Thursday, October 8, 2015

A tale of two Lake Mary French bakeries

croissant, French pastries, danishes, baked goods, chocolate, fruit tart
Friends have raved about the authentic French pastries at Croissant Gourmet in Winter Park for quite awhile, so I was excited to finally get to try them at the opening of the new Croissant Gourmet in Lake Mary this week. I was certainly not disappointed. I was like a kid in a candy - er, bakery - store when I saw all the delectable offerings: danishes, huge fluffy croissants, chocolate eclairs, fruit tarts, pumpkin tarts and a myriad of other pastries. I chose to sample a croissant, a coconut macaron and fruit tarts.

I will let you know how those tasted soon, but first I need to compare Croissant Gourmet Lake Mary with Chez Jacqueline. I just can't help but compare. The two are virtually across the street from each other, which bothers me. I hate to see Chez Jacqueline, which has been at that location for around five years, lose business. Croissant Gourmet could also lose customers who prefer Chez Jaqueline's treats, and have been loyal for years. 

However, I bet people who loved French baked goods will love both shops. There are some similarities between the two, but they both offer many different items than the other. Croissant Gourmet has bigger croissants - the one I had filled a small plate! - than Chez Jacqueline, but they also cost 50 cents more at $3 each. I actually really enjoy both shops' croissants, but I have to give Chez Jacqueline a slight edge because the croissant is so moist inside and fresh/ flaky on the outside. After it is warmed in the oven, it is a perfect treat.

We also tried Croissant Gourmet's vanilla and lemon tarts, items that Chez Jaqueline does not carry. We loved the sweet crust and the delicious filling, along with the fresh fruit. These are also pricey - large tarts are $4.50 each - so I opted for the smaller ones. The coconut macaron is absolutely delicious, but unfortunately, I have tried Chez Jacqueline's coconut macarons fresh from the oven and they are the best I have had. Crispy on the outside, and moist/ chewy on the inside - unlike any coconut macaron I have tried. They are also more affordable than Croissant Gourmet's. 

Chez Jacqueline also has a variety of macarons, such as raspberry, lemon and pistachio (our favorite!), while Croissant Gourmet does not. Chez Jacqueline features cheesecake, chocolate cake and other refrigerated desserts, along with different French pastriest, such as King Cake and Apple Croissants. Meanwhile, Croissant Gourmet has a variety of danishes, fruit tarts and other pastries that are different than Chez Jacqueline. Both offer a variety of crepes. Chez Jaqueline offers more quiches, and they are truly delicious.

I think the best thing that Croissant Gourmet has going for it - which will differentiate it from Chez Jaqueline and other competitors in the area - is its ability to offer breakfast and lunch. It has a full breakfast menu that includes Breakfast Croissant Omelette, French Toast, Quiche and Croque Monsieur. There is no place that offers breakfast near City Hall/ Central Park, so I think this will be a huge draw - especially for the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. Croissant Gourmet also features many different sandwiches and salads for lunch. 

I can't wait to try more items on the menu at Croissant Gourmet. 

Where: 

Croissant Gourmet - 124 N. 4th. St., Lake Mary
Chez Jacqueline - 101 N. Country Club, Ste. 126

Also see our review on Chez Jaqueline:

Where to find real French pastries in Orlando


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