Gifts for the Food Lover, Gift #5: Fabulous, Flaky Pastries

Note: This is my annual Christmas list of gifts for the food lover, incredible edibles and a few that aren’t meant to be eaten. As the holidays approach, I hope that you find something here that will gladden the hearts (and stomachs) of the foodies on your gift list, including you.

In this series:
Gift #1: Something with Peanut Butter
Gift #2: Cookies for the Adults
Gift #3: Salads + Spreadable Edibles
Gift #4: A Christmas Bread
Gift #5: Fabulous, Flaky Pastries
Gift #6: Cookies + Milk
Gift #7: Double Dips
Gift #8: The Dessert Comes First book – Signed + FREE Shipping!
Gift #9: A Bounty of Bread
Gift #10: A Chewy Cookie That Stays Chewy

By now you know that Brasserie Ciçou is famous for its Kouign Amann or KA, as chef-owner Cyrille Soenen, and his wife, Anna, affectionately call it. A multi-awarded sweet, it’s seen its fair share of progressions since its introduction to Filipinos some years back. A specialty from Breton, France, its name means “bread and butter.” Invented in the mid-19th century, kouign amann is a happy result of plying a yeasted laminated dough with lots – lots – of sugar. During baking, the sugar produces intense caramelization throughout the pastry and crowns it with a disturbingly addictive sugar-crisp top.

Think: a croissant on crack.

The first kouign amann that Chef Cyrille introduces at his brasserie is caramel. Paired with a salty-sweet caramel ice cream flirting with burnt flavor notes, it’s a pastry that’s wild and thrashing – one of those things I eat while thinking dirty, dirty thoughts. The caramel kouign amann is followed up by a chocolate version – it’s so bewitching it’s an untamed beast spilling out and over itself. Like I said: dirty, dirty thoughts I blame on decadence.

Recently, the kouign amann has undergone several iterations. It’s been downsized but the number of flavors has increased. “We wanted to make them more affordable,“ Anna explains. “More affordable means people can buy more flavors, eat more.” I certainly can’t argue with that.

kouign amann 021

Each pastry is barely two inches in diameter and the visual effect of multiple kouign amanns is dizzying. What to try first? Chocolate, caramel, coffee, lemon, peanut butter and jelly, ChocNut, ensaymada, chorizo, bacon and cheese… Oh, the exquisite pain of too much choice!

kouign amann 038

I’ll admit that decreasing the kouign amann’s size downplays its flakiness but that’s just me being fussy. When it comes to favorites with these new flavors, I’m a purist so it’s forever the caramel for me; but I revel in the ensaymada’s salty-sweet tag and tease.

Large or little, when it comes to the kouign amann, I love every last mouthful.


Kouign Amann “KA” by Ciçou
2/F SM Megamall Fashion Hall
0917 790 0589
On Facebook: Kouign-Amann-KA-by-CiÇou
At the kiosk, only small versions are available. P40-P60 each.

Larger kouign amanns are available at:
Brasserie Ciçou
57 Annapolis St Greenhills, San Juan
02 661 9200

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