La Châtaigne is a French-Italian bakery owned by Michael Faircloth that has been operating in Orinda and Lafayette farmers markets. This past December, they opened a storefront in Lafayette. I've never tried their pastries before, so when I heard they were opening in Lafayette, I got really excited because there's a lack of good bakeries in Contra Costa county. On Saturday, I woke up craving almond croissants, so off we went on a 25 minutes drive in the rain to check this place out.
As soon as we walked inside, we were greeted by warm and friendly personalities behind the counter, who turned out to be cousins of owner and baker Michael Faircloth. In the display case were almond croissants, chocolate croissants, savory croissants with meat and meatless options, morning buns, kougin amann ends, danishes, and tea cookies. Prices for each pastry ranged from $3.50 to $4.00.
Of course, I wanted to try everything, but we restrained ourselves, sort of. We got a box filled with both almond and chocolate croissants, a morning bun and two kouign aman ends. I have no shame in admitting that we killed this box of pastries in less than 15 minutes.
The morning bun was great; sugary and flaky with strong hints of orange zest.
Both the almond and almond chocolate croissants were tasty. The crust is shatteringly crisp and flaky, but not necessarily in a good way. You can see in the photo that the croissant has too thick a layer of crunch, almost as if the exterior was overcooked. The inside lacks the airy laminated layers. I did enjoy the crunchy frangipane cookie layer on top of the croissants, but it didn't add much to the croissant because the crunchy frangipane cookie got lost when blended with the crunchy crust. The croissants are still very enjoyable and I'd order them again, but if you asked me to stack them up against other almond croissants in San Francisco, they're not a contender.
Unfortunately, the kouign amann completely sold out when we arrived at 9am, so we got the kouign ends. The caramelization was nice, but overall too stiff of a dough. The ladies behind the counter were very nice and said if I call in advance next time that they'll save some aside for me for my next visit.
If you're in Contra Costa, La Châtaigne is worth checking out. It sure beats the drive to San Francisco from where we're at. I look forward to coming back for more!
Visiting La Châtaigne
35 Lafayette Cir Lafayette, CA 94549
Monday - Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Friday: 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm