Restaurant: Paul Croteau Confections
Last visited: September 7, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Main)
Address: 1020 Main Street (North of Terminal Ave)
Directly above Campagnolo Restaurant
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Since August 2010
- Pastry Chef Paul Croteau
- Hand made gourmet confections
- Specializes in French dessert/confections
- Most popular for Parisian macarons
- Gourmet chocolates/candies/cookies
- Locally sourced ingredients
- Great gifts
- Pretty expensive
- Limited selection
- Same owners as Refuel and Campagnolo
- Some confections offered at Campagnolo
- Open daily
**Recommendations: Lemon Macaron, chocolate covered hazelnuts
Paul Croteau Confections specializes in hand made confections and cookies made with French techniques and local BC ingredients. Paul Croteau is a classically trained French pastry chef from Montreal, however he is also responsible for the West Coast comfort food desserts at Refuel Restaurant as well as the Italian desserts at sister restaurant Campagnolo. Paul Croteau Confections, or PC Confections, is his first stand alone shop offering what I call sophisticated candies for adults. I first heard of Paul Croteau Confections when I was invited the their special media tasting, but unfortunately I was out of town when it happened. Nonetheless, they were kind enough to set aside a sample pack of goodies for me to try on my own time. (Complimentary confections from Paul Croteau)
Initially PC Confections was operating out of a kiosk at Oakridge Mall, but it has now opened it’s first retail store in the same building as it’s production kitchen located above Campagnolo Restaurant. This probably means even fresher sweets and maybe even some fresh out of the oven baked goods! Food blogger Kim (the non-dessert lover) made a stop at PC Confections (when it was still operating from the kiosk) and decided to share some goodies with me (the dessert lover). I will gladly help with any leftovers! (Thanks Kim for the nice photos, mine are the non-nice ones)
Paul Croteau Confections is definitely a high-end treat and with quality always comes price, and I do find them a bit pricey. Although they use high quality ingredients and produce in small batches, I still wasn’t as impressed as I have been compared to other bakeries of this style. Take for instance Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie or Bakery Nouveau where the treats they offer make your toes curl!
On the table:
- A French almond meringue sandwich cookie with flavoured ganache fillings of seasonal flavours $1.50 each, $4.50 for 3
- They are large macarons, so although they are pricey, the size and quality of ingredients can justify it.
- The outsides is a light and crispy shell and the inside is a moist cakey cookie and a creamy filling. They’re not too sweet and the texture is great, but the flavours could have been a lot stronger and aren’t as obvious. They are very good, but I do like Say See Bon Macarons and Bakery Nouveau macarons better.
- Pistachio Macaron – 3.5/6
- At first I was caught off by the colour because for pistachio I expected a muddier/darker shade of green and this minty colour looked very artificial. I though it was melon or mint flavoured, and oddly enough it actually tasted melon flavoured to me too. It just has a very gentle sweetness to it.
- The pistachio flavour is very masked, but the creamy filling which tastes like hazelnut is very apparent. It was the only nutty tasting part of the macaron though. It’s great if you don’t know it’s supposed to be pistachio though.
- **Lemon Macaron – 4.5/6
- With white chocolate filling.
- It’s sweet and tart, but more on the sweet side. It’s definitely very lemony in taste, but I can’t seem to taste the white chocolate and I’m almost certain it’s a lemon flavoured white chocolate filling because it’s very sweet and tangy and where all the lemon taste came from.
- Salted Caramel Macaron –5/6
- It has a salty butter cream-like filling which melted really fast, but not a strong caramel taste except for in the filling. I find it the moistest of them all and the most unique. The other fillings are more like ganache and this one was creamier and the saltiness enhance the flavour of the macaron.
- Chocolate Macaron – 3/6
- I wasn’t a fan of this chocolate one. It was too heavy on the espresso beans so I felt like it was an espresso chocolate macaron as opposed to a chocolate macaron. It has a very roasted espresso bean taste with bitter notes. It’s also the driest and least sweet of the 4. The chocolate ganache filling is the most dense or solidified and I would have preferred creamier.
