Halifax’s 5 best croissants, ranked
The signal asked two experts to do a blind taste test
February 13, 2017, 5:30 am ASTLast Updated: February 17, 2017, 11:34 pm
First there were croissants, and then there were crumbs.
Bakeries have been spreading like wildfire and the croissant scene has been heating up in Halifax.
Some of the most well-known bakeries have opened in the last five years: The Old Apothecary, Two If By Sea Halifax and Le French Fix. It doesn’t stop there. Croissant mania is still growing; LF Bakery opened in 2016.
The Signal set up a test and asked two local experts to help crown the Halifax Regional Municipality’s best croissant.
Lauren Campbell is the sous-chef at The Coastal Café in Halifax. She studied Culinary Arts at NSCC’s Kingstec campus and was a former line cook at Bistro Rouge and Atlantica Hotel Halifax.
“I’ve worked in bakeries and kitchens. I feel like I know a bit about croissants,” she told The Signal, before the test began. “I’m always on the search for the best.”
Kelly Lucas is a 9th-year Dalhousie student majoring in nursing. She lived in France for a year and knows her authentic croissants.
“I heard that your taste buds need three sips of beer to get the true flavour,” Lucas said. “I’m applying the same principle and taking everything in three bites.”
First, The Signal took an informal poll by asking folks on the street where they got their favourite croissants. Five names quickly started to take over the page: Le French Fix, LF Bakery, Two If By Sea, The Old Apothecary and Gingerbread Haus.
Next, our experts were called in to taste test the pastries. They didn’t know where the croissants were from, but each portion had a coloured flag. They ranked the coloured flags from most favourite to least favourite.
Only butter croissants were used to ensure the utmost validity. There would be no favourites based on a chocolatey interior or almond coating. They were judged based on smell, taste, colour and density.
While there were multiple criteria, there was still a tie. Two croissants came head-to-head for second place.
4. Gingerbread Haus Bakery (Blue Flag)
1138 Queen St, Halifax, NS
K: “Can you smell the yeast on that? It’s weird … and it almost tastes fishy!”
L: “It was a little bland and it was really big too. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t as good; maybe it needed longer cooking time.”
Gingerbread Haus’ croissant was the least favorite, but the little bakery still deserves a visit. The Winge family has owned it for 17 years.
It started in 1999 and still specializes in gorgeous German desserts from cakes and cookies to strudels and pretzels. If you sneak a glance in the back room you’ll see the creative bakers at work.
3. Le French Fix Pâtisserie (Orange Flag)
5233 Prince St, Halifax, NS
K: “It sounds weird, but I can’t taste the love in this one. Like, it’s a croissant … we have to make 300 of them.”
L: “I found it really dense. It didn’t have very good flavour … it was sweet but the crust was too bland for me.”
This little pâtisserie opened in August 2012, but its products were floating around Halifax before that. Geoffroy Chevallier is the owner and French pastry chef at the bakery. He left France 12 years ago and moved to Canada. He began selling croissants at the local farmers’ market and soon gathered a following.
The little bakery has many unique gems besides croissants. They offer pastry cooking classes with their chef, take-and-bake croissants (so you can have them at their freshest) and beautiful multicoloured macarons.
2. The Old Apothecary (Green Flag)
1549 Barrington St, Halifax, NS
L: “This smells even more buttery then the last croissant.”
K: “Oh, baby! It smells like the motherland … I feel like this one is almost too buttery.”
K: “Yea, like I can taste the lard — but I’m still going to eat this piece because it’s delicious.”
The Old Apothecary opened its doors in May 2015. The owner, Laura MacLeod, says they worked on tweaking and perfecting their croissants since the very beginning. They even import specific butter for the recipe.
The stores windows are decorated with beautiful breads made from scratch. This little bakery has made a name for itself throughout the city. It got Gold in the Coast’s Best of Halifax 2016 awards and it was mentioned before our taste test even began.
2. LF Bakery (Red Flag)
2063 Gottingen St, Halifax, NS
K: “This sounds weird but it’s almost pastry-like … I know it’s a pastry, but it tastes like it’s supposed to taste like a pastry? I don’t know how to explain it any better.”
LF Bakery is the new kid on the block. Laurent Marcel opened the bakery in October 2016. Marcel grew up in France where his parents owned a bakery.
He fills his shop with fresh breads, baguettes, croissants, tarts and sweets. It’s still relatively new, but is gaining a name for itself. Lauren and Kelly couldn’t help but rave about their croissant from LF Bakery.
1. Two If By Sea (Purple Flag)
Dartmouth: 66 Ochterloney St, Dartmouth, NS
Halifax: 1869 Upper Water St, Halifax, NS
K: “Oh man that’s a good croissant. Oh, man.”
L: “Yeah that is really good … it’s nice and salty too.”
K: “I need to get away from that one or I’m just going to keep eating it.”
Meet the croissant champion! Sweet, salty, buttery, crunchy on the outside, but fluffy on the inside…this croissant hit all the criteria.
Two If By Sea (TIBS) has been open for seven years. Their main café is located in Dartmouth, but they’ve had so much success that they’ve expanded. They created a smaller TIBS on the Halifax waterfront which opened in 2012.
While these are The Signal’s findings, we haven’t tested or tried every croissant in the municipality — there are dozens of other bakeries scattered throughout the region that are filled with delicious pastries.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go out and get some croissants!