I have been comparing or maybe looking for the best Galette des Rois out there since 2014. Each year since, I have been doing some rounds around town looking for the tastiest etc. I did a quick comparison in 2014 and a more detailed one on more casual/commercial shops in 2015, and now that it’s 2016 already I saw myself roaming around Lebanon’s high-end pastry shops including Pate a Choux, Noura, La Mie Doree, Aziz and Cannelle and I think many of us agree those are the finest pastry shops the country has.
I passed around each one of them and bought a Galette des Rois from each...
Let the judging begin…
The box: Practically and Presentation of the Crowns: Winner: La Mie Doree
- La Mie Doree's box is the most practical; the box comes with large borders, that cover that’s easy to close. The others come in a box with small borders, which makes placing the cakes on top harder and requires too much scotch tapes to close up. La Mie Doree's box is surely more expensive.
- Here Cannelle and Aziz took the easiest way out by sticking the crowns on top of the box masking their logos. The crowns are now covered with scotch tape and can't be enjoyed by kids. Putting them inside the box would have been better.
- Pate a Choux’s was more professional as they put the crown in a paper bag and placed it on the box, but again, the box logo is now covered.
- Noura and La Mie Doree placed their crowns inside the box; That's how it should be done.
Impression of each cake: Winner: Cannelle
- Pate a Choux was the smallest, Noura’s was the biggest in size, Cannelle’s was the classiest with a shiny top and La Mie Doree’s looked dry… I felt that Aziz's and Noura's were, in my opinion, too childish.
- A Frangipane should be clean and clear.
Price of each cake: Winner: La Mie Doree
- Aziz: $30
- Cannelle: $38,67
- La Mie Doree: $25,87
- Noura: $44
- Pate a Choux: $30
Pate a Choux’s is too small for its price tag, Noura’s is way too expensive and, Cannelle's is way too expensive for what it offers and La Mie Doree’s price is reasonable taking its size into consideration.
Look, texture and shape: Winner: Cannelle
- Aziz: Tender dough, light crunch, flaky layers and a filling that's yellowish with crushed and mashed almonds. An interesting cake.
- Cannelle: Sticky top, light crunch, condensed cake and firm filling.
- La Mie Doree: Dry top, chewy and not flaky enough, the filling is thick and condensed with heart of crushed almonds.
- Noura: It looks weird and feels weird as well. It is chewy and sticks on to the teeth, the filling is light brown but the puff pastry layers are too condensed and over cooked.
- Pate a Choux: It’s very flaky, very fresh, airy with a light brown filling that's equilibrated in texture.
Taste of each cake: Winner: Pate a Choux
- Aziz: Light sweetness, equilibrated flavors, but there was a prominent taste inside that felt like eggs. I didn't appreciate that much. Overall it’s a good cake that I may order again next year. 12/20
- Cannelle: Lovely dough, light crispness, tender heart with an enjoyable sweetness, crushed and mashed almonds and a fine aftertaste. 14/20
- La Mie Doree: Rum! Why did it have to contain any alcohol? It's a family cake! It gave the cake a disturbing taste and to be honest it was heavy. And to make things worse, I felt the jam under my teeth, that jam used to stick the cake on the carton. 11/20
- Noura: Pathetic if I might say so. Such quality for $44! It's the least I liked of them all. It tastes like an old dry croissant with a burnt aftertaste. A big no! 07/20
- Pate a Choux: There’s a weird smell to it that was a bit like perfume. It’s a bit too buttery for my taste, but since I have to choose one, this was my favorite of them all. But it perfect? Surely not. 15/20
I expected a lot especially paying a hefty price for each. Last year’s cakes were better and available at half the price. I am disappointed at the quality experienced at these pastry shops; I consider my favorites in town.
To be honest, I enjoyed the one I bought last minute last nigh at Al Mandaloun. That was way better than all of the ones I tasted today.
Winner of this year's contest: None!
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