Home Magazine Au Levain Pairs Classic Pastries With Unexpected Flavors

Au Levain Pairs Classic Pastries With Unexpected Flavors

Most days you’ll find Angel Chavez crafting perfect renditions of French classics like crème brûlée at Bistro Campagne, where he’s the head pastry chef. But two days a week, he’s running Au Levain, a one-man Lincoln Square bakery that brings unexpected influences to classic pastries.

Consider his breakfast challah, a thick roll of challah, that staple of Jewish holiday dinners, topped with a baked egg, bacon, and Gruyère ($7). His kouign-amann ($5) wouldn’t be out of place on a cheese plate — it’s decked out with Brie and housemade apple butter. Chavez serves his Basque goat’s milk cheesecake ($28) with a changing selection of sauces, like cardamom and cinnamon cajeta. He’s even making some of the city’s best chocolate chip cookies: Jammed with chocolate, they come in packs of 16 ($18) — you can get them frozen ($15 for 15), if you prefer, to pop in the oven anytime you want.

Chavez’s baked goods are a far cry from the conchas he snacked on in his great-grandfather’s bakery in Mexico City, but his inspiration still comes from those memories. “I remember the smell of sugar and caramel,” he says. “That’s what I think about when I’m creating my own recipes.” Order at aulevainchicago.com for pickup Sundays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Bistro Campagne (4518 N. Lincoln Ave.).

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