- $4.25 for a pack of about 5 mini cookies (They also come in vanilla)
- For my first time trying them it was a 3.5/6, but for what it is, it’s 5/6. (This note was added after trying more)
- At first I was not impressed with these cookies and thought they were just good, but the more I ate them the more I began to appreciate them.
- Sable cookies are traditional cookies from France. They’re very miniature cookies, but packed with lots of flavour.
- It’s a dry, crumbly and crunchy cookie with a crispy exterior and tender and delicate crumb. It’s very crispy and it reminds me of a chocolate shortbread. It’s sweet, bitter, with a roasted chocolate flavour and it’s actually quite salty which makes all the flavours shine even more.
- The best part is the chocolate chips in the cookie. They’re almost like bittersweet dark chocolate truffle pieces and they’re not waxy at all and just melt in your mouth without getting stuck in your teeth. Very high quality that you can taste and it has a lovely bitter flavour.
- “A snack” – Candied hazelnuts, dipped in Valrhona chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder.
- Some of them are individual and some of them come in clumps or clusters of 3.
- It tastes like chocolate covered very lightly candied hazelnuts dusted with bittersweet cocoa powder. It reminded me of a Ferrero Rocher without the wafer and creamy chocolate part.
- It’s very nutty and the first flavour is perfectly roasted and sweet hazelnuts, then sweet chocolate with a slight bitterness at the end. A very sophisticated sweet and perfect for anyone that loves hazelnuts and nothing too sweet.
- Bar (10 pieces) $9.95
- It’s an almond square with caramel and candied citrus peels of grapefruit, lemon and orange. This was my personal favourite and that was before I knew it was Chef Paul’s favourite too! I enjoyed this very much, but I also love almonds. I do find these overpriced though at $1 for one tiny bite-sized square.
- It’s very flaky and it has a crust made with sugar and toasted almonds. The description says the bottoms are dipped in melted chocolate, but it tastes and looks like toffee. It’s super nutty, creamy and crispy and it’s almost the texture of a delicate pecan bar. The citrus fruit zest really comes though with bitter notes and it’s simply delectable.
- Bar $5.95
- It’s an incredibly soft nougat with lots of pistachio, hazelnuts, a whole almond on top and lots of cocoa nib chips throughout. The pistachio is quite obvious and the bitter crispy bits of cocoa nibs almost taste like slivers of chocolate covered espresso beans with a floral aftertaste. It’s not too sweet but it has this unexpected aftertaste that tastes like too many flavours going on. I think it’s the combination of pistachio and cocoa nibs almost makes it taste Middle Eastern.
- 12 assorted Patés de Fruits (6 raspberry, 6 passion fruit) $9.95
- It’s a very soft jelly and a bit like Turkish delight rolled in sugar. It’s quite sweet and it’s basically the fruit jelly that Thomas Haas uses in his chocolates. I’m not really a fan of these kind of candies though, so I wouldn’t buy them normally.
**Passion Fruit Jelly or Patés de Fruits – 5/6
- 12 assorted Patés de Fruits (6 raspberry, 6 passion fruit) $9.95
- You can smell the passion fruit before eating it! I just stated that I don’t really like these type of jelly candies, and this passion fruit one changed my mind. It really tastes like pure passion fruit and I would actually buy this! The flavour is so strong, sweet and tart, it’s incredible. Too bad it comes in assorted tubes, but even at the price I don’t know if it’s worth it.
- It’s a soft and very buttery caramel with a thin layer of salty nougat in the middle.
- it’s actually quite chewy and not that soft and really gets stuck to your teeth.
- It’s almost like salt water taffy, and it’s very fresh home made caramel, but just not really my kind of candy. I love salted caramel and chocolate, but this one was a bit too buttery for me and I’ m not a huge fan of just caramel in general.