Sunday, September 27, 2009
A week or so ago, somewhere in the Midwest, I think I entered a bakery twilight zone. Let me tell you my story.
On my recent pastry road trip to Chicago, I had a route which included stopping in Bozeman, Montana on my way out, and Butte on my way back home. However, as fate would have it, I got behind schedule and ended up driving through Bozeman after business hours. Oh well, I figured--I'll visit bakeries in Bozeman another time.
The week went by and I had many delicious pastries along the way to and from Chicago.
On the day that I would be passing back through Montana, though, something unusual happened. I had fallen asleep with the TV on in the hotel room, and when I awoke in the morning, what should be on but a Food Network feature on the Sweet Pea Bakery in Bozeman and their amazing key lime torte.
I figured this was as close as I would ever get to receiving a sign from the heavens that I must visit this bakery. Forget Butte--I was going to Bozeman.
And so I did. And when I arrived, the staff was super friendly...and they knew who I was (I think this is how you know you're a big deal). I was able to talk cake with owners Carrie and Seth (who I had just seen on--gasp--TV!), and all I can say is that they are basically my new heroes. It's easy to see why they have been voted Bozeman's best bakery, like, every year since the earth began--just look at what's in their bakery case:
A gorgeous and decadent-looking chocolate torte;
A pretty-as-a-picture cheesecake;
a fruit tart that would make Carmen Miranda jealous;
and, of course, their famous Key Lime Torte.
How do pastries get so pretty? Well, owner Carrie studied graphic design in college, and it definitely comes through in the aesthetic of the impeccably decorated sweets.
Since I felt that it would travel well, I took one of their peanut butter and jelly bars (pictured top) with me--and it was definitely a good decision. The buttery, cookielike crust was perfectly complemented by a sweet and slightly tart jam, and the crumb topping added a lovely crunch and density. And though I know it might be sacrilege to mention savories here, I did get to sample their spanokopita too--and it was delightfully flaky and flavorful, and a perfect treat for the road.
So what would I call this experience? Bakery kismet, at its most delicious.
Drive to Bozeman and visit Sweet Pea Bakery now--they can be found at 2622 W. Main Street, Bozeman (406)586-8200; online at sweetpeabakery.net. If you can't visit, well then, at least keep updated via Twitter!