The Tale of Three Croissants in Evergem

Sometimes I set mini goals for myself, stupid shit I can accomplish, so I can then reward myself. Big goals are great, but the little ones keep your happiness in check. Last week I actually accomplished one of these little goals and it turned out to be one of the best buttery breakfasts of my life, involving three croissants.

Anyone in my family tell you that I love a fresh croissant more than anyone else, dead or alive, in my family. I. Just. Love. Croissants. You’d think France would have the best ones, but Belgium’s got freaking fantastic ones, considering the two countries are connected in geography and war.

Anyway.

Ffter dropping Noah off at daycare last Friday, and on the way to open my place for lunch service, I managed to collect three freshly baked croissants, from the three closest places to Rice House. I wanted to taste-test them all at once and decided whose was best. So I did just that.

First, Croissy Annelies, which nobody actually calls it. Everyone calls it “de franse bakkerij” or as Noah and I call it “the French bakery.” They have a godsend of a playground, and small farm on their property, so it’s nice to be able to sit there and have coffee while Noah plays and has ice cream.

Then there’s Bakkerij Debacker which actually sounds in Dutch like “Bakery The Baker” because the kk and ck are pronounced the same in Dutch, and de is “the” and  bakker is Dutch for baker, and I could go on forever about this. But Debacker is the name of the baker who owns the bakery (bakkerij) and the whole big family is adorable, especially their youngest son who’s enthusiastic about just about everything.

And last but not least there’s Pistoletta, which is right on the square of the town center in Evergem, before I turn right to get to Rice House. Pistoletta is a very tasty sandwich shop that is also a breakfast stop and overall cozy soup bowl kinda place. The ladies run a tight ship and I admire them. And I believe one of the ladies used to work at Annelies for a very long time before jumping ship for the newly-opened Pistoletta. Scandalous.

So these three shops make up one of of my routes to get to Rice House.

Here’s a view of then (1930) and now (2010), of my view heading into the center of my town of Evergem (population of 32,000 that feels like 320 on any given day).

1930andNow

Heading into Evergem Dorp (Photo credit: Het Nieuwsblad Online)

On this route I’ll grab an occasional croissant from anywhere randomly.

Except last Friday when I got three:

CroissantsTestCroissants from: Left to Right – Annelies, Debacker, and Pistoletta

I know. The croissant from Annelies looks like it’s doing something dirty to the Debacker croissant. I’d wondered, while I stood in line at Annelies,  if I’d get the defective croissant when I saw it in the display case. Of course I did. It felt like the croissant was trying to punch me for eating it.

I took two bites at a time, from each croissant, left to right, comparing the texture and flakiness and the butteriness of their respective croissant layers.

The Annelies croissant was like a mouthful of butter and goodness with a light crisp shell and doughy-chewy inside. It was glorious. And the croissant from Debacker was crispy and flaky on the outside and layered forever on the inside, and butter was plenty. And Pistoletta’s croissant was super flaky and light on the inside and extra crispy on the outside, and definitely the lightest on the butter of all three croissants.

I reported back to my husband that night, and he asked me which croissant I liked best. I answered that if I was dying tomorrow and had to choose one croissant to die with, it would be…

Debacker

I now have to stay away from croissants after gaining at least two pounds last Friday. Then I can reward myself with something else…

Incidentally, when I turn right at the church (the same church our Noah was baptized in this year), to get to Rice House…

This is the then (1910) and now (2010):

1910andNow

Leaving Evergem Dorp (Photo credit: Het Nieuwsblad Online)

 

Rice House stands “just down that street from ING.”

How times have changed. Croissants are forever.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

22 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    There is something refreshing to look at pictures and 60 plus years later it really looks the same. As I move all over America and live in various states,driving on the highway in ?Austin last week it dawned on me as I over looked the horizon that I could as easily been in Michigan , Massachusetts or California. The buildings are similar, the names of the shops are universal all that sets it apart is the flora and fauna. It made me sad. We have lost our local charm and definition of regionalism. Noah will live a charmed life growing up in Europe.

    Reply
    1. If you mean Austin, Texas, my heart aches for the days when the horizon showed the capital and the UT tower standing tall over the city. Now they are dwarfed by the city that grew up around them. I miss the Austin skyline of my youth. I live in Calif, but my family’s Texan, and we vacationed most summers in Austin. (hook ’em horns!)

      Jun, next goal….make your own croissants? That would be a big goal.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Yes, after 35 years of living-all over the United States I am finally home where it all began! The city has changed drastically since my days in college.

      2. Jun Song Author

        Very cool. Texas is on my list to visit. Of all the places I’ve been I’ve never hung out in Texas yet! 🙂

        I can’t bake. I don’t even want to when there are artisans in their craft here and I can just buy he perfect croissant whenever I want! HA!

  2. I love looking at old photos of then and now. Not much has changed, but it has. The church has a clock tower? First time I’ve ever seen that! The church procession fascinates me. There are actually females holding the religious icons… in 1910! Talk about regression. Sadly the cobbled streets have been replaced with blacktop. Most of the cobblestones are being replaced in Philadelphia which is a shame but the needs of the citizens outweigh historical significance. Four rubber tires have replaced spoked wheels. Having recently driven on the cobbled Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, made me appreciate the smoother ride on black top.

    Thanks for sharing Jun. Now I want a croissant. A real one. With layers and layers of buttery goodness.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Many/most churches here do! Clock towers can be found everywhere too because each town has a town hall or a belfort “bell tower) with a big old clock. It’s so old school. I love it 🙂

      Did you get a croissant? 🙂

      Philadelphia is beautiful. I would love to go back one day so Noah can see The Liberty Bell like I did as a kid…and I bought one of those miniature ones at the gift shop. It was on a class trip. I LOVED class trips 🙂

      Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I’m totally going to ask Davy’s mom to make it. She makes bread pudding and I bet she’s never made it with croissants. Sounds DANGEROUS 🙂

      Reply
  3. When I got to the pic of the croissants, I picked the middle one (Debacker), as if I’d been there to choose one from a platter. It looked to be the most perfectly raised and cooked to me. Now @RichardfromNO has made me want to go buy some croissants to make bread pudding. Good thing there isn’t a single good bakery around here.

    Reply
    1. Marty

      I’m not a bread person at all… Except for croissants!! They are my weakness. So I took this blog very seriously going back and reading the store names and which one came from where. By your description I would have chosen the Debacker as well. Crispy on the outside with luscious layers of buttery goodness makes me weak in the knees!! So glad you found the best one!!!

      Reply
      1. Jun Song Author

        Croissants are one of my weakness too. And fresh baguettes. I love food ha! Debacker made me happy that I did the taste-test. The first thing I ever bought at Debacker was a croissant 🙂

  4. Anonymous

    I sure missed your posts…I know you are busy, but come on, spare us a crumb, which you did and made my mouth water…croissants are also my favorite and I would die to have a “real” croissant.

    Reply

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