Here we go, the long-awaited results of the Namur vs Oberweis battle are here.
First of all, some details about the setting and rules:
– 6 products (5 sweet, 1 savoury) have been tested: butter croissant, brioche, moka éclair, seasonal fruit tarte (rhubarb), tranche Riesling and dark chocolate truffle. The choice of the product should reflect classic patisserie products and should be comparable between both institutions (if the method of preparation is totally different, it would not have been included). The choice wasn’t easy and there is definitively scope for some more tests with other products.
– All products have been purchased the same day and have been perfectly conditioned till the test.
– The products have been tested by 10 (near) professional eaters. There was an equal proportion men/women, aged from mid-twenties to mid-fifties, and coming from 6 different nationalities.
– The testers had 3 tasks: The first task required to sample and give detailed comments about the taste, appearance, consistency, smell etc. The second task asked to give a grade from 1 (not good at all) to 6 (excellent). The last tasks asked the tasters to guess where the product was from: Namur, Oberweis or another.
Everyone took their job very seriously and participated with a lot of committment and enthusiasm.
I have compiled an excel sheet with the result giving the individual grades, averages and standard deviation (explaining how dispersed the individual answers were. If there is a high standard deviation, that means that people’s responses were very different). I also include the number of correct guesses.
In green are the grades over 5.5, so very excellent results. In red those products that were judged quite bad by the tasters.
– Oberweis seems to have won overall (but not by very far, on average 0.41 points more than Namur)
– Some products were quite controversial. Some people did not like Oberweis éclair (too sweet, too sugary, too much filling and glazing, batter too dark) but loved Namur one (very good batter, subtle taste). Other people did not like Namur tarte (too much egg/cream mixture, watery rhubarb), whereas they thought Oberweis tarte was pretty amazing (good tasty batter, perfectly balanced fruit).
– Oberweis seems to produce better butter products such as croissant and brioche. Although the texture is not as soft and yeasty, the taste is really buttery and intense and perfect to eat on its own without jam/butter necessarily needed.
– The tranche Riesling that came from a high quality butcher did hardly please anyone. Most really disliked it (bad crust, though meat, rough).
– No one really liked the chocolates, although Oberweis made the consensus (very dark and intense, but a bit bitter). The other ones had to much butter, not enough chocolate and tasting a bit old (which they were not!).
– People did very well on the guessing, meaning we had some real connoisseurs among us.
– Best overall products were: fruit tarte Oberweis (5.06), croissant Oberweis (4.95), croissant Namur (4.7), éclair Namur (4.7)
– Worst were tranche Riesling butcher (3.06) and croissant other (3.15)
To sum up:
Oberweis has performed slightly better (but not by much!) for almost equal prices (€45.25 for Oberweis, €46.4 for Namur). In the end it’s up to you where you choose to go. If you prefer the old-fashioned and traditional way, all in simplicity, go for Namur. Are you keen on a more trendy patisserie while respecting the classic fabrication rules, go for Oberweis. It should also be added that the products that were tested only represents a fraction of the array of both institution. In my personal opinion, I believe that all in all I do prefer Namur as the more modern products that Oberweis keeps on marketing (especially in the savoury) are not so much to my (despite my young age) old-fashioned taste.
I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I am already looking forward to another tasting. Suggestions are welcome!