In the time I’ve been eating croissants to review for this blog, I’ve been focusing on showcasing the slightly more expensive ones—mainly because they’re the ones that come from a standalone bakery. They tend to be examples of how people can produce them differently, which I find rather neat.
But what happens when you look at a mass-produced croissant? Today I’ll do just that… from a French perspective! I went to Carrefour, France’s largest supermarket/hypermarket chain, to taste what they had to offer.
Before going into specifics, bear in mind that croissants from Carrefour are almost certainly going to be mass-produced. The production facility might belong to the same company, and will likely be in the country—France loving viennoiseries makes the economics worth it. Based on my experience in commercial bakeries, the croissants may have their dough made, and butter integrated, before being frozen for transport. They arrive with other frozen foods, at which point they can be made to gently defrost in coolers, before proofing in a warm, humid area. They can then be baked. There’s nothing really wrong with this process, but you won’t get the variety of techniques and recipes that going to smaller bakeries will net you.
So, on to the review.
The croissants at Carrefour are all quite uniform. They’re a medium size, with more of a gentle bump than a peak, and their shape is mostly straight (straight front, slightly curved back). They have a medium brown coloring, except for some darkening on the glazed areas or on some parts of the bottom which can vary. Some individual croissants may vary a little. The layer seams are visible but aren’t very pronounced; they don’t rise up as much as other bakeries’. Overall, the presentation is very neat, if a bit boring.
The inside of the croissant is an airy cell structure. There are some larger bubbles than others, but they’re actually quite small compared to other croissants you might find elsewhere. In other worse, more dense; it reminds me more of croissants in the US. Maybe it’s a lower quantity of butter, or maybe something about the mixing process…
The croissant I had “handled” like the prototypical commercial croissant, by which I mean it smelled doughy, rich, and slightly browned; the interior smelled mainly rich; the upper glazed portion could be removed and/or flaked off in a medium amount of flakes; the croissant was slightly squashable, but the density of the interior meant it bouced back. Finally, it tasted… like a buttery dough. Nothing more, nothing less.
Despite how utterly, boringly typical this croissant is, there are two important factors to note:
- The quality of ingredients makes this croissant noticeably French. As in it’s still less sweet and more buttery than what you get in the US, and definitely less heavy.
- It’s damn cheap!
Bear in mind that depending on where you live, prices may fluctuate slightly and you may not be able to buy singles.
Ratings & Numbers
Would buy again: 😐*
Taste Quality: 🇫🇷
Price: 0.35€ (2021) in Nice, France.
It’s hard to rate the “buy again” factor because… well, there are so many better options. But considering how good these croissants are compared to American ones, I would eat them without hesitation if given the option.
The Carrefour bakery has much bread, and many other pastries or viennoiseries. You’ll find the usual complement of anything French bakery-wise.
Otherwise, it’s a supermarket. A massive one.