My favorite thing about getting up early on Sunday morning and going to get a croissant is that you feel like you are a part of special club. The sun is (hopefully) shining in that evanescent way that only occurs during those few usually unglimpsed moments of early morning. There are some people out, but it’s not swarming with sunday-ers yet. Those people who are out, well, you feel a comradery with them. Everyone else has chosen to stay in bed, but not you. You are different.
As much as I enjoy a bustling atmosphere, sometimes part of that joy is knowing those busy locations during the times when they aren’t crowded. This joy is very apparent in New York and easily experienced. Cafes open early on Sunday morning, early enough for you to wake up with the birds, grab a croissant and a cappuccino when your fellow citizens are still sleeping off the previous night. I love just sitting there with a book and a loved one breathing in the morning.
Does that make me sound old? Oh well, I’ll deal with it.
In Bristol, on the other hand, enjoying Sunday is a bit different. True, there are less people on the streets than there would be on a normal day, but the emptiness never really dissapates. There is one place, however, that seems to be always crowded: Boston Tea Party. Park street, specifically, is usually swarming with students any time of day. Except for Sunday morning, that is.
Perhaps that’s the reason why I first thought of this as I sat down in their adorable back garden one sunny mid-May Sunday morning. My croissant was as fresh as could be (at least, when getting it from BTP) and my cappuccino had a bit of latte art. There were a couple other people out back and you could hear birds chirping. This, I thought, is the reason I get up early on Sunday morning. It makes hearing your alarm on the most sacred day of the week worth it.
I gently pulled the end off my croissant and felt a pleasing crinkle. The outside shattered in a manner that lets you know it still has some integrity. Though not much. While the outside was just acceptably browned, it lacked much flavor. This is because the croissant was bready.
Simply calling it bready doesn’t quite do justice to the very good points the croissant did have. There was a pleasing, slightly sweet flavor that made you forget the absence of butter. It was fully cooked and didn’t disappear into a lump of dough; I liked that. The bottom was fully browned and a bit crispy. If you could put a good croissant, say the croissant from Francois Payard, into an English-ifying machine, you would come out with this croissant.
This was an example of a good English croissant, which was exactly what I orginally wanted to say about the croissant from Coffee #1. That makes me wonder if they get their croissants sourced from the same place. Although Boston Tea Party tries to promote the image of “homemade”, when I asked about these croissants they said they received them partially baked. I think it’s definitely possible that they have the same supplier.
The best croissant in Bristol? Definitely not. A good example of an English croissant? Absolutely. A genre all its own, worth eating sometimes but not my go-to croissant.
Do you enjoy getting up early on Sunday morning or do you prefer to sleep to noon?