I’ve mentioned previously that bread in Bogotá tends to be sweet, fluffy and soft, a bit like brioche, and even the brown bread often lacks assertiveness. The hojaldres (puff pastry) family is widely consumed, such as chicken/beef puff pastry, or Hawaiano (pastry filled with guava jam, cheese and pineapple). The problem is, the supposedly buttery pastries generally don’t taste quite the same here, nor do they smell the same. They can be soggy, and seem to suggest that other kinds of fat have been used instead of butter.
Although a Chinese by blood, I looove bread (especially smudged in butter!) truly madly deeply, so I’ve put together a list for other bread (more precisely, baguettes here, and croissant) lovers.
1. Eric Kayser
Hands down the best
Go for the ham & cheese croissant. From the name you probably can tell how serious Brot is about bread. The croissant, pan au chocolat, and ham & cheese croissant are pretty good here, especially since it’s such good value! Ranging COP 2,500 – 3,500 or USD 0.8 – 1.2, they are affordable and much better value compared to many other ‘French’ bakeries. On top of the pastries and baguette, the cinnamon roll and banana bread are also delicious. Many Bogotanos seem to agree the ‘chocolate baguette’ is the signature product from Brot. I, on the other hand, think that it could be slightly dry after being warmed in the oven. The baguette – simple and reliable, crispy and soft at the same time, is the winner for me. You just won’t find better baguette even at seemingly prestigious restaurants. At COP 2,500 each – it a steal. It certainly won’t embarrass you in front of your guests.
Croissant at the sugar-free institution is good, but at COP 4,500 for a bite of pan au chocolat, it’s a once in a blue moon luxury. Numerous healthy French breads are good, and costly of course!
4. Then we have the good old Jacques, from which the croissant is good enough to join the list..
Once, a Frenchman told me the best croissant for him is found at Bagatelle, or the café inside Alianza Francesa (Carrera 11 # 93 – 40). Maybe I was unlucky, since the one I had from Bagatelle didn’t seem to have enough butter so it was soft, and bread-like, lacking the pastry layers that warrant a good croissant status, while the one from Alianza Francesa was over-done (would a proper bakery sell over-baked pastries?), which made it ever so slightly ‘hard’ with a hint of bitterness from the burnt crust. Others have told me it’s Michel, which turned out to be a total disappointment (especially since it was much anticipated) as the croissant appeared un-French in every way – tiny, oily and soggy.. Pity.
Well, that’s all from my bread obsession! If any of you know anywhere to find better croissant and baguette, do let me know!
4th September 2015 P.S. Actually I’d forgotten about Klass when I wrote this! Like I said before, he has real good bread. Actually given its artisanal status and the use of sour dough, it is actually the best baguette in Bogotá. The slight problem is that it’s safer to call up Klass the day before to reserve your bread to avoid disappointment. And since it’s not commercial at all, Klass may not always have what you want, so in terms of reliability it’s easier to go to Kayser.