What It Is
A pain au chocolat, often simply called a chocolate croissant, is a viennoiserie sweet roll that’s made the same way as a croissant with yeast-leavened laminated dough. The magic comes from the rich, dark chocolate that runs through the center of it. The best are tender, pliable, and warm enough for the chocolate to ooze a little as you bite into it.
Why We Love It
Croissant + chocolate = happiness. No matter how many you eat in a lifetime, there’s true joy each time you get a perfect bite of flaky crust, supple layers of buttery bread, and melt-on-your-tongue dark chocolate.
Where to Find It
République: Los Angeles, CA
Pastry queen Margarita Manzke stocks the pastry cases with edible art at this bakery-by-day/restaurant-by-night. Dark chocolate is tucked into a tight coil of laminated dough that practically sighs as you bite into it.
Rustica Bakery: Minneapolis, MN
The caramelized outer shell snaps—not crumbles—as you sink your teeth into it . Chewy, buttery layers surround generous chocolate ganache that runs end-to-end of the pastry.
Common Bond: Houston, TX
Known for elegant renditions of European bakery—brioche, kugelhopf, croissants—this bright bakeshop produces pain au chocolat so airy a cross-section looks like a piece of honeycomb.