I’m sitting in my local coffeehouse, Diva Espresso, which by most measures is a great place.  However, I’ve just choked down a croissant.  Before I went to La Napoule in the South of France, I liked their pastries.  Now that I’ve eaten the croissants and pan au chocolates from multiple cafes in the South of France, I can say that the stuff here in the US is barely edible.  The difference is huge.  The French pasties are light, flakey, soft, buttery without being greasy, etc…  The US ones are more dense, heavy feeling, and greasier.  It’s like comparing a two day old Dunkin’ Donuts donut to a fresh out of the works Krispy Kreme.  One is like a lead weight in your stomach and the other is like you’re eating halos from freshly killed angels.

Can anyone explain why I can’t get a good French pastry here?  Do they have magic water over there?  Baking is chemistry, and chemistry should be reproducible anywhere.