The Croffle And Why You Will Not See Me Queuing For it
On this Bastille week, in the good year of 2017, the croffle was born.
What is a croffle you wonder? Well, according to the press release I received yesterday:
“The croffle, which has been hailed as the hero product of the cafe menu, is a marriage of the classic rich, buttery French croissant, with the unique texture of a modern, sumptuous waffle. Created in collaboration with renowned pastry chef Louise Lennox, the most hotly anticipated variation is the avocado and sun blushed tomato croffle, with a feta drizzle, gremolata crumb and chopped toasted hazelnuts.”
If this pastry is so tasty, then why load it with so many other ingredients?
Before you start thinking that I am indulging in that most Irish of pastimes, let me stop you right there. I do not begrudge Cuisine De France, the croffle, or their pop-up Boulangerie on Camden St. I have been a customer of theirs for nearly 20 years. They do a solidly consistent line in French breads and puff pastries. They are, if you will, the Starbucks of the comfort-carb world. Are their breads and croissants premium quality? No, they’re not. Are they my favourite provider of French delicacies? No, they’re not. But are they my go-to move for easy industrial type breads and breakfast treats? Yes, yes they are. Their products are affordable and, depending on how they’re baked by the premises that sell them, can be quite good. They’re never going to change your world but if I’m really homesick, I’m not going to turn up my nose at a nicely baked pain-au-chocolat.
Enters the croffle…
First, there was the cronut. Invented by famous NYC pastry chef, Dominique Ansel, and an almost overnight success, they were a marketing dream come to life. Although cronuts were not my cup of tea (I’ve tried a few in Dublin and there was no wow factor there for me), I did enjoy the creative aspect of it.
I’m not as keen on the croffle. Firstly, it’s an unpleasant sounding word to me. And secondly, it feels like a souped up marketing idea, not the brain child of someone who loves food. I am assuming that to make a croffle the pop-up shop is cooking croissant pastry in a waffle irons. I am very much hoping that they are not simply heating up an already cooked one and topping it with a whole lot of nonsense. It would be a crime against average food.
The pop-up shop has opened just in time for Bastille week, and even though I have major misgivings about the star product, I do hope it does a roaring trade. It promises cultural entertainment and I’m all for a bitta France on Camden st. All the same, it’s far from croffles we were reared. What would Marie-Antoinette say? “Let them eat croffles?” I think not. The Bastille wasn’t stormed so that the croffle makers could be set free. Robespierre was not murdered for the right to clog the arteries of the nation (by the way, wouldn’t it be great if Cuisine De France published the nutrional value of their products?) and no, heads didn’t roll for the love of a dull baked good.
France and Ireland have so much to celebrate when it comes to the quality of the food they produce. I would have muched preferred a pop-up artisanal Boulangerie, showcasing the best of French breads, made with the best of Irish ingredients. They could have had special “pur beurre” pastries, made with the finest Irish butter, or tartes aux fraises, topped with wonderful Wexford strawberries.
They could have embraced the best of both cultures and created something truly memorable, not just a lacklustre gimmick.
I suppose that this wouldn’t be quite as exciting from a marketing point of view. Or would it? Fortune favours the brave.