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Aya Pastry, phenomenal baguettes now available in her shop

Aya Pastry, phenomenal baguettes now available in her shop
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  • Aya Pastry, phenomenal baguettes now available in her shop

    Post #1 - August 5th, 2019, 9:43 am
    Post #1 - August 5th, 2019, 9:43 am Post #1 - August 5th, 2019, 9:43 am
    We have been big fans of Aya Fukai’s wonderful baguettes and it is always a treat when I pick them up at Tempesta Market. My family are baguette snobs and Aya's are right up there with what is available in Chicago. I been hearing rumors about Aya opening her own shop, since her bakery has only been wholesale. She is having pop-up hours in August, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday in August.

    Really looking forward to being able to buy her baguettes and more at her bakery.

    Aya Pastry
    1332 W. Grand Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60642
    (312) 846.6186
    http://www.ayapastry.com
  • Post #2 - April 7th, 2020, 8:56 am
    Post #2 - April 7th, 2020, 8:56 am Post #2 - April 7th, 2020, 8:56 am
    I walked out of Aya with a large quantity of baked goods over the weekend.

    I took home a mini chocolate croissant, seasonal galette, kouign amman, bagguette, and olive ciabatta. I also got frozen mini croissants to try at home.

    I have now sampled all the goods. I would say they were all fine to good. The kouign amman was probably the best executed of the group, but probably a bit sweet for my taste.

    In general, I just found flavor to be lacking. The first thing I tried was the galette (which was filled with apples). It as a well executed pastry in terms of texture. Pleasant, but not mind-blowing. I then tried the baguette. Generally, I find a baguette to be a good indicator of the quality of the rest of the breads on offer. It was again a totally decent baguette but not among the best I've tried in town. I just wish it tasted wheatier. I had a hard time picking up any sourdough flavor. Maybe it was a salt issue. I also thought it was a bit small for a full-size baguette - probably somewhere between what I would consider a demi and a full (although probably the best way to compare baguettes was by weight and I didn't weigh this one or others I'm comparing it to). I think I've had as good or better versions from West Town Bakery and La Fournette (better flavor) which were also larger.

    The chocolate in the chocolate croissant was also sweet for my taste. The olive ciabatta was also lacking in olive or wheaty/fermented flavor. I found it pales in comparison to the PQM olive bread. To my memory, the PQM version (albeit a totally different style of bread) had both better bread flavor and more olive flavor (mostly because of more olives) and was sold at a similar price point. Oh for the days that that PQM olive bread was being sold for $5. Almost worth it for the quantities of olives you got in it alone.

    All in all, I was kind of disappointed. I was pretty excited to try the shop. It's been getting a fair amount of buzz since it opened. Chef Fukai has received a number of honors and it seems her wholesale business is quite successful as I see a bunch of her work on offer on various menus around town. The shop also seems popular as the number of order-ahead bags ready for distribution was sizable. There was also a short socially distant line outside the shop both before and after I went in to get my order. I should also point out that Chef Fukai was manning the register and was very friendly.

    I love baked goods, particularly breads and laminated pastries. When eating pastries in particular, I was reminded of just how special a product that Cellar Door Provisions is putting out (maybe it benefits from their house-made butter).

    Long story, short: I really wanted to love this place, but didn't. I probably will go back as some other options for these kinds of baked goods are closed and I do want to support bakeries in this vein. I wish them great success (and by the looks of things they probably don't need my help to achieve it). I will continue my attempts to get a sourdough starter going and bake my own breads to my taste during this time when my favorite products may be unavailable or inconvenient to buy.
  • Post #3 - April 7th, 2020, 9:25 am
    Post #3 - April 7th, 2020, 9:25 am Post #3 - April 7th, 2020, 9:25 am
    gastro gnome wrote:The chocolate in the chocolate croissant was also sweet for my taste.

    Lost Larson does a terrific chocolate croissant. Hint of cardamom, coco powder, hunks of chocolate. I want to say they use 70% cacao, but it may be higher.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - April 8th, 2020, 5:07 am
    Post #4 - April 8th, 2020, 5:07 am Post #4 - April 8th, 2020, 5:07 am
    gastro gnome wrote:
    I have now sampled all the goods. I would say they were all fine to good. The kouign amman was probably the best executed of the group, but probably a bit sweet for my taste.

    In general, I just found flavor to be lacking.

    All in all, I was kind of disappointed. I was pretty excited to try the shop. It's been getting a fair amount of buzz since it opened. Chef Fukai has received a number of honors and it seems her wholesale business is quite successful as I see a bunch of her work on offer on various menus around town. The shop also seems popular as the number of order-ahead bags ready for distribution was sizable. There was also a short socially distant line outside the shop both before and after I went in to get my order. I should also point out that Chef Fukai was manning the register and was very friendly.

    Long story, short: I really wanted to love this place, but didn't. I probably will go back as some other options for these kinds of baked goods are closed and I do want to support bakeries in this vein. I wish them great success (and by the looks of things they probably don't need my help to achieve it). I will continue my attempts to get a sourdough starter going and bake my own breads to my taste during this time when my favorite products may be unavailable or inconvenient to buy.


    I would give it another go once this is all over. I have yet to go but I know others who like the offerings there.

    In the meantime, perhaps I will make kouign amann sooner versus later. I have at least 3 # of butter in the freezer right now.

    50572E70-43BA-442F-ADE3-4F2C1631D712.jpeg Dough laminated by hand



    5083A9A2-6A71-48F8-876E-371D445152D4.jpeg
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening

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