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Thursday
Mar202008

Green, But Sweet: Cakespy Eats Local (Sweets) For a Week

Eat Local's Flapjack bar with a happy Clementine
There's been a lot of talk lately about companies being environmentally conscious, and making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. But what's a carbon footprint, exactly? No, it's not an unfortunate choice in footwear--rather, it's defined as the measure of the impact our activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, and measured in units of carbon dioxide. Basically, a leaving a big footprint is bad news--and in Seattle, that granola-fueled place that we call home, it's very much affecting the food industry, with companies striving to use more local ingredients and contract with more local vendors, while also trying to use less material and less of our nonrenewable resources in their production.

And while certainly these are noble goals, we had to wonder--is this local food--to be more specific--are these local desserts, any good? In an effort to find out, we recently hit up Eat Local, a new-ish company at the top of Queen Anne, which is something of a poster child for the movement, selling ready-made meals which are made locally, using local, organic ingredients (read more about their mission here). We stocked up on several of their most popular desserts with some help from their uber-friendly owner Greg Conner, who along with a team of enthusiastic employees, was very helpful and more than willing to share their vision for a green earth with us. Leaving the store with a bag (canvas, not plastic, naturally) full of goodies, we already knew we felt good about supporting the store...but would we love the desserts? While on the one hand the desserts are dreamed up by a pastry chef we love, North Hill Bakery's Tracey Peterson, we're not scared to admit that we were a little nervous that the desserts were made with only natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup and agave nectar, evaporated cane juice)--hey, we like sugar. But for one working week we gave it a go, cakewalking through their dessert-case; here's what we tasted:


Monday: Flapjack Bar and Apple Crisp. We figured we'd start out the week virtuous, starting with the British-inspired Flapjack bar, a hearty and dense oat bar. Paired with a happy clementine (clementine not from Eat Local; but it made a cute photo, above), this made a very sweet start to the week, filling our spies with enough vim and vigor to take on the Queen Anne counterbalance by foot (damn!).
By the end of the day, the apple crisp (sufficient for two) was an
almost-healthy finish to the day after dinner, with crisp, buttery crumbs and a rustic, hearty filling of thick-cut apple slices within. (Cakespy Note: We suggest letting the crisp sit for a half hour after baking to allow
it to "set"--the texture will reward you for it. Of course this is largely conjecture, as we are saying this without actually having waited ourselves. As a result it was a little soupy--we blame ourselves--but still tasted good).

 

Tuesday: The Highland Brownie. Having eaten all of that fruit the previous day, it was time to pull out something a little more serious, so we went for the Highland Brownie, featuring Washington Walnuts. It elicited this remark from Mr. Cakespy: "This is not just a brownie. This is a brownie experience". And with a dense, nearly fudgy texture, it indeed was no mere mortal of a brownie--this was the type of brownie that inspires sonnets, if not epic poems. Highly recommended.

Wednesday: Honey Lemon Cheesecake. We went into this dessert experience cautiously. Indeed, honey, lemon and cheesecake all by themselves can be strong flavors--was it really to be a flavor love match? We were pleasantly surprised--the natural sweeteners really worked in this dessert's favor, allowing the tangy, creamy cheese and tart lemon to shine, and resulting in a surprise hit for these Cake Gumshoes. We would certainly buy this one again.


Thursday: Rugelach. With many of our spies hailing from the East Coast, where rugelach reigns, we were curious to see how the West Coast (organic) version would stack up. While it lacked the sinful salty-buttery-omigod-richness of the rugelach from our East Coast Memories, this was nonetheless a respectable cookie, flavorful and probably much better for our bodies and souls than the ones we have known in the past. Curiously though, we loved this better the next morning, as a breakfast treat, than we had as an after-dinner dessert. Go figure.


Friday: Chocolate Decadence. It was difficult to save this for last, but we were glad we did. Have you ever tasted Decadence? Well. If yes, perhaps you'll know what we mean when we say it's a dangerous dessert indeed. A bad one can leave you feeling heavy, sluggish and induce promises of treadmills and daily yoga; a good one fills you with a sort of take-over-the-world euphoria, elated, simultaneously energized and relaxed--and completely fulfilled. Happily, this one was the latter, with a smooth as silk, velvety texture, an overwhelming chocolatey mouthfeel and absolutely
pleasurable (or perhaps we could coin a new word, pleasure-full) aftertaste. Oh yes.
So, week finished, how did we feel? Truth be told, we felt pretty freakin' good. Not only do we love this movement and what it does for the environment, but it turns out that even self-proclaimed sugar freaks can love natural and organic desserts--while we liked some better than others, at no point did we feel like we were settling. Indeed, we couldn't imagine a sweeter way to help save the earth.
If you're in the Seattle area, consider yourself tres lucky--you can visit Eat Local yourself! They're located at 2400 Queen Anne Ave. No., (206) EAT-FOOD; online at eatlocalonline.com. Even if you're not in Queen Anne, they're available by for home delivery from Everett to Olympia via spud.com. (Cakespy Tip: Use promo code: Eatlocal8 to save $25 with your first deliveries.)

Eat Local in Seattle

 

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Reader Comments (29)

How fantastic is that??? I need to see if there's something similar in this area but I highly doubt it. That's my cup of tea. Thanks for sharing!

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterAran

I went to slowfoodusa.org and saw that we have a chapter that is close by and one of the baord members is a former chef instructor of mine! Wow... now I really have to thank you for directing me this way. I shall ring them up!!

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterAran

This is so helpful (and darn tasty, too). Sometimes the idea of carbon footprint and "locally grown" is tough to get your head around beyond lettuce and zucchini, but you've given me some good pointers for retraining my sweet tooth.

Sounds like a delicious week. Will look into this movement in my area.

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeGirl

Was the chocolate actually chocolate? Or was it carob? I never have any luck making stuff with carob - I think carob sucks. But maybe it's me? Does anybody out there actually like cooking with carob as a chocolate substitute?

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterBMoreSweet

I love the concept for this bakery, especially given that the goods are delicious to boot! I always associate eating local with produce, but clearly it's time to broaden my perspective.

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterRural Vegan

I need to go there next time. What a coincidence though; we're having a 100 Mile Cake Club next week! Wish you could come!

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

Aran: Thanks! It was a really great experience and it felt good to support such a great mission in such a sweet manner :-) I'm really glad that you found a resource too! Sweet!

TW: Thanks for the kind words! yes, it felt good to be "Green" but not just be eating carob and granola! (nothing wrong with them of course, but variety IS the spice of life!)

Recipegirl: thanks!

Bmoresweet: Personally I have had some OK carob experiences but in general I think it's a major bummer when carob is presented as "chocolatey" -- because as a chocolatey dessert it doesn't match up (just my opinion!). But no--this was chocolate, chocolate, chocolate--all the way.

Rural Vegan: Yea! We are lucky enough to have some great local produce in Washington, but it was interesting to see how one can make a difference with other foods too. :-)

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

That's a noble (and sweet) idea...going green with your desserts! It's inspiring me to think more about my ingredients. Great blog!

March 21 | Unregistered Commentercakebrain

What a great company. We don't have anything like that here...

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I love the idea of environmentally conscious desserts! It's been totally affecting the fashion industry as well. Organic cotton? Bamboo teeshirts?! Cool!

March 21 | Unregistered Commentercakewardrobe

Those all look so good. I especially like the Rugelach! I try to buy local vegetables and fruits whenever I can. I don't think that I have ever seen any locally made baking good like flour, etc. I will have to look some more.

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

that is a great idea, and those desserts look delicious! i've never thought about buying local spices, but i will keep my eyes peeled at the farmer's market to see if they start popping up! i know i can buy flour, eggs and milk there, so that's 60% of most desserts right there!

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

Your local looks a whole lot better than my local!

March 21 | Unregistered CommenterPam

That clementine is so cute!

What an excellent post! I wish we had the kind of food resources that you have there. I need that honey lemon cheesecake! I'm going to have to figure out a way to make it!

Carbon footprint & the environment are great issues;glad they are being tackled at every level!! WAY TO GO!! Other than that, thanks for killing me with all the decadence! Wish I was in the Seattle area!! :0(

They have some great spots for desserts in Seattle. Wish I lived closer. :-)

March 22 | Unregistered CommenterCupcakeLady

If i was to relocate my decision on where to go would depend exclusively on local specialties... you're a glutton or you're not. :-)

Let's just say Seattle ranks high on my list. Look at all these goodies!

March 22 | Unregistered CommenterZen Chef

I never thought Starbucks' birthplace would have such an emphasis on 'eating local'! Honey lemon cheesecake...

March 22 | Unregistered CommenterGTangerine

WoW! And I work so close to their business! What a fantastic discovery! The decadent chocolate cake slice had me drooling at the end too. Thank you for all the info. I may just have to go do my own research =D

March 22 | Unregistered CommenterShandy

Hmmm - honey lemon cheesecake or chocolate decadence ... I'll take one of each please!

March 22 | Unregistered CommenterCakelaw

apple crisp is one of my all time favorites. especially for breakfast. mmm.......

I love that smiling orange! It reminds me of a Uruguayan nursery rhyme about a 'naranja' that talks...

March 23 | Unregistered CommenterMary-Laure

Cakebrain: We think so too! We do what we can, right!?

Deborah: You might be surprised!

Cakewardrobe: I too like the "Green is the new Black" concept--conscious but fashion aware. Awesome!

Kevin: Yes, I think you might be surprised by what you can find! And yes, isn't Rugelach the best!?

Katy: Oh, in NYC you've got a treasure trove--I remember when I lived there the Union Square Greenmarket had some tremendous stuff!

Pam: Hey, bet there are some great places where you are!

Jessy: Thanks!

StickyGooey: I will see if I can find you a recipe! this one was truly amazing.

Passtionate baker: Thank you! If one can play a part by eating sweets...why not!?

Cupcakelady: You have some good ones in the DC area--I promise!

Zen Chef: Oh yes, come to Seattle and we'll show you all our favorite spots :-) Food was a big part of the decision when I (Jessie) moved from NYC to Seattle.

Gtangerine: I know! Seattle's a pretty cool food place!

Octavine: Yes! Breakfast desserts, all the way!

Mary-Laure: Ooh, I must look that up! I love nursery rhymes. xoxo

March 23 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy
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