Wanting to put out a special spread for house guests but with no time to cook in this busy holiday week, we headed to Croissan’Time, a delightful French bakery that’s been an oasis for Francophiles for nearly 25 years. Just breathing in the aroma of the freshly baked bread and pastries lowers your stress level. The Fort Lauderdale bakery also serves hot items and sells cold cuts, cheeses, imports including caviar, foie gras, preserves, cornichons and vinegars and frozen duck, escargot and house-made ice cream and sorbet. Chef-owner Bernard Casse, born in Port-Sainte-Marie in southwestern France, opened the place in 1986. He uses fresh, top-notch ingredients, so food is not cheap here, but it’s well worth the price.
We love Casse’s rich quiche, made with heavy cream and milk. We had the full-size, with ham and emmantel Swiss cheese, but he also make individual-size quiches with a variety of ingredients including turkey, chicken, mushrooms and spinach. We shared a huge stuffed croissant with bechamel sauce inside and out. Big slices of Mediterranean pizza with lots of olives and tomatoes are another option.
The highlight at Croissan’Time is, of course, the baked goods. Bakers arrive at midnight to prepare dough for baguettes, specialty breads and croissants. The specialty item right now is the ultra rich French yule log (buche de noel) in three sizes (6, 8 or 12 inches, $25-$45). Mini pastries are irresistible, too – the perfect ending to a gourmet spread.