7-Eleven may have bitten off more than it can chew in this taste test showdown.

The other day, our Japanese-language reporter Tasuku Egawa spotted a new croissant on the 7-Eleven website, and he immediately felt a mysterious sense of déjà vu.

This “Strawberry Chocolate Croissant” looked exactly like another one he’d seen somewhere before, and when the fuzzy recollection in his mind soon became clearer, he jumped up, phone in hand, and shouted, “This is a knockoff of Pierre Hermé’s Croissant Ispapan!”

While the rest of us had no idea what he was talking about, Tasuku was out the door before we could ask him anything. He returned soon after, with a bag in his hand and a grin on his face that suggested a taste test was about to get under way.

Placing his purchases on the table, we saw he’d bought two of each to try.

▼ 7-Eleven croissant (left), Pierre Hermé croissant (right)

The price difference between the two was surprisingly great, with the 7-Eleven variety priced at 170 yen (US$1.49) and the Pierre Hermé variety priced at 540 yen, which is over three times the price of the convenience store one.

▼ Would the price difference be reflected in the taste?

Judging them purely on appearances, they both contained a sugar glaze with a crunchy red topping. If anything, the 7-Eleven croissant looked slightly more appetising, with its longer, more traditional shape and all-around plump appearance.

It looked so good that Tasuku decided to try this one first. Upon opening the wrapper, he saw that the crunchy red bits on top were freeze-dried strawberry pieces, and there was a generous dusting of strawberry sugar there as well.

It certainly looked very fancy for a convenience store croissant, but how did it taste? Well, after taking a bite, Tasuku felt it was a good croissant, with a nice strawberry chocolate filling that was neither too sweet nor too tart, making it ideal for a wide variety of palates.

▼ Unwrapping the Pierre Hermé treat revealed a very different-looking croissant.

The red pieces on top of the croissant were much softer — so soft, in fact, that they’d smeared themselves on the wrapping during transit.

▼ Here’s a pre-transit shot of the croissant, as it looked inside the Pierre Hermé store.

Biting into this one revealed that the red pieces weren’t made from strawberries like the 7-Eleven variety. These were framboise pieces, which were filled with a stronger, tarter flavour. Inside was…a berry jam? Tasuku couldn’t quite work out what the sweet-and-sour filling was made of, so he took another look at the website and discovered it was a rose-flavoured almond paste that also contained lychee and a framboise compote.

So what was Tasuku’s verdict? Well, there was no comparison. The texture and flavour of the Pierre Hermé croissant was on a whole other level to the 7-Eleven knockoff. With its voluminous dough and complex ingredients, Tasuku actually thought the 540 yen he’d paid for it was a bargain.

In fact, Tasuku went as far as to say it was the best croissant he’s ever eaten in his life.

So, sorry 7-Eleven — when it comes to your Pierre Hermé knockoff croissants, they’re just not as good as the real thing. It’s a pretty tough task to try and compete with a big player at a third of the price, though, so we admire your audacity, and hey, it’s not a bad croissant at that price point.

When it comes to margherita pizzas, though, 7-Eleven is definitely the place to go!

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]