Brits, be prepared to queue.
The Cronut—the croissant-doughnut hybrid—lands in London on Friday when the new Dominique Ansel Bakery opens at precisely 8 a.m.
In New York, people were lining up ’round the block in Manhattan’s Soho within days of the pastry being introduced on May 10, 2013. This sweet monster was supposed to be just a Mother’s Day special, but everything changed after a blogger published a preview the night before the debut.
“He called me about 6 p.m., and he told me his article had gone viral,” Ansel says. “I said, ‘I am happy for you.’ And he was like, ‘No you don’t understand: This is going crazy. You should be ready to make some more tomorrow.’”
Ansel made 25 the first day. And 35 the next. Eventually the line stretched more than two blocks. Some people started to resell pastries on the Cronut black market for a steep markup.
“I only had four employees,” he says. “We couldn’t keep up.”
Three years on, the Cronut is a trademarked phenomenon. Ansel now has four stores worldwide: Two in New York, one in Tokyo, and one in London, where he is adding pastries and tweaking his range.
Ansel changes the flavor of the Cronut monthly. In London, it will debut with salted butterscotch and cocoa nib as a cost of £4 ($5.19), compared with $5.75 in New York.
Other options on the menu will include the Paris-London, a twist on the traditional Paris-Brest, a wheel-shaped pastry created more than a century ago to celebrate a cycle race. In London, it’s made with Earl Grey mousse, blackberry, and lemon. It sports a shirt collar, a mustache, and a monocle, and costs £6.20.
Or how about the Eton Mess Lunchbox (£7.50)? This features “strawberries” (made with mousse and jelly) atop crème fraiche with small meringues in a clear plastic box that you shake to create a mess. “It’s inspired by Korean lunchboxes in New York, where they put in the rice and the eggs and then shake,” Ansel says.