June 11, 2011 by Emma Bentley
One of the criteria I set for the croissant competition in 2011 was that the croissant had to be the first thing I ate that day. I believe occasion plays a massive part in the enjoyment of any sensory experience – and appetite is a crucial factor. Two identical croissants would taste very different if one were eaten on a full stomach and the other when ravenous with hunger.
For that reason, this morning I jumped out of bed, pulled on some jeans and a shirt, and didn’t even stop to browse at the flea market I was so impatient to jump on a vélib, thereby considerably speeding up the obtaining-breakfast-process. However, now I wish I’d had a glass of orange juice or something before I left the house for the extra energy. Last night I planned which boulangerie I’d try out for today’s instalment and yes it had crossed my mind that there may be a slight incline to get there…. however, it turned out that what I had to cycle up was no small hill and, man, I was so tempted to pop in somewhere else for some breakfast first!
(You’ll hopefully be pleased to know that I had enough will-power to hold out!)
The boulangerie “Au 140” is located on 140 rue de Belleville in the 20th. I’d already heard good things about the place (from David Lebovitz) and topped with the knowledge that they’d won Paris’ best baguette competition in 2001 and (I believe) they’d also come second in Paris’ best croissant competition in 2006, I had high hopes.
 Croissant Competition #3:
Lots of care – almost an unreasonable level – was taken in getting my croissant au beurre fresh from the kitchen. There’s no hanging around on the counter getting more stale by the minute for the little pastry. No siree. The boulanger himself was lurking at the pass between the kitchen and the shop front and supervising every operation with hawk-like watchfulness.
The wrapping paper was very artfully twisted by someone who has obviously had plenty of practice in wrapping croissants. The croissant itself was a little bit floppy but I have to say, it was the perfect deep yellow/gold colour and it smelt gorgeous!
However, I’m a little bit sorry to say that it’s not the best croissant I’ve found in Paris. It was actually (and I don’t say this often) too buttery.
It was so buttery in fact, that I was having trouble gripping my handlebars and holding the brakes on my vélib as I was freewheeling down the hill on my way back.
Still, I would definitely recommend this boulangerie-patisserie. Take the métro to Jourdain, then take a vélib down the hill (and enjoy the great views of la Tour Eiffel as you go.) Alternatively, this place is worth remembering as a stop-off before a picnic on the Parc des Buttes Chaumont.
Essential InformationAddress: 140 Rue de Belleville, 75020 Telephone: 01 46 36 92 47 Website: Au 140 Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 7am-8pm. Sunday 7am-7pm. Closed Monday.