Archive for What I Ate

Kouign Amann in Vancouver

Gentle readers, meet my newest obsession, the Kouign Amann. 

If you’ve never heard of this deliciousness, two things: I am sad for you, and go remedy the situation and get some now! 

Kougin Amann

The Kouign Amann hails from the Brittnay region of France, which is almost a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. Known for its pinkish beaches and ancient standing stones, it’s about 400 km from Paris. It’s actually quite close to the UK (which maybe explains the name). In terms of food, the area is famous for seafood (makes sense), crepes, and this fantastic confection: the Kouign Amann. 

It’s a little like a croissant (to find out who has my favourite croissant in the city, click here). The dough is created using lamination, which folds sheets of butter into the dough (which is how you make croissants). But this dough includes sugar as well, making it sweeter than your average croissant, and also creating a crispy, caramelized, almost brullééd crust. They are baked in round tins, which is what gives them the distinct round shape, unlike the crescent-shaped croissants. 

So, picture soft, buttery dough with a sweet, crunchy shell. That, my friends, is Kouign Amann. 

Inside cross-section of a Kougin Amann showing layers

There are a few places here in Vancouver where they are available, though they are much harder to find than croissants. 

Kouign Amann in Vancouver

Angus T: this was the first place I ever had a Kouign amann, and man, was my mind blown! Yaleown’s Angus T serves nothing but croissants, so you’d assume, rightly, that they make them well. The Kouign Amann here is baked in such a way that it has these lovely “leaves” that sprout up out of the pan. 

Kougin Amann

The Bench Bakehouse: this may be my favourite Kouign Amann in Vancouver. The Bench opened in January, 2019 on Commercial Dr, and the husband-wife team that run it trained in both Paris and San Francisco, so they are legit. It’s buttery, it’s soft, it’s crunchy… they finish it with a sprinkle of fleur de sel… it’s a party in your mouth.

Kougin Amann

Beaucoup: what makes the Beaucoup Kouign Amann distinctive is its punchy cardamom flavour. This is not traditional, but if you’re a fan of that warm spice, you’ll like this one. 

Kougin Amann

Nemesis: Nemesis is one of my go-to coffee joints when I want to get out and write where there are people. It’s bright and clean, and the coffee and snacks are good. I have to get the Kouign Amann when I’m there to dip in my coffee. It’s so, so good.  

Kougin Amann

Batard: If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that Batard makes my favourite croissant in the city. Their Kouign Amann is also good. Maybe order both??? 

Okay! What have I missed? Share with me below where you find Kouign Amann in Vancouver and I’ll add it to my list! 

@Flourist Chocolate Chip Cookies

Things I think a lot about: sustainability, the environment, and how we can save the planet. 

Well that’s a bright and cheery intro, hey? 

Okay. But seriously. The main reason I gave up eating meat all those years ago is because of the environment. And while I totally get that not everyone is going to stop eating meat, if we all just ate less meat, it would make the world a better place. I loved this recent article in The Atlantic that advocates that we even just give up beef, and how much of a change that could make to our planet. 

Flourist Chocolate Chip Cookie baked in a large cast iron sklllet

Another option for those of you who are concerned about the environment, but aren’t ready to give up meat, is to only buy locally-farmed, pasture-raised meat. These animals are better cared for, and put less of a toll on the environment. 

In fact, there’s a lot of research out there that advocates for eating locally, and that doing so could actually be the best thing for the environment. There is a lower carbon footprint if you have to ship food a shorter distance. For me, also, I prefer to support our local businesses if possible, keeping more money in our local economy. 

But you know what else I think about?? Bread. And the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. And pizza dough. And Focaccia with rosemary and sea salt, dipped in good olive oil and balsamic. 

round loaves of sourdough bread

Yesssssss. 

And so it was, for all these various reasons, that I was super happy to see that Flourist finally was able to open up a bricks and mortar location here in Vancouver. 

I’ve been fans of them for a long time (since before they rebranded in their current iteration). They sell local (well, from as far away as the prairies) grains and pulses that are locally milled and high quality. We’re talking heritage grains and Canadian pulses that are a real staple of our economy. 

I used to buy their stuff in local specialty markets, but now they have their own location, so you can go straight to the source! 

Flourist’s location, just off of Commercial Drive in East Van, also houses a mill, a cafe, and space for cooking classes and demos. 

Shelves of dried goods

And–oh joy! They sell sourdough starter, too. 

The space itself is super adorbs, and the cafe itself sells, in addition to baked goods made with their flour, lighter meals like salads made with beans, chickpeas, and millet, as well as toasts made with their homemade bread. 

It honestly makes me so happy to witness and be a part of this whole food revolution. I love that people are beginning to understand that convenience food comes at a price, and we’re starting to look back to the eating habits of our ancestors. 

By the way, if you’re gluten free, you may be able to tolerate this kind of bread. The flour it’s made with is less processed and refined, and its genetic footprint is less refined. In addition, sourdough partially ferments the dough, making it easier to digest. 

a plate of cookies

When I was recently at the new Flourist location, checking it out, I tried one of their Chocolate Chip Cookies.  And then, a couple days later, not shockingly, they showed up on this list of where to get the best Chocolate Chip Cookies in Vancouver. 

At Flourist they bake the entire recipe in a big cast iron fry pan and cut it into wedges, so I’ve done that here. You can either bake your own or head over to Commercial Street to buy them. While you’re there, you’re going to want to pick up some bread, flour, and probably some chickpeas, too. 🙂 

Oh–one last thing. All of the packaging at Flourist is recyclable. Your “to go” coffee will come in a mason jar that you pay a deposit on and then either bring back or keep. Pulses are sold in jars as well. The owners, Janna and Shira, are passionate about the local food movement, and Shira is a long-time plant-based advocate and food blogger. So yeah, this is a small local business you can feel good about supporting. 

Wedges of chocolate chip cookies

Especially when the chocolate chip cookies are made with whole grain flour, and they taste this good. 

 

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