Breton Brilliance

Try kouign-amann at Floriole

We've been on a fanatical search for kouign-amann since reading about the proliferation of the pastry in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

The Breton treat–pronounced "kween uh-mahn"–can be found sporadically at Alliance Bakery and, throughout March, at Floriole in Lincoln Park. It's the American-French bakery's pastry of the month, and it's spectacular. 

After a trip to a new kouign-amann shop in Paris last October, owner Sandra Hall set out to replicate the Breton butter cake. 

She starts with a dough similar to that of a croissant, then rolls it in sugar and folds it into a puck-shaped packet. The baked result has the yeasty flavor and flaky texture of the finest croissant, heightened by a caramelized exterior and the discovery of the occasional sugar nub inside. 

Try Floriole's kouign-amann ($3) through the end of March–though Holl is considering keeping them on as a permanent addition. While there, also try another new menu addition: Boston brown bread. 

Take home a cylindrical loaf ($5)–baked in a soup can–or order two toasted slices with butter and jam ($3.50) to eat on the spot. 

Floriole Café and Bakery, 1220 W. Webster Ave.; 773-883-1313 or floriole.com