A Chocolatey Field Trip to Almondine Bakery in Dumbo
I hadn't been to Dumbo's Almondine in ages—but my business partner Jen insisted I try what she called "a raspberry-chocolatey cake thing! With those cereal crunchies!" that she'd had a few days prior. Sadly, they were all out of raspberry-chocolatey cake thing with cereal crunchies. But they did have a wide selection of other luscious-looking treats, and after gluing my nose to the pastry case for a while, I made some tough decisions—and bought basically one of everything.
The chocolate tour, after the jump.
Pain au chocolat is one of my favorite things ever, and since I already love the baguettes at Almondine, I was almost ashamed I hadn't had one here before. It didn't disappoint: the croissant was deliciously tender and flaky, with a very delicate buttery flavor. The chocolate inside was nice and bright, balancing the richness of the pastry. I'd definitely pick up a couple of these next time around.
The shavings on top of this chocolate mousse, while gorgeous, tasted a little funny—left uncovered in the fridge, maybe?—but the mousse itself was delightful. Incredibly light and airy, it had a nice lingering cocoa finish, but wasn't too sweet. It comes in a nice little portable container, too, in case you feel like taking it on a stroll by the bridge.
I had to get this—a giant chocolatey ball of chocolate billed simply as "Ganache with Nuts." While I appreciated the texture—it seems as though there was almond flour mixed in to lighten it a bit, and the crunch of the nuts was nice—the flavor wasn't as intense as I'd expected. Think I'll stick with the baked goods.
Almondine also sells a nicely done classic macaron. I appreciated that the actual meringue part was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside; macarons are tough to get just right. The chocolate flavor was a bit strong, and the whole cookie was a little on the sweeter side; this would make a nice light post-lunch treat. They offer a rainbow of flavors daily, too.
You might think you know éclairs. I certainly did—until I ate this chocolate eclair. It was incredibly fresh, with not a hint of sogginess or off-flavor. The pastry itself was barely sweet at all, with most of the sweetness coming from the glaze. And the filling! It was like the most delicious, light, creamy chocolate pudding you could ever devise. The restraint exercised with sugar in a pastry like this is key; otherwise the only flavor you get is "sweet," and that's just... well, boring. The éclair was a definite winner (try the fresh berry one, too).
The giant macaron was my favorite of the lot. It looks dense, but is surprisingly light—a wafer-thin, crispy shell gives way to an almost brownie-like interior with a silky ganache filling. The flavor is rich; intense and cocoa-y. But the end result isn't heavy at all. Conclusion: highly dangerous.