I will never forget my first visit to Paris. Aside from the beauty, romance and rich history of this city, one of the things that I will always remember is the moment in which I tried, for the first time, a real pain au chocolat, or chocolate croissant as it is called in the US. The moment in which I sank my teeth into this perfect pastry oozing with melted chocolate just as it came out of the oven, my relationship with Miami-made pastries changed for ever. I felt, somehow, that my eyes had been opened to something much better, superior, and I just could not look at their Miami counterparts in the same way.
Having always been a fan of croissants, this discovery took my french pastry obsession to a whole new level, leading me to have breakfast two, sometimes three, times a day and stopping by every single patisserie that crossed my way during my stay in Paris.
Eventually, my trip came to an end, as well as my dream of having the perfect pain au chocolat for breakfast every day. The good old Publix brands that would tempt me so much every time I walked past them at the store where just not doing it for me. The ubiquitous croissants from La Provence that I had cherished so much just weeks before were simply bland in comparison. I was just starting to accept my fate of not being able to enjoy my favorite breakfast food ever again, when all of a sudden, one glorious day, I stumbled upon a little gem in Sunset Harbor that restored my faith and love in Miami-made croissants. This little gem is, quite appropriately, called True Loaf.
True Loaf is owned and operated by Tomas Strulovic, a formed banker turned baker, who decided to leave his job in the financial industry to learn how to bake at the French Culinary Institute in San Francisco, working at several local restaurants before opening True Loaf in Miami Beach in November of 2013. Even though Tomas is not French, I can assure you that he has mastered the art of french baking, especially when it comes to pastries.
What I like the most about True Loaf is that they always have several croissants on rotation to chose from, some of which include chocolate, classic plain, ham, and my new favorite: the almond croissant. This last one is filled with almond paste, and has little "legs" or patitas de almendra, as I like to call them, of the cream that protrudes from the corners, which are simply delicious when dipped in a cappuccino.
So there you go. Even though there's many solid new bakeries popping up all over Miami, when it comes to croissants, the best one is, by far, True Loaf. If you've had a real pain au chocolate before, I urge you to try them as they will transport you back to Paris with just one bite. The best part? You don't have to travel 8 hours by plane to do so!
|Sweet Brioche Filled With Pastry Cream|
|My precious: chocolate bread pudding, chocolate croissant, almond croissant and plain croissant.|
|Chocolate bread pudding.|