Food That Pops: Cannelle Patisserie

When someone asks about bakeries in New York, most people’s minds automatically go to Dominique Ansel, of the cronut craze, or maybe Balthazar or Bouchon. These bakeries are staples and cultural icons in New York City, serving delicious pastries and desserts at a premium. However, when I make this next claim, bear in mind that money has nothing to do with it. Instead, it’s all about the flavor and pure perfection of the food. Cannelle Patisserie is considered one of the best French bakeries, if not the best, in New York City.

It’s not in a swanky area of Manhattan or even in a “hip” area like Williamsburg. It’s in the middle of East Elmhurst, a couple of minutes away from LaGuardia, practically devoid of public transportation. Nestled in between a nail salon and a Greek restaurant in a strip mall, you would never guess what goes on behind the wood-paneled windows of this quaint bakery.

When you walk in, there is an immediate sense of warmth and butter, lots and lots of butter. People are standing in line, staring at the beautiful cakes and cream puffs in their chilled display cases, as the always busy workers try to keep the line moving. When you finally get to the glass barrier that protects the delicate pastries, you have to make some pretty difficult choices. Gorgeous croissants are available in plain, chocolate, and almond. Muffins come in a variety of flavors, including blueberry, lemon, and raspberry. There are cheese- and apple-flavored danishes, as well as a more exotic passion-guava. There are also plenty of other pastries that are rotated throughout the day. They offer full-sized portions of Gauteau Breton, a buttery, crumbly almond cake, and various tarts as well.

St. Honore Photo courtesy of Flickr
St. Honore
Photo courtesy of Flickr

The canelle, custardy and thimble shaped, has a crunchy caramelized shell on the outside, and a soft interior that can make all of your dreams come true. I’m not even kidding. I’ve tried them in a bunch of other bakeries, and none have been as good as Cannelle Patisserie’s, which, thankfully, lives up to its namesake.

The single-serving cakes are also a sight to behold and taste, and you cannot leave Cannelle without trying its St. Honore, a caramelized pastry circle holding pastry cream, topped with whipped cream, and a caramelized cream puff. Canelle Patiserrie offers several savory options as well, including French onion soup, quiches, and various sandwiches.

This incredible bakery did not just appear out of thin air, and the brains behind it do not belong to an amateur chef. Chef Jean Claude Perennou was the Executive Pastry Chef at the Waldorf-Astoria before he opened Cannelle Patisserie, and looking at the lines of hungry people, I doubt he regrets making that decision.

I know that it feels like it would be a trek to get to East Elmhurst, but believe me, it’s worth it. I’ve tried croissants and various French pastries all over New York, and even directly from France. They all pale in comparison to Canelle Patisserie.

Cannelle Patisserie can be found at 75-59 31st Ave, East Elmhurst, NY 11370. More information (and mouthwatering photos!) can be found here.

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