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New Flavour Alert! The Frissant at Swiss Bakery

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Swiss Bakery
Producer of Canada’s first Frissant
143 E 3rd Ave

Mon-Fri: 7:00am – 6:00pm
Sat: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Closed on Sundays

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Our love for the Frissant goes back a few years, to the moment when we first heard about the Cronut craze in New York. Outside of Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho, stretched a line over three hours in length, full of eager foodies that just had to try the croissant-crossed-donut: “Cronut.”

Although the Frissant at Swiss Bakery has already received it’s fair share of media, we still encounter numerous foodies who have yet to try this sweet-tooth sensation. So, we got a behind-the-scenes look at the inner-workings of Swiss Bakery: how the Frissant came to be, how it’s made, how it’s sold, and how you can get one in your mouth.

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How the Frissant came to be:

The aforementioned pastry aficionado has actually patented the name “Cronut,” so you’ll find the “Frissant” in Swiss Bakery’s case of baked wares. The name is a blend of “fritter” (a Canadian term for donut) and “croissant.” In my humble opinion, I much prefer the eloquent ring of the name “Frissant,” as the word is both patriotic and refined. 

Call it what you will, there is no denying that this flaky ring is the child of croissant and donut. It took about 15 recipes for the team at Swiss Bakery to find the perfect fit, but the trial and error has clearly paid off.

How Frissants are made:

In my interview with Annette, Manager at Swiss Bakery, I asked if they had ever considered increasing the quantity of Frissants to respond to the everyday sell-out of the product. Acknowledging the impressive demand, she was thoughtful in her response, saying that they would stand by their current output, due to the time, effort, and level of execution required to make each Frissant great. From start to finish, it turns out to be a 3-day process to make, chill, sheet, cut, deep-fry, pipe, and finish a batch of Frissants to perfection.

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The trickiest thing about the Frissant is it’s temperamental nature. In order for the pastry to be a perfect balance of croissant and donut, the ingredients (especially the butter,) must be maintained and cooked at a very specific temperature.

After the dough is made and sheeted, each Frissant is individually cut – outside and in. They are then deep fried, one by one, and carefully monitored for the perfect colour and texture. After the cooking process, they are hand-piped with a crème filling that is injected at four points in the pastry. From there, it’s a final sprinkle of topping and they’re ready to fly off the shelves!

How it’s sold:

From Monday to Thursday, Swiss Bakery makes about 200 Frissants. On Fridays and Saturdays, there are 450 up for grabs. They are $4 each and worth every cent. Pre-orders, for a minimum of 24 Frissants, can usually be arranged (depending on how many other orders they have that day,) up to 48 hours in advance. And now, they have mini-frissants, too!

There are usually two feature flavours at any one time.

How you can get one in your mouth:

From Monday to Friday, Swiss Bakery opens at 7:00 A.M., and on Saturdays, at 8:00 A.M. As for Sundays?  Just don’t. I’ve pouted at the closed sign and left in shame. But, for the six days that they are open, just so you’re not caught with the rookies panting at the door, I’ll let you know that the Frissants are not usually ready until 8:30 A.M.

The Frissants typically sell out by noon, and even if someone is nice enough to save some for you (thanks Annette!) you deserve to taste them when they’re fresh. Don’t get me wrong; a Frissant will taste good at any hour, but the batch at 9:00 A.M. will turn you into that yodeling guy on the old Ricola commercials. In the morning, you’ll experience the incredibly crispy, endlessly flaky, sweet and crème-filled wonder in all its glory.

Look at it. Multi-layered with the best kind of sin. Plus, you can eat it with your morning coffee. A good day will ensue, guaranteed!

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A little about Swiss Bakery:

Who do we have to thank for such a tasty and compelling reason to wake up? It’s a father & daughter culinary pair! Michael is a Certified Master Baker – a highly regarded distinction that requires a 2-3 day examination process. His daughter, Annette, honed her pastry skills at the San Francisco Baking Institute.  Michael’s first bakery was actually in Kitsilano, in what is now Romer’s Burger Bar. Though their current location appears to be less assuming than W 4th Ave, it certainly has the industrial power to produce some of the city’s best baked goods.

Behind the quaint retail storefront that neatly displays Frissants, award-winning pretzels, tarts, danishes and more, is a bakery that means business. Nearly four times larger than the shop the average Frissant buyer may see, the bakery operates almost 24-hours to produce a wide array of wholesale of artisan breads and baked goods…that I’d bet you’ve tasted. You know the bread at Meat & Bread? Or the fragrant loaves at Chambar? How about the infamous slices at Mom’s Grilled Cheese? It was flooring news me, too! And, the list goes on!

What was even more surprising to me, was that this hushed phenomenon was exactly that. Swiss Bakery’s business has always grown from word-of-mouth. They have thought about explicitly branding their products that supply external retailers, yet, they simply have not found the need to do so. Frissant aside, this is where I truly fell in love. As an aspiring marketer, I am often overwhelmed and challenged with the number of communication channels that exist. It’s truly inspiring to know that, even in today’s media-saturated world, a business can still find success through people telling other people about their consistent products. It sounds a bit crazy and overly simplistic, but it really is a humbling and impressive feat.

So, you’ve heard the word about Swiss Bakery now…what are you waiting for? It’s time for (another) taste!

Joyce Chua

About Joyce Chua

I’m fascinated by food and its impact on culture, especially in an increasingly globalized world. I love how Vancouver’s multicultural food scene opens doors to history, culture, and understanding. Here’s to a life of eating and learning!

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