For the past string of mornings, an alarm has gone off inside my head at 5 a.m., an alarm that sounds a lot like the crunch of a just-baked chocolate croissant.

The problem, you see, is that I now know about these: real Parisian croissants, as created by a Parisian pastry God, now available at Essence Bakery Cafe in Tempe.

I spent a few mornings there a few weeks ago, watching the dough be folded and rolled around chocolate. I ate warm croissants right out of the oven while I asked a thousand questions of Eugenia, who makes these because she wanted Phoenix to taste like Paris. Then I wrote this.

She’s done it — created her own piece of Paris on University Avenue in Tempe. This is a coup that required a phone call to an African king, and you really do want to read the fascinating tale  behind these pastries.

For the past seven mornings, it has taken a feat of willpower and online swimsuit shopping hypnosis to keep me from driving over to Essence for a fix. My brain has been chemically altered by my work. Do you think that insurance will cover my Zumba bill?

It’s 6:30 a.m. right now. I’ve been thinking about them for 90 minutes. I think it’s time to give in.

Essence is at 825 W. University Ave., Tempe.

Photos by the gifted Michael McNamara, as ever, who is in trouble because last night he and his awesome wife Jill had us over for homemade pizza, which means I really, REALLY, should not go eat a croissant.