Seasonal Eats at Choc·O·Pain Bakery and Café
By Abby Montanez and Victoria Keenan
When is the last time you had an authentic French meal? Still thinking? Go ahead. We’ll wait. If you’re anything like us, it’s probably been awhile, but luckily Hoboken and Jersey City’s Choc·O·Pain Bakery and Café has got us all covered. Choc·O·Pain specializes in homemade breads, soups, sandwiches, pastries, and desserts that will transport you right to France. Known for their signature sourdough breads, which all start with a slow and long fermentation process, they also utilize (and sell) speciality ingredients such as artisanal chocolate, spices, mustards, salts, French sugar cubes, local Honey and Alain Milliat jams.
Owner Clémence Danko moved from France to Hoboken in 2009 with her husband and when she realized the lack of French cuisine options in the area, she took it upon herself to bring us a taste of home. Intent on providing her customers with a French “experience”, Danko only uses the freshest and highest-quality ingredients available and stays true to the corner store-style eateries that are so prevalent throughout France.
Deeply focused on seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs, Choc·O·Pain changes their menu every couple weeks/months, depending on what’s in season. Their fall tasting menu holds a bounty of rich and hearty fare, each even tastier than the last. We were lucky enough to sit down and get a taste of their lunch time delectables, which started with a slice of mushroom quiche and a brie, apple and arugula sandwich with walnuts and honey dijon mustard dressing on cranberry pavé. Even if you’re not a mushroom lover (which one of us is not) we both urge you to try this quiche, which was creamy and delicious. The sandwich had the perfect blend of ingredients and was a mouthful of fall in every bite.
We also had a cup of their spicy black bean soup and a side lentil salad with greens and a hard boiled egg. Choc·O·Pain changes their soup selection every 10 days or so, while their salads get switched out every three to four months to keep up with the seasons. For dessert, we each had a slice of the pear and almond tart which had a flaky, buttery crust and the perfect amount of sweetness. We were also lucky enough to get some pastries to take home which included an almond croissant, their signature “Choc O Pain”, banana walnut bread and “Petits Kouigns” a caramelized puff which can be filled with either chocolate, apple or raspberry. We had the chocolate and apple, which if you must know, lasted only minutes after we left.
Choc·O·Pain also wants to help out those still scrambling to get their Thanksgiving in order by allowing customers to pre-order pies and tarts. The last day to place an order is Sunday, November 20th, and you can either schedule a pickup or delivery for Wednesday, November 23rd.