A Taste Test in Le Marais
Bonjour mes amis,
No eggs and no butter?? What? Can you really make French pastries without these two Parisian staples? Well, let’s find out!
Today’s post is for you French foodies and was conceived by our friend Richard Nahem – neighbor, blogger, and travel guide extraordinaire in Paris. We are posting simultaneous blogs on this Monday, September 6th, about a new, all-vegan bakery in the Marais called Land & Monkeys. It is in fact right across the street from our apartment. After you read my blog, you should go to Richard’s site at
and read his comments. He’s a definite gourmet foodie; I’m definitely not, so this should be interesting…ha!
Bernie, Richard and I made several trips to compare the new bakery with two existing bakeries along rue St. Antoine. Land and Monkeys (http://www.land-and-monkeys.com) claims to use no butter or eggs to create the typical French pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, etc. Their signature product is something called the monkey cookie which you’ll see in one of the photos. It’s described as a spongy, cake-like cookie which recovers the taste of caramel and salted butter.
Here’s some info translated into English from their web site.
I asked one of the store clerks on their second day after opening how they captured the moisture since they used no butter or eggs. She told me they used “oatmeal and corn syrup!” I was shocked because most of us know that corn syrup, though vegan, is horrible for you. So in all fairness, I did look on their website but found nothing to either confirm or dispute this. Here are some photos of Land & Monkeys.
Taste Test #1
This test was between Paul, the traditional baker we all know from airports and cities around the world, and the vegan bakery. We tasted croissants and pain au chocolat, and the results were overwhelmingly in favor of Paul. The Paul croissants were delicious and buttery as in leaving you with greasy fingers; the vegan, not as flaky and in Richard’s words “more like a dinner roll than a croissant.” The pain au chocolate at Paul was also delish: very moist and flaky to the max; the vegan, not at all. The chocolate was okay but the Parisian richness was missing around it.
Several days later, we went down the street to The Boulangerie St. Antoine which is a favorite among the locals we know. This round we sampled Pain au Raisin and a traditional baguette. (The original plan had been to taste another pastry but Land and Monkeys did not have those on that particular morning which was disappointing.) The results were quite surprising. The Pain au Raisin from the vegan bakery was flaky and buttery, actually quite good; whereas the other one was a bit doughy. The baguette from Land & Monkeys was crispier and better than St. Antoine’s. Bernie made a fair observation on this, however. We asked for a slightly different product at the vegan place, a baguette Traditionale which is typically cooked a little longer.
So all in all, a fun experiment, and we hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride. Just think, all the delights of wonderful French baked goods without any calories! Now go wipe that greasy butter off your fingers.
L & B
P.S. Don’t forget to check Richard’s blog and let us know what you think.
Lynne Berry Vallely
September 6, 2021 @ 12:01 pm
Gosh, ya’ll are so accommodating! “THROW me into the briar patch!” How self-sacrificing of you! Richard knows now that ya’ll are true friends who will storm any bakery in the name of good taste. SO PROUD OF YOU!
September 6, 2021 @ 2:40 pm
Yes, what we will do for friends!
September 6, 2021 @ 12:28 pm
They are simply works of art. Loved sampling along with you three.
September 6, 2021 @ 2:39 pm
September 6, 2021 @ 12:31 pm
Reading both of your blogs has made my choice of an English muffin for breakfast look pathetic. Both of you presented your cases well, but I enjoyed your numerous photos of all the different pastry selections at the two shops. It has also made be yearn for a trip to sample them in person.
September 6, 2021 @ 2:39 pm
You guys have to come again!
September 6, 2021 @ 12:37 pm
What a fun post! Even more fun to do, I imagine! As I scrolled through the photos, I thought the Land and Monkeys croissant and pain au chocolat didn’t look the way I expect both to look. Something off looking about the outside layer. The opposite was true in the photos of the baguette and the raisin snail. In this case, it seems, like you can judge a book by its cover.
It is a personal choice to be vegan and difficult to do in our world. It is getting a bit easier in some areas in the US, but it isn’t easy to do when traveling. I will forward this to a vegan friend (although I know she will want to find out about the corn syrup!).
Thank you, Linda & Richard!
September 6, 2021 @ 2:38 pm
September 6, 2021 @ 1:32 pm
Must admit that all the pics made me remember were those wonderful French pastries and croissants that we had every morning at the “B & L Bistro (ha) before we started our adventure for that day. Ah….terrific memories!!!!!!!!
September 6, 2021 @ 2:37 pm
Wonderful memories for sure!
September 6, 2021 @ 6:16 pm
Enjoyed this epicurean adventure. Need recipes! Are you familiar with two French bakeries in town? One at Bridge Street and newest on Meridian.
September 7, 2021 @ 3:05 am
Yes, I’ve gotten macarons from the one at Bridgestreet and the other one was just opening up when we left, but Jim Bilbro has told me about it.