For me, as a French person living in Norway, Croissants are one of these thing!
Obviously there's a minimum level of quality requirement:
Bags of 10 "croissants" all packed together in a plastic bag is probably not going to cut it.
The local Meny1 has some pretty nice fresh croissants, but like all fresh things, you have to go to the shop, which is not really not a good idea these days2.
Fortunately you can also find frozen croissants, and these you can store in your freezer, which elegantly solves the issue of having to interact with human beings.
As of today (March 2020), I've only found three candidates in the Norwegian shops:
- at Meny, Jacobs Croissanter (kr 36.90 pack of 6)
- at Iceland, Le Fournil de Pierre: Croissant Pur Beurre
- at Rema 1000, Alltid Croissant på lur (kr 29.20 pack of 6)
Rema 1000I'm going to start by the budget product from Rema 1000.
In term of storage, these are the ones which take the less room in the freezer because they are actually flattened, and expand when cooking.
Instructions specify that the oven should be preheated at around 175 degrees, and then the croissants should cook for 25 to 30 minutes4 and then left to rest a bit.
After cooking they sweat quite a bit of butter, so you may want to put them on some absorbing paper so the bottom does not get soft.
If cooked long enough and left to rest, they present a nice exterior and interior, crunchy outside, and the correct type of buttery inside, all very satisfying to eat.
If you don't leave them to rest, they will be difficult to cut, and the consistency will not be awesome, so beware5!
MenyThe second product is from Jacobs, a brand which is kind of hit and miss regarding the general quality of products6.
The packaging is definitely better looking that the Rema 1000 ones, and when taken out of the package we can see that the croissants are much thicker.
Preparation is quite different: Instead of cooking the croissants immediately, they should be left to thaw for about 20 minutes, then cooked at 180 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes.
The result is quite similar to the Rema croissant, nice and fluffy and with a golden color.
Contrarily to the Rema croissant, they can be eaten almost as soon as they are out of the oven, and the inside is consistently showing the expected texture of a normal croissant.
Taste wise, they are quite similar to the Rema one, which is a good thing.
IcelandAnd finely, the croissants from Iceland, a retail chain specialized in this type of products.
From the outside it looks like a product very similar to the Jacobs one, except in a white packaging instead of black.
The actual product does not seem very different either, looking a lot like the previous ones.
After cooking, still looking good.
The problem is when you actually want to eat them: Instead of the typical puff pastry expected in a croissant, the content feels more like brioche dough, both in texture and taste.
It does not taste bad, but it's not what I want in a croissant.
ConclusionSince all these products are in the same price range and have similar prepping time if you consider everything (cooking, resting, ...) our7 totally objective opinion is that the best choice is the Rema 1000 product, closely followed by the Meny one.
The Iceland product, I would only use if I can't find anything else.
1. One of the local retail chains, tends to be more expensive but with a larger choice of exclusive products↩
2. If you are a visitor of the future, I'm writing this the day after the country has been put in lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemics.↩
3. I'm always willing to test croissants, as long as they look edible.↩
4. On cooking paper, that one looks wrinkled because I reused yesterday's one!↩
5. And ajust depending of your oven of course↩
6. They are generally expensive, some of the stuff is quite good, but sometimes they get last in consumer blind tests...↩
7. Me and Miriam, what do you mean it's not a representative sample???↩