It's hard to believe it was six years ago that Cronuts, the combination croissant and donut from inventive pastry chef Dominique Ansel, hit New York with such fervor that an online black market cropped up in exchange for the hard-to-get treats. Those lines have remained, and this morning they were even longer than usual.
A blocks-long line of about 200 people snaked around Dominique Ansel Bakery today, with some people queuing hours before the 8 a.m. opening. This time, people waited to get their hands on not the Cronut, but ultra-rare sweets crafted by celebrated pastry chef Cédric Grolet. His intricately shaped treats (made to look like fruits and nuts) are only available through this weekend.
Grolet, who ordinarily makes gorgeous desserts at Paris's swanky Le Meurice hotel, is known for his idiosyncratic pastry craftsmanship. "They almost mimic the taste of the thing you’re eating, though you’ve got this photorealism that’s awesome," says Kaaron Briscoe, a Brooklyn resident waiting outside the bakery this morning, Grolet's cookbook in tow. It makes sense that Grolet's partnered with Ansel for this residency, given that Ansel's own specialties lie in experiential fare like the beloved milk and cookie shots. (In the early 2000s, Ansel hired Grolet, then fresh out of pastry school, to work at the gourmet shop Fauchon).
From Friday, April 5th, until Sunday, April 7th, Grolet will be hawking three unique pastries that look less like food and more akin to a piece of art you might place on your mantle instead. There's yuzu ganache lemons stuffed with candied lemon peel and lemon marmalade; a strawberry-shaped ganache situation filled with fresh strawberries and compote; and a hazelnut with ganache, praliné, and biscuit, along with caramel and yes, a bit of gold. Naturally, the pastries' Instagrammability is extremely high.
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The makings of La Noisette with @cedricgrolet. See you all tomorrow-Sunday at the Bakery, where we’ll be serving this beautiful hazelnut cake, as well as Cédric’s Le Citron 🍋 and La Fraise 🍓 cakes. From 8am Fri-Sat and 9am on Sun until sold out. #dominiqueanselxcedricgrolet #Soho
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Many people on line were fans of Grolet's, who has never sold his pastries in New York City until now. Ian Danielson, who started waiting at 5:30 a.m., snagged three pastries of each flavor, which he says is the limit, and a Cronut for kicks. (He's not hoarding the rare pastries, though, he told Gothamist he'll be sharing them with family instead.)
"His creations for the fruits are just the top of the craft," says Eloi Simmonet, a chef and baker who waited two hours to get the lemon and strawberry concoctions, which he notes are "basic tastes in pastries, but at its best." He adds: "Good luck to everybody in the line."
Additional reporting by Jen Chung.