Malcolm Gladwell, well-known author, of such best-sellers as The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers today shares for you the brilliant breakthrough of the REAL question on Ottawa's Battle of the Croissants. Before I reveal how this transpired, I must give you a bit of background.
Four things happened today that speak to the formulation of this particular blog entry.
1) I had to cool my heels in the Ottawa South area between 7:15 am and 7:45 am as my son attended physiotherapy. I headed to my bank for an overdue ATM errand and then took a few extra steps to land at the Bridgehead coffeehouse at the corner of Bank and Grove. I knew I needed to get the morning kickstarted with 'a medium latte to go'. Then something happened while in line that can only be justified with the plea "Not guilty by reason of insanity." Against my better, calorie-counting, judgement and against any semblance of will-power, I said "and could I also get one of your ham and Gruyère croissants to go". Well I didn't 'go'. I sat down right away to administer my hit of caffeine and then unravel my little pastry bundle, that I rationalized as breakfast. It took great restraint to chew slowly and with good manners and sophistication as waves of saliva were building. I had an inkling that Bridgehead had not won the buttery croissant competition held on the weekend. But as I savoured the morning delight, I knew that what I was enjoying was still pretty amazing. The important message of this little story, is the total temptation these croissants created when my eyes fell upon them in the display case. (And I haven't even taken the time to share with you the utter disappointment of the person next in line who purposefully trekked to Bridgehead this morning to savour the newly released almond croissant, only to hear that it wouldn't be in this store until Friday.)
2) After the taxi servicing was completed, I headed home and I read Ron Eade's Omnivore's Ottawa blog entry on Battle of the pastries: Hot on the trail of Ottawa's best croissant. He announced that Le Moulin de Provence was top pick for the taste off that took place this past Sunday. What I had just enjoyed in Ottawa South this morning didn't even make the top 3.
3) I followed by reading Don's foodiePrints blog entry on Ottawa Croissant Battle: Results of the Roundup. More details on the Sunday taste off. Wow, Bridgehead was tied for 5th! They only beat out Boko Bakery and Loblaws. Who knew.
4) Being a huge fan of the TEDTalks, I rounded out my intellectual stimulation for the morning with Malcolm Gladwell's talk on spaghetti sauce. Shari of Whisk: a food blog had a morning twitter that landed me there through 20 Fascinating Lectures for Serious Foodies (http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/04/20-fascinating-lectures-for-serious-foodies/).
And this is when I had my eureka moment. Malcolm Gladwell talks about American marketing researcher, Dr. Howard Moskowitz, who did his doctoral dissertation on psychophysics and is most famous for re-inventing spaghetti sauce. And what I came to realize in the Battle of the Croissants, thanks to Malcolm and Howard, is that we are asking the wrong question. We shouldn't be looking for the perfect croissant, but instead we should be looking for the perfect croissantS. I suspect that the very clever, Tracey Clark, Managing Director of Bridgehead Coffeehouse already knew this. So for all of you not getting your croissant fix from top pick, Le Moulin de Provence, rest assured that you may still be eating a perfect croissant! Wherever your croissant temptations lead you in this city, enjoy. It is pretty fantastic that we have so many great choices in our wee town. (And Ichiban Bakery still needs to be in the running!)