29 July 2012 · 4 comments

Kouign-amann by Alliance Bakery at Nordstrom Coffee Bar

I like a good chocolate chip cookie or brownie, but if given a choice, I am way more interested in trying new kinds of pastry. That’s why I’ve been thrilled recently to have come across kouign-amann not only once, but twice, in Chicago. More about where in a minute.

George Larnicol kouignettes in Paris

The first time I tried this pastry was in Paris, but it originates from the region of Brittany in northwestern France that produces outstanding butter. The unusual name comes from the Breton words kouign for cake and amann for butter. Butter and sugar are baked between layers of pastry, resulting in the most wonderful caramelized creation—as you can see in the ones at Georges Larnicol in Paris, where they are displayed in abundance in the front window. It is impossible to walk buy or buy just one. Thankfully they are small (called “kouignettes”), which makes it easier to justify popping a few other non-traditional flavored versions, like chocolate or caramel, into your bag.

Floriole Café’s version

Kouign-amann is a sort of a cross between a cake and a croissant. A lighter, flakier version is what you’ll find at Pierre Hermé in Paris, and what I came across in Chicago at Floriole Café and, much to my surprise, at Nordstrom Café on Michigan Avenue (shown at top) one Saturday afternoon. When I asked the staff if what I saw were indeed kouign-amann, they were surprised that someone knew the name and what they were. These beauties were topped with fruit flavoring, and are made by Alliance Bakery.

If you come across kouign-amann, forget your diet, and try one.

Alliance Bakery & Café
1736 West Division Street
Chicago 60622
Tel 773.278.0366

Floriole Café & Bakery
1220 West Webster Avenue
Chicago 60614
Tel 773.883.1313

Nordstrom Coffee Bar
55 East Grand Avenue
Chicago 60611
Tel 312.464.1515

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gerard February 28, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Je n’ai jamais goute un kouin amann ailleurs qu’en Bretagne; je vais tester celui de Chicago !
Merci pour les adresses


Lydia March 1, 2013 at 10:12 am

Gérard, vous avez découvert une de mes passions — la pâtisserie (et la cuisine)! C’est très agréable de faire ce sorte de researche. Enjoy.

De la Chaussee November 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Belle surprise , je vais aller de ce pas les gouter je ne savais pas non plus que l’on pouvait en trouver ici ! Ayant une maison a Carnac ( le Morbihan ) j’en suis folle !

Lydia November 10, 2014 at 8:13 am

Une belle surprise a Chicago!

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