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Starbucks Canada has a new friend, and her name is La Boulange. The French-style patisserie was founded in San Francisco in 1996 and Canada now gets a taste, since Starbucks has swapped its old sweet treats for the brand’s (sometimes) delicious offerings. Because today is the launch, we decided to walk down the street and ask for literally one of every La Boulange treat they had. In total, we ate 18 pastries and treats, and we are now very full. Fans of the old, like the oat bar, cookies and croissants will be happy to know they still exist, but the recipes, as we’re told, have been tweaked by La Boulange. Sometimes it works, but other times, the results are tragic. Here’s how each item held up to The Loop’s willing (and then unwilling) team of taste testers, who rated things on a scale from 1 (weak) to 5 (strong):

Almond Blossom

This was a huge hit with us. We loved the flaky, croissant nest that kept the creamy, textural almond paste nestled in like a lovely, soul-warming package. Very, very good. Would eat again if we weren’t feeling sick from eating everything on the Starbucks menu.

Visual appeal: 
4.9
Sweetness factor: 
2.2
Mouth feel:
4.2 
Frenchness: 
4.1
Repeat customer:
oui (there was one maybe, and she said she would only eat these if the scones were not available)

almond-croissant

Blueberry Muffin with Honey

This sounded amazing, but it was not as good as it sounded (or looked). It was just kind of a dry muffin with a few blueberries in it. We liked the old blueberry muffin.

Visual appeal: 4
Sweentess factor: 3
Mouth feel: 3
Frenchness: 1
Repeat customer: Non

Blueberry Buttermilk Scone

This scone was only consumed by two people, and neither particularly like sweets. So it should come as no surprise that both parties found this completely underwhelming. One taster actually yelled, “spit it out,” because she was so offended by the beads of sugar resting atop the scone. That said, if you like sugary treats, this is for you. The mouth feel was nice, but it is dangerously sweet.

Visual appeal: 5
Sweetness factor: 4
Mouth feel: 4
Frenchness: 4
Repeat customer: Non

blueberry-scone

Butter Croissant

The croissant offerings at Starbucks were never this good. Biting into this butter croissant, you get that nice crunch, like the protective shell of a delicious armadillo. Inside, layers and layers of fluffy croissant melt in your mouth. Buttery, buttery goodness.

Visual appeal: 4
Sweetness factor: 2.3
Mouth feel: 4.7
Frenchness: 5
Repeat customer: Oui, oui, oui

croissant

Chocolate Brioche

The ultimate criticism of this classic French treat was that La Boulange’s interpretation of it kind of resembled a large “deuce.” That said, our crack team of sweet seekers found that while the exterior was very dry, when tucking into the center, you were met by warm, fleshy goodness accented with the mouth feel of a cinnamon bun.

Visual appeal: 3
Sweetness factor: 3.7
Mouth feel: 3
Frenchness: 5
Repeat customer: Non

Cranberry-Orange Buttermilk Scone

The scone offerings from La Boulange are super decadent. Of the two available, both were topped with a heavy handed amount of rock sugar. “That’s what I love about it,” said one taster, while another just said, “it tastes gritty in my mouth.” The citrus flavour is quite nice, bursting in your mouth and coating your tongue, which only amplifies the flavour of the cranberry. There’s nothing subtle about this scone, so people averse to sugar will need to move along.

Visual appeal: 3.5
Sweetness factor: 4.5
Mouth feel: 1.5 (gritty in my mouth)
Frenchness: 1
Repeat customer: This was split. Half said “oui,” while half said “non.”

cranberry-scone

Peanut Butter Cookie

Peanut butter cookies are a childhood staple, and with Kraft featuring a quick recipe on its label, it sometimes seems foolish to buy ’em. In the case of this updated cookie from Starbucks, we’re not into it. One taster said (upon looking at the cookie), “it looks like a loaf of bread.” While bread is delicious, that’s not really how you want to be seen if you’re a cookie. The cookie crumbled on the outside, leaving an oily, gritty residue on our fingers. The inside, however, was chewy and not terrible.

Visual appeal: 3.4
Sweetness factor: 2.9
Mouth feel: 2.75
Frenchness: 1.75
Repeat customer: Mostly non, one “meh.”

Cheese Danish

How can you not like something with a sweetened cheese filling? But, you know what? This was split. While most liked the silky interior, half of the tasters said they wouldn’t be a repeat customer.
Visual appeal: 4.5
Sweetness factor: 1.75
Mouth feel: 4.25
Frenchness: 3.75
Repeat customer: Oui and non

cheese-danish

Pain au Chocolat

“The little chocolate turds peeking out the sides are promising,” said one taster. While we reserve our judgement in this particular case, we’d like to note that visually, this was a real favourite. “Pain au chocolat is my favourite dessert,” remarked another brave tester. While it had the look, overall, people were pretty underwhelmed. For one, it was very dry, and those chocolate turds? Well, they didn’t melt in your mouth. The same taster with the vivid description of chocolate-flecked pastry said that this pain au chocolat is “French, but in name alone.” Scandale! 

Visual appeal: 3.75
Sweetness factor: 2.75
Mouth feel: 3
Frenchness: 4.5
Repeat customer: Split – half yes, half no

pain-au-chco

Ginger Molasses Cookie

One taster said this cookie looked “suspiciously darker” than the original recipe. More molasses? We don’t know. What we do know is that that the ginger flavour was a refreshing change to some of the more cloyingly sweet offerings. We didn’t have milk, so this was our palette cleanser.

Visual appeal: 3.4
Sweetness factor: 3
Mouth feel: 3.6
Frenchness: 2
Repeat customer: Oui

Oat bar

Fans of Starbucks will know that most people view the Oat Bar as the “healthy alternative” to, say, the oat fudge bar or anything else on the treat menu. But this revamped oat bar looks different. One said, “it looks less uniformly rectangular,” while another said, “this tastes like butter.” So, put those two together and you have a less uniform rectangular wad of butter taste. “The original was way better,” proclaimed a devout fan of the original.

Visual appeal: 3
Sweetness factor: 3.75
Mouth feel: 2.5
Frenchness: 3
Repeat customer: Oui but non, because the cal count used to be 400+ cals and it must be more now

oat-bar

Banana Chocolate Muffin

“That banana chocolate chip muffin was useless. I could make it better,” said one taste tester emphatically. He was not a fan, and now he owes us a basket of his famous muffins.

Visual appeal: 2
Sweetness factor: 3
Mouth feel: 3
Frenchness: 2
Repeat customer: Non – mine are better

muffins-

Fruit and Oat Cookie

“Not French, but a strong cookie offering,” said one cookie connoisseur. Texturally, it’s a mixture of hard and soft, which is kind of what you are looking for in a good cookie. Don’t be fooled by “fruit and nut,” as something meant to translate to “mild sweetness.” This is a fairly sweet treat.

Visual appeal: 4
Sweetness factor: 3.5
Mouth feel: 4
Frenchness: 1.5
Repeat customer: Oui

Double Chocolate Brownie

One of our tasters has a lot of food allergies, so she was particularly keen on trying this one. And she loved it. “Guys, I really love the mouth feel on this one,” she shouted from her desk. “Mmm, soft,” was also a Homer-esque adulation we overheard. But she wasn’t the only one who had great things to say. The team loved its mild sweetness, although some did say it could be a touch sweeter. And overall, no one thought this was very French at all.

Visual appeal: 3.7
Sweetness factor: 2.4
Mouth feel: 4.3
Frenchness: 1
Repeat customer: Oui (“Brownies are French? That’s an American invention if I’ve ever seen one,” lamented the brownie’s most enthusiastic supporter.)

brownie

Blueberry Bar

This is a revamped recipe, and the change is definitely clear. The blueberries burst (more like gush) in your mouth, which is great, ’cause it’s fruit. And in the world of fruit, people like fresh. No longer will the Starbucks blueberry bar be a mushy, bready mess.

Visual appeal: 3.5
Sweetness factor: 3
Mouth feel: 3.5
Frenchness: 2.5
Repeat customer: Oui

Caramel Muffin

Everyone hated this. Too sweet, and a bad mouth feel (like “soupy caramel stuffed in muffin”). We all thought it was pretty to look at though, so there’s that. If you just want to sit and stare at a muffin, then this is for you.

Visual appeal: 3.3
Sweetness factor: 4
Mouth feel: 2.7
Frenchness: 2
Repeat customer: Non, non, non (“do not like”)

muffins-

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Light, fluffy and full of cinnamon flavour. It’s beautiful to look at, not too sweet and it feels really good in your mouth. Impossible to hate, like a grandma.

Visual appeal: 5
Sweetness factor: 3
Mouth feel: 4
Frenchness: 2
Repeat customer: Oui