don't. They claim to be "made fresh daily" and I believe that most their stuff is because I can see the bakers in the kitchen, but they don't have the volume to make it fresh DAILY so I doubt everything is. The popular items probably are though, like their croissants and baguettes. I haven't experienced a stale pastry yet and it's hard to determine which ones were from yesterday especially if you don't walk by it everyday.
- **Almond Croissant 6/6
- I may be biased because these are my favourite! I LOVE these and had one every single morning for breakfast...along side with my 5 other pastries...and omelette or croque monsieur/madame. Need to start my morning with a healthy start right?
- Seriously these are delicious and these are comparable to the ones I had in Paris. They're sweet and nutty and flaky and just all around delicious! There's a sweet almond paste in the middle that makes it all so much more decadent! The top is covered with almonds which is so important. They could have held back on the icing sugar though - slightly too much for my liking because the almond paste in the middle is already sweet enough.
- These are not really your light and airy croissants, they are denser and flakier. A must try! They aren't especially good here or anything, but you can't find more authentic almond croissants in Vancouver...at least I can't find them....if you can please send me a message!
- **Gateux Basque 6/6
- Oh my....this is another must try. Again I may be biased because I LOVE almond flavoured desserts. I will bring someone here just to try this dessert. I like to think of it as a bread of cake more than a dessert so there's no need to feel guilty for eating it. It's not that sweet, which means not as many calories!!! ;)
- There are many versions of this tart/cake. They make it more like a cake here. It's a very fragrant cake that originates from the Basque region of France.
- This is a dense but also a soft kind of cake. This one in particular is not too sweet, but still satisfies a sweet tooth. Almost like the almond croissant would. It tastes like there's some alcohol, I think Rum, but I asked and apparently there isn't...? I question that though because it just kind of lingers a little Rum/licorice aftertaste, a really subtle one...it could be the almond extract?
- It has this almond/nutty flavour that makes it very aromatic. I think they used almond oil in it which is why the flavour is so rich and prominent. The flour could be almond flour or some flour with ground up almonds. It's more than just almond extract. It's a beautiful flavour.
- It's moist with a soft middle and harder edges because of the baking. Some bakers will fill the middle with fruit preserves or pastry cream, but not this one. The dough/batter is great just as is. It's not indulgent but you want to indulge in many slices...if that makes any sense? It kind of has a crumbly texture...it's amazing. You NEED to try this. It's only $2.75 too.
- **Paris - Brest Hazelnut Choux 4.5/6
- Isn't it pretty?! This is hazelnut mousse sandwiched between a freshly baked puff pastry. Underneath the hazelnut mousse is a layer of fresh raspberries. The top of the puff pastry is dipped in chocolate!
- Ok so you think it's super decadent, and it is but it's not as sweet as it looks. Yes it's rich, but it's also made well with fresh quality ingredients, so you don't feel like you're eating fake sweeteners or fillers. It's also not soggy and hold really well.
- It would be a bit much for me to eat alone, because it is quite big, but it is very enjoyable. The mousse tastes like a Ferraro Rocher in mousse form. Smooth and creamy texture. No cheap waxy taste. The raspberries are really fresh and a great compliment. It's sweet and tangy and chocolaty and nutty!
- It is hard to eat though because the mousse squishes out the sides when you try to eat it altogether. The puff pastry is a traditional Parisian puff pastry recipe - not the dry type they serve at Beard Papa's or the buttery American type.
- Napolean Josephine 3.5/6
- Layers of really flaky and crisp puff pastry and creamy custard with some fresh strawberries and raspberries topped with a dusting of icing sugar.
- The puff pastry is really crisp and sturdy, there's a ton of layers. It's not really buttery tasting either.
- The custard is really creamy and not eggy. However I wish the flavoured it with vanilla beans - I think they just used vanilla extract. They should add some almond extract in there as well to give it an extra dimension of flavour.
- It's not too sweet, definitely fresh, and very light in flavour - not necessarily in texture. It's hard to eat again because the puff pastry is hard and the custard is soft, so you can't bite into it or break away at it with your fork. The custard just squishes out the sides.
- I suggest letting this Napoleon comes to room temperature before eating it...the custard flavour comes out so much more. It's served from a chilled display case so it's much better when you take the chill off.
- They will really recommend this, I think it kind of tastes better than it looks...but I would order it again - just not my Frost choice. It could be a little richer in flavour - not in sweeteners, but just in flavour t o balance out the tart strawberries and raspberries. They cheap out on the fruit though, the fruit gets added last minute after the layers have been built. So there's only visible fruit around the edge, but there's barely any within the custard. They also use more strawberries and like 2 raspberries. It's really obvious that they add those in last and blend it in with some custard to make it look like there's fruit throughout.
- Raspberry Fruit Tart 3/6
- Loaded with fresh raspberries, when in season...otherwise they do a mix of strawberries and raspberries. It is a very good fruit tart. The tart is made in house and it's made with some slivered almonds, which is a gourmet touch. It's almost a cookie tart rather. It has a great tasting custard cream filling that goes perfectly with the fruit. Nothing too sweet, but just really fresh ingredients.
- Banana Bread 4/6
- It's dense, rich in banana flavour and made fresh.
- It's your "really good banana bread recipe" - so if you've had one of these recipes this is what it tastes like. Nice and moist. Just a good and solid banana bread. I've had better and can make a better though.
- Latte 4/6
- Very frothy foam, strong but smooth. The actually use the blend from 49th Parallel.