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Thomas Haas Patisserie, North Vancouver, BC

April 18th, 2009 · No Comments

Thomas Haas Bakery Thomas Haas Bakery Thomas Haas Bakery Thomas Haas Bakery Thomas Haas Bakery Thomas Haas Bakery
So – we had to come back. We’d been here twice before (here and here), but I didn’t feel that the prior posts did this particular patisserie justice.

We went there on the torture test day – Saturday morning. Lots of foodie people around – most of them clad in lululemon or spandex, living the healthy North- or West-Van lifestyle, with expectations to match their budgets. This small patisserie, located in a business park, was absolutely buzzing. The seats outside were packed with customers, the barista inside was a blur of activity, and the four servers behind the counter were like hummingbirds flitting around keeping everyone happy.

We ordered our favourites – a pain au chocolat, a single-baked almond croissant, and a lemon-cranberry scone. Add in a latte, and you’ve got a perfect breakfast for two.

Minutes later, we were seated in a sunbeam, loving it all.

The first thing you notice about the pain au chocolat is how very light it is. For those of you with significant pain au chocolat eating experience, you’ll know that many of these (the bad ones, mostly) – can be a bit heavy. Not those made by Mr. Haas and his artisans. These pastries play tricks on your mind and your mouth. The many layers of the pastry are light and flaky – looking to have the flakiness of Phyllo dough – but once in your mouth, they positively melt. The only crunch that you feel is when your teeth hit that first layer – the rest is butter.

This is a chef who has mastered the art of pastry.

The chocolate inside is (needless to say), delicious, as Mr. Hass is also a chocolatier, and this whole pastry is just amazing. He is absolutely on par with Pierre Hermé and the pastry chefs at Fauchon – our two favourites in the mecca of pastry.

The single-baked almond croissant is very different. Buttery, soft, full of flavour – it has an absolutely perfect filling of what looks like crushed almonds (perhaps with some pistachio as well?) and sets a standard for the category. The lemon-cranberry scone really needs a different name. There are so many scones in this world, made in the Tim Hortons and cafeterias of the planet, all of which simply fail. These doughy, flavourless creatures are either too salty, too sweet, too floury, or just too awful. The scones at Thomas Haas are more like little cakes and have that elusive and delicious lemon flavour that is usually only reserved for some of the best wedding cakes that I have had. The cranberries are not tough and just serve to accent the flavour, and the sugar crystals they are dusted with add a perfect hint of sweetness, not to overwhelm but to complement the saltiness of the dough. This is a scone with balance, and is thus perfect.

Have I gushed enough? I’ll stop here. But again, if you haven’t been, you should go. In my opinion, Mr. Haas is the finest pastry chef in North America and certainly on par with the best in the world. Bold words, indeed, but I’ve spent days in Paris searching out the best pain au chocolat, so I feel that my words do indeed mean something. And no – to our friends to the south, Mr. Keller’s pain au chocolats at the Bouchon bakeries – either in Napa or in New York City – do not compare. Boastful, bold words once again. But if you don’t believe me – just see for yourself.

Go now.

Thomas Haas Bakery
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 8am-5:30pm
Unit 128, 998 Harbourside Drive
North Vancouver, BC, V7P 3T2

Phone: 604-924-1847 Fax: 604-904-7479

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Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Tags: Baked Goods · Brunch · Cafe · Favorites · Vancouver

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