If you’ve been paying attention this week, you should by now be able to tell the difference between a viennoiserie and a pastry (pâtisserie). If not, now’s your chance to catch up. Bet you’ll never look at the confections in a bakery’s display case the same way!
But what actually makes for an authentic French viennoiserie? Is it anything made with puff pastry or leavened dough with a crunchy exterior and a soft interior? Not … necessarily. And keep in mind, except for croissants and brioche, true viennoiseries may be called something else in the U.S. So keep your eyes peeled, and if you have a regular bakery that you go to, be sure to ask the purveyor if any of the items are viennoiserie.
The most common (Gaëlle approved!) viennoiseries are:
I haven’t been able to find some of them in town, but maybe we can inspire the French bakeries in town to expand their menu!
Today, we will talk about another breakfast treat, the traditional brioche. It’s a rich bread that contains extra eggs, milk and butter. The result is a soft and lightly sweet bread that can be eaten alone or used in sweet and savory dishes. I can’t wait to hear about the amazing ways you use your brioche!
Breadsmith in Okemos is THE place in town to get brioche. However, when I stopped in today to get one (admittedly, my first time there in over a year), I was DEVASTATED to find that they stopped making them after the onset of the pandemic. To maximize his minimal staff, owner Kent Seggebruch has temporarily (fingers crossed) downsized his menu, and his brioche didn’t make the cut. But with any luck, it will be back soon! In the meantime, Breadsmith continues to make the best baguettes in town, which I confirmed when I went in today. Hey, I couldn’t leave empty-handed!
If you like this event, please share it so more people can learn about French culture (and French pastries.) And make sure to follow us on social media or check our website for the latest updates. I know we are all sad that the French Culture Appreciation Week is almost over.
For Day 3 of French Culture Appreciation Week, let’s talk about croissants! Over the years, French bakers got creative with these prime examples of viennoiseries, and you now find croissants filled with sweet choices (such as almond paste and chocolate) or savory items (including ham, turkey and cheese.) Some people even use croissants instead of bread for making sandwiches. The options are endless!
Chapelure in East Lansing’s Hannah Plaza and Breadsmith in Okemos both offer a large selection of croissants. And if you stop by this week, make sure to mention Aux Petits Soins to the baristas!
If you like this event, please share it so more people can learn about French culture (and French pastries.) And make sure to follow us on social media or check our website for the latest updates, including the French pastry we’ll be talking about tomorrow!
Today, I’d like to introduce you to the pain au chocolat (pah oh shock-oh-lah), also known as chocolatine in the southwest of France and in Quebec (or chocolate croissant in the U.S.). French people actually argue about the name of this delicious treat, but they all agree — the pain au chocolat is one of the best examples of viennoiseries (vee-yay nwah-zree), a type of pastry made with the same type of leavened butter dough as a croissant. However, pain au chocolat has a rectangular shape, and (the best part) it has chocolate in the center!
You can find this delicious viennoiserie at Chapelure in East Lansing’s Hannah Plaza or Breadsmith in Okemos. If you stop by this week, make sure to mention Aux Petits Soins to the baristas.
Welcome to the Second Annual French Culture Appreciation Week! This year’s theme is something I’m sure you’re going to like, but first let me give you a little background.
My name is Gaëlle Cassin-Ross and I’m the owner of Aux Petits Soins, a French cultural center in Lansing. I moved to the area from France in 2009 and fell in love with Lansing, so I stayed and decided to raise my family here. My love for this city is not a secret — I even wrote a love letter to Lansing!
One of the reason I #lovelansing so much is because of all the international small businesses that exist side-by-side here — it’s almost as though you can travel around the world on a single shopping trip. So this year, for our second French Culture Appreciation Week, I decided to take you on an adventure around town to discover (or rediscover, as the case may be), French pastries. Every day at 1 p.m., I’ll share a post highlighting a different French pastry somewhere in town, with the first one being my favorite breakfast treat, pain aux raisins (pah oh ray-zoh), otherwise known as a raisin roll.
Pain aux raisins is a variant of the croissant or pain au chocolat. It’s made with leavened butter pastry, raisins and crème pâtissière, and twisted into a spiral shape. It’s often topped with either a sweet glaze or apricot jam. The raisins bring sweetness to this viennoiserie while the crème pâtissière brings moisture. And yes, it’s as good as it sounds! The spiral shape makes this pastry look enormous in comparison with croissant or pain au chocolat.
Now, where can you find pain aux raisins in Lansing? Look no further than Chapelure in East Lansing’s Hannah Plaza. And if you stop by this week, make sure to mention Aux Petits Soins to the two amazing baristas, Erik or Brooklyn, who will welcome you with a large smile!
If you like this event, make sure to share it widely so more people can learn about French pastries. And make sure to follow us on social media or check our website for the latest updates!
Who will you prank this year? We can’t wait to see all your pictures.
More information available here.
Today isn’t just the first day of summer — it’s also the French holiday Fête de la Musique, or “World Music Day.” All over France, there will be free concerts performed by professional and amateur musicians alike who will take advantage of today being the longest day of the year to fill the air with music covering all genres. These planned and impromptu concerts are held in theaters, bars, parks and street corners.
Article: “Fête de la Musique: What you need to know about France’s biggest street music party.”
And what better way to start summer vacation right here in Lansing than with a special day full of exuberant, music-making fun? This Sunday, Aux Petits Soins will host our Second Annual Music Festival. For two hours, we will transform the Aux Petits Soins classroom into a music and dance studio, with a range of musical instruments for the kids to play, a craft table, new French tunes to learn and more.
Space is limited to 15 kids, so make sure to reserve your tickets today. For details and more information, check out the event page on our website, or call (517) 999-7277. Ticket can be purchased online or in person at Aux Petits Soins during our business hours.
French people have a unique way of celebrating April Fool’s Day: you tape a fish on the back of an unsuspecting “victim,” and when the prank is discovered, you scream “Poisson d’Avril!” It’s a tradition that dates back to the 16th century, and has to do with an unpopular king’s decree for a calendar change that bumped the new year celebration from April 1 to January 1. It’s a long story, but you can find out more here or here.
On April 1, we hosted our second annual APS April Fool’s Day event, which this year we turned into a contest. We asked everybody to post pictures with the hashtag #APSAprilFool on social media, with the best picture winning a special prize pack.
And meet the winner! Audrey and her daughter Hannah, won gift certificates from Le Bon Macaron and Aux Petits Soins. Congratulations, we can’t wait to meet you both!
Today, the French celebrate Epiphanie (Epiphany). On this occasion, we share a cake named galette des rois (Kings’ Cake), a pastry that has small charms baked inside. This pastry is also filled with frangipane, a cream made from sweet almonds, butter, eggs, and sugar. I can’t wait to share this tradition with everybody on January 14 from 4-6 p.m. Full description of the event is available here.