Okay, so… if you’re not a food blog trawling geek like myself, you may not know of this beautiful creature, which was one of Time Magazine’s inventions of 2013. Invented by Dominique Ansel in New York, it is a hybrid of the all-American doughnut, and the tres French croissant, hence the portmanteau name. I had been hunting for one for the last couple of months. After seeing the queues in New York, others have tried to get in on the hype this snack has been gathering. Indeed, several such places have been served with cease and desist orders, for using the name cronut, at times to hilarious effect! In the UK, at least until this week, it had only been spotted in London’s pricier, or more hipster areas. On Saturday, I walked from London Fields down to Charing Cross in search of this elusive prize, smartphone in hand, mapping a course through markets lined with organic butchers and chi-chi cake stalls, narrow streets full of men in tights sporting ridiculous facial hair, and even, at one point, a Costa coffee shop. For all this, my journey came to naught, and dejected, I made my way from the grimy capital, a cronut shaped hole in my belly and soul.
The following Tuesday, I had forgotten to partake of breakfast before leaving the house, and so decided that a £2 sausage and bacon sandwich was the way to go if I was to make it to lunchtime. I wandered into Greggs, and there, between the steak slices (love them) and the Yum-Yums (can’t see the point myself) was the Greggsnut, their legally compliant version of the Cronut. As they say, it’s only when you stop looking, you find what was in front of you all along! At the moment, they are only getting 4 a day, but given that they are normally sold out before 8:30am, I can’t see this being a continuing state of affairs. And so, I sat down with my coffee, and unpackaged the thing. Sloppy icing on the top made it look charming and less mass produced. I took a bite. It is sugary, like a doughnut, but with the buttery flakiness of a croissant. It was ever so slightly burnt, whether by design or accident, and this added a lovely contrasting flavour with the sugared icing and the toffee sauce inside. As you take more bites, it may become more than a little rich for 8:15am of a weekday, but this is a treat, and richness is preferable to blandness when you consume 500 calories in 3 minutes! Overall, it deserves the hype surrounding it, and on first impression, it may be the improvement both the doughnut and the croissant needed, and we never realised! If this is how good it tastes when it comes from Greggs, which while brilliant, is not known for using expensive ingredients (indeed, that’s exactly why Greegs is great), I can only dream of what Dominique Anselm’s original, baked over the course of three days with all manner of specialised equipment must be like. Solving my original aim has only left me wanting more!