Cronuts and queues

I seem to have spent the last week on journeys rather than destinations. First there was the epic ride to Harlem where we were diverted by film crews on Park Avenue, the bomb squad on Madison and injured wildlife in Central Park. We arrived at the Harlem Shake only to find it closed for Memorial Day. Then there was the line at the Star Wars lego exhibit in Times Square ( OK I wasn’t really in the line, I just wanted to be there and wear my old ‘Darth Vader Lives’ badge ). Then yesterday found us queuing again, this time in Soho, but the line was too long and the reward too fattening – even for pastry Friday – so we gave up.

It’s not uncommon to get in line in NYC. But there’s a new fad in town that’s creating a whole new marketing and distribution model for the food industry. Dominique Ansel has had a fine patisserie on Spring Street for some time, and recently he added a pastry to his repertoire that combines a croissant and a donut. It is flakey pastry, deep fried, filled with cream and glazed with icing. The ‘cronut’ is now a copy-written collectable and the demand for them has gone viral, thanks to a limited supply of a treat that combines the best ( or worst ) of the sweet world.

Sean and I rode down to Soho thinking we would find just a handful of people waiting for the bakery to open at 8am, and that we could buy a couple of pastries and zip home. Think again. At 7.15 there were 110 people in the queue, and by the time the doors opened there would have been another 50 behind us. There was a television crew and much iphone activity, so anyone on a calorie count would have been visibly outed. The girl closest to the door – an intern from Todd’s – was sent by her boss and had been waiting since 5am. The previous maximum order of 6 per person had been reduced to 3, so those entrepreneurs working through craigslist would have seen their profit margins reduced. Their resale value varies from $20 to $40, but considering cronuts have a shelf life of 6 hours ( they cannot be put in the fridge or saved for the next day ) these middlemen would have to move their contraband quickly.

Ridiculous as it all seems, there was a kind of camaraderie in the crowd. Queuers pooled information about how many cronuts had been baked that day, what the new June cream flavour would be and if they thought there would be any left by the time we got inside. Serious silliness. Dominique sent one of his chefs along the line with a tray of fresh out-of-the-oven madeleines that added value to the wait, and with chocolate icing and coconut he may create another craze…

About the same time we decided it was time to head home for tea and toast, Dominique came out to announce the cronuts were all gone. ‘But please, come back tomorrow’. I can’t imagine that the success of actually eating this limited edition sweet could improve on the experience of the queue, and the craze may be over in a few weeks. By then Dominique will probably be living in the Bahamas, and his customers will either have gone on to the next big thing, or be back in the gym.

I’m thinking the Harlem Shake may be the answer to both these possibilities…

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Picture courtesy of Dominique Ansel….
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4 Responses to Cronuts and queues

  1. Katherine Woolsey says:

    Sorry…my tummy turned when I read about those Cronuts….I can’t believe that people que-up for that stuff…yuk.
    Have a good day!

  2. Dallas Colley says:

    New York New York! How amazing both the queues and the Cronuts, my arteries began to harden as I read about this decadent eat within 6 hours creation. xx

  3. june says:

    Glad I don’t like that kind of sweet sugary stuff – not worth queuing for – have healthier and better things to do.in New York I thought it was only the English that queued.

  4. Dallas Colley says:

    A postscript to my previous comment, The copycat arrival of cronuts in Adelaide
    and Melbourne as reported in the Advertiser (extract)” Adelaide Macaroon king Adriano Zumbo is about to launch the “zonut” an Frankenstein cross between a buttery croissant and deep fried doughnut. The cronut has already hit Melbourne, with Frank Camorra’s MoVida Bakery reinventing the treat as a “dossant” Zumbo expects all the buttery goodness of the zonut to be on his Sydney bakery shelves from this Friday. what’s the reason for the name “zonut”? “Cronut has been trademarked so I can’t use that” Zumbo said.” (The Advertiser is a Murdoch press daily publication in Adelaide Australia)
    Perhaps there may be other copycats world wide?

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