Pain au Chocolat From Boulangerie Nantaise

Eve M. Tai
Call me old-school, but pain au chocolat should be just as its name implies, bread--not pastry--with warm melted chocolate stuffed inside. But many, if not most, versions of what we call pain au chocolat are made instead with croissant dough. Though the chausson au chocolat--as this version is sometimes called in France--is no slouch in the baked-goods monde, sometimes you just crave the yeastier side of things.

At Boulangerie Nantaise in Belltown, the bakers have managed to craft a pain au chocolat with a touch of that puff-pastry flakiness we love and the muscular give-and-take of bread dough.

It's a mystery how they pull off this feat. At the same time, this may be no surprise given Nantaise's famed artisanal, 100% organic, leavened breads. Owned by Biofournil in Nantes, France, the bakery coaxes their dough in a slow love, slow-rise process. Taste one of their cherubic loaves or a baguette and you will be convinced that there's no world conflict bread can't resolve.

Eve M. Tai
A lot to love here.
But back to chocolate. Unlike some pain au chocolat with tabs of chocolate as tiny as the country of Liechtenstein, Nantaise doesn't skimp. The lovely clerks--their heavy French accents add to the ambience--will be happy to warm up your pain until the chocolate puddles. If you're one of those unfortunate souls who doesn't like chocolate, try the plain, marionberry, or almond croissants. Call it bread or call it pastry, Nantaise does a fine job with both.

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