La Boulangerie: a taste of Paris in Forest Hills
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It is a common opinion around the world that the best kinds of pastry come from the French.
La Boulangerie is a petite French bakery hidden in the jungles of Forest Hills, across the street from Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church. They serve various popular European delights. The pastries that I tried were the Tarte Strip, the Danish, and the Gateau Breton.
The first one I sampled was the Tarte Strip. I chose the apple one, but it also comes in apricot. The Tarte Strip Apple is rectangular, and it has a crust on both of the shorter sides of the tarte. Between the crusts there is applesauce and thin slices of fresh apple overlapping one another. To finish it off, there is a clear sugar syrup on top of the applesauce and apples, causing them to glisten under the light. When eaten, the applesauce is slightly sour, yet still contains sweet notes from the clear syrup. The fresh apple slices are crisp and ripe, but add more so to the appearance of the tarte rather than the taste which is dominated by the applesauce. In my opinion the best part of the Tarte Strip was the crust. It is flaky and contains multiple decadent layers that are baked to a golden brown. It has a light buttery flavor that accentuates the overall taste of the tarte.
The next pastry I tried was the Danish. This also comes in various flavors such as blueberry cream cheese, but I decided to get the raspberry jam danish. It looked like a giant verona cookie with jam in the center of the danish and a thick crust encasing it; the only difference would be that there was a layer of custard underneath the jam in the danish. The jam of the danish was not so great. It had a potent raspberry flavor, but on its own it was too sweet. Although there were many seeds in the jam to make it seem more authentic, I thought that it tasted like the artificial fruit flavoring often added to cough syrup. The custard underneath the jam was delightful on the other hand. It was creamy, smooth, and milky like the kind of filling used in Boston Cream Doughnuts. The one negative aspect of this custard was that it too was slightly too sweet, but luckily the crust balances everything out when you eat the danish altogether. The crust of the danish is basically like a croissant, airy and fluffy on the inside with a wonderful buttery taste.
The final confectionary that I tried was the Gateau Breton. This palm sized, muffin looking pastry was nothing unique, but it was still delicious. The exterior of the Gateau Breton was golden and hard. Coated with butter before being baked, the outer shell tasted like a butter cookie. The interior of the Gateau Breton looked dry, but it was actually quite moist and chewy. As mentioned, there was nothing particularly special about this pastry; it didn’t have any special flavors to it, but it did have the right amount of sweetness.
On the right side of the shop there is a bakery where you can watch the bakers make the pastries. The left side is the actual cafe where you can make your purchase and eat. The cafe side is rustic and homey. It feels as if you’re in a countryside European cafe with the wooden floors, chairs, and tables, the warm yellow walls and antique decorations. The counter is filled with many different pastries like Brioche au Sucre, Madeleines, Pain au Chocolat, etc. Behind the counter there are loaves of bread made fresh daily as well as baguettes that I recommend trying. You can also order beverages such as a lattes and espressos as well as soups, salads, quiches, and sandwiches.
Despite a few minor issues, La Boulangerie contains great pastries that are worth the time to try. If you’re craving some French delights, then check out this shop.