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Entries in connecticut (5)

Saturday
Jul062013

CakeSpy Undercover: Sugar Bakery and Sweet Shop Cupcake Truck, Connecticut

Sugar Cupcake Truck, CT

I'd like to tell you the truth: I suspect that I receive more pictures of desserts that people have eaten than the average bear. People are sending me dessert pictures all the time. Usually, though, they don't do things that would satisfy my spy curiosity, such as include what the dessert is or where they ate it. They just send a picture.

But a few days ago, when a few of my friends were at a Zombies concert in Connecticut and saw a cupcake truck, not only did they send me a photo of the partially eaten cupcake...but they included tasting notes and more information about the truck, too. It has a cute story, so I thought I would share it with you, dear readers.

The truck is the mobile outpost of East Haven's Sugar Bakery & Sweet Shop, a bakery which has been around since 2004. It's run by a mother-daughter team, Carol Vollono and Brenda DePonte. According to their website,  Brenda had been living in New York City studying fashion merchandising and marketing, and missed her family, but even more importantly, she missed how they connected over dessert. While visiting home, mom and daughter were having a sesh discussing their dreams and future plans, and somehow dessert came up. Inspired by the dessert boom in the city and wanting to take advantage of mom's baking skills, they decided to give commercial baking a go, putting a new twist on classic recipes. Apparently, "The collaboration of the two minds was epic. Sugar Bakery was born!"

I think that's cute. But cuter still? The goods.

They're delivered in this adorable truck. Wouldn't you be happy to see this at a concert? 

Sugar Cupcake Truck, CT

And wouldn't you be even happier, when you approached, to see this menu? Sugar Cupcake Truck, CT

Well, they must be good if they've been on TV, right?

Sugar Cupcake Truck, CT

Definitely time to give it a try. My buddies chose the "Big Blue", a blueberry cupcake with blueberry mousse filling and...you guessed it, blueberry buttercream. Here's a before shot.

Sugar Cupcake Truck, CT

As reported, this was a very good cupcake, not to mention healthy "account of the blueberries". That definitely fits into my world view of sweets! 

Sugar Bakery and Sweet Shop, 422-424 Main Street, East Haven, CT, with a roving truck, too. Find them online here.

Monday
Jan072013

Sweet Story: Andree's Waffalloons

Photos: Andree's WaffalloonsSweet carbohydrates to eat are awesome. Nobody is arguing that. They are things to be loved.

But there is something that makes me, personally, love some a little better than others: a great story.

Photo: Andree's WaffalloonsIt can be a little story, like "this is a cookie recipe my grandma always used to make"...or it could be a BIG story, like the one behind Chiffon cake. Either way, it just makes your food taste better to know its story. Or at least, it does for me.

So when I accidentally discovered "Andree's Waffalloons" while doing some research about interesting sweet treats in Connecticut (yes...that's what I do), I was delighted to discover a Belgian Waffle operation in the Hartford area, but that delight was tripled when I discovered the fantastic story behind those syrup pocketed rounds of tastiness, as seen on their website:

It's post-war 1946.  After surviving the invasion of her hometown, Andrée Henrion falls in love with and marries a US Soldier, Richard Fantin. Now she is traveling by ship, alone, from Belgium to New York City, to reunite with her husband. Andrée was born and raised in Belgium’s WALLONIA sector, has never traveled, and speaks only French. Among her few belongings she carries her family’s legacy…a compilation of incredible Belgian recipes. 


Fast forward five children and 53 years later... its 1999 and Richard has been at rest for 16 years. Andrée’s youngest, Claudette, who now has all the treasured recipe books, relocates from New Jersey to Florida, to be with her new found love. Tragically, in the chaos of the move, the recipes are lost! Thankfully, Claudette and her siblings have committed to memory the ingredients and process for making their mother’s delectable authentic Belgian waffles!

Fast forward again nine years later…it’s 2008, and Claudette, owner of Andrée’s Creations LLC (a floral design business named for her mother who passed five years prior), decides to share Andrée’s waffles with the world. But what to name them???? Well, what do you get when you combine a waffle and a Walloon??? And so, the Waffalloon was born!

Andrée’s Waffalloons are unlike any other Belgian waffle you will ever eat. They’re sweet and scrumptious and really do taste best undressed. The Waffalloon’s rich history of far away loves, losses and childhood memories are secret ingredients that simply can’t be duplicated.

So sit back, and taste the love! Ooh, La, La!!!!!

I'm sorry...but isn't that just the sweetest story ever?

I don't know about you, but it made me want to have a mouth full of their waffles (yes, I just paused to give the sound and look of that phrase a good hard look). Well, I can, and you can too, by visiting their website. While they will do special orders in the Hartford area, others can order online: find them here.

Tuesday
Jul102012

Pastry Profiles: Scoopcake from The Sweet Spot, New Milford, CT

Sweet Spot

Not so long ago, I spent some time at a place called The Sweet Spot in New Milford, Connecticut. Now, I'd been to the area before: my college roommate's family lived in nearby Danbury. But until this visit, all I ever wanted to do in the area was visit dairy superstore Stew Leonard, where they boasted several flavors of soft-serve. 

So I had never been to The Sweet Spot before. But I was so glad to have a chance to visit.

Sweet Spot

I even got something savory: an egg and cheese on their house-made wheat bread. This bread was very good.Sweet spot

But don't worry, I saved my appetite for the main event: the sweet stuff. But where to start? After all, they have cupcakes. Cupcakes that resemble my Cuppie character! See picture at the top of the post. But they also have cookies. And ice cream. Sweet Spot

How to decide? So I didn't, because I noticed that they also have something called a Scoopcake. What is that, you ask? They conveniently laid out the anatomy of a scoopcake. Basically, it's a hollowed-out cupcake filled with something sweet, topped with ice cream and sprinkles. YES!

Sweet Spot

I made use of this construction by choosing a vanilla cupcake, which was then filled with caramel, topped with cookie dough ice cream, and (of course) topped with rainbow sprinkles. Hooray! So I ended up getting cookies, cake, and ice cream...all at once.

Sweet Spot, New Milford CT

It looked from the top like just a regular ice cream scoop, so I wish they would have put it into a clear cup (at least so I could have given you a better indication of what lies beneath), but you're just going to have to trust me on it: this is an amazing cupcake concoction. 

I mean. A moist, buttery cupcake. Silky-sticky-thick caramel filling. Cookie dough ice cream, which is two parts amazing. And rainbow sprinkles. This is like heaven on a plate (or in this case, in a dish). 

There is some very good stuff going on at The Sweet Spot, and if you find yourself in the New Milford environs, I highly suggest it. 

60 Railroad Street, New Milford, CT; online here.

Thursday
Jun142012

Well Bread: Bantam Bread Company, Connecticut

bantam bread co

Not so very long ago, I went to a bakery which goes by the name Bantam Bread Company.

With a name like that, you might figure that they specialize in bread. Well, you'd be right. But they just as ably make and offer a delicious array of sweet stuff. 

Included on the roster? Fruit crostadas. Biscuits. Crumb cake. Shortbread. Cheesecake. Teacakes. And more.

The delicious fruit crostadas look something like this when bitten into:

Morning pastry

Oh, that's right. The crumb cake is pretty fantastic, too. It's buttery, brown sugary, and delicious. Only problem? There should be more crumb. Like, this much.

Crumb cake

But one of the true standouts, in my opinion, was the Peach Brulee. It was sort of like a creme brulee tart, but with peaches too. Although the peaches might sound like they make a delicious dessert into health food, really, it's not that way at all. It's peaches n creamy and very decadent. A very pleasant dessert, indeed!

Peach brulee

And, you know what, since I'm always a sucker for a great story, I found the story of how this bakery came to be rather fascinating. Here it is, from their site:

In the summer of 1995 Niles Golovin and Susie Uruburu attended the Fancy Food Show in New York City. Niles, a chef in NYC for many years was restless to do something on his own. He found bread baking to be fascinating. 

At the show Niles spoke with an old friend from NYC who owned one of the most successful wholesale bakeries in New York about his thoughts of opening an artisan bakery. He said “The time is right if you want to do it, do it now”. 

On the way back to Litchfield, with visions of beautiful golden brown loaves in his head, Niles and Susie stopped at a popular fruit/vegetable stand on Mt. Tom Pond. Niles asked, “If I can find a place to bake at night, could we test market bread at your stand”? The owner happily agreed. 

Next stop was a pizza shop in Litchfield where he baked after hours on Friday and Saturday nights. “Niles’ Bread” was born. 

The next weekend Susie packed the fresh baked loaves in the old Volvo wagon, set up a card table at the farm stand and sold out in two hours. After a busy summer Niles spent a month of Sundays at an organic bakery in the Berkshires honing his craft and learning from a bread “guru”. 

The following summer a location was found in the basement of an old house on Route 202 in Bantam. Stone and brick walls with windows overlooking the Bantam River made the bakery look like a step back in time to a French boulangerie. 

