As far as I know, there isn’t much of a French community in the Miami area. That is why I appreciate any sort of French bakery that pops up into my radar. I am a fanatic of croissants, French breads, and pastries, so I jump at the chance to sample some baked goods. In fact, my first job during high school was as a cashier and sandwich maker in a French bakery, so there is usually a sentimental factor attached to this type of food for me. This yearning for some pastries and breads brought me to Le Provence, a French bakery with a few locations throughout the Dade area. This particular location I went to is the one in South Miami, and lets just say that I left less than impressed.
All French bakeries can be judged based off of the authenticity and quality of their croissants, and this particular item at Le Provence (at least this location) left much to be desired. Instead of having the flakey and buttery texture that croissants are typically known for, this croissant was heavy and felt more like a roll of bread than anything. Either the croissant was poorly made or it was one that was not fresh. Either way, it led to disappointment. I usually get almond croissants every time I am in a French bakery, and due to the fact that the croissant itself was not as good as it should have been, I wish I had tried something else. On top of the croissant not being up to par, the almond cream itself barely added any taste to the package. The only welcomed addition was the almonds that were placed on top, since they added a nice change in texture and butteriness that is not present in the croissant.
The one thing I have had here that is of quality is what they call a chocolate beignet. Forget any preconceived ideas you may have of what a beignet is, because this item is completely different than what you are bound to find in New Orleans. Instead, the chocolate beignets here are more akin to a doughnut due to the fact that they are fried brioche dough that is split in half and filled with bittersweet chocolate. This is actually an item that I would get again, but it is not very French.
I’m not saying that the food here is not good, but please don’t call it a French bakery when you can’t execute correctly what defines French authenticity. Coming here, I would just order half a dozen beignets again and call it a day. But I advise you to stay away from the croissants.
1573 Sunset Dr. Coral Gables, FL 33143
By Food Blogger Santiago Cardona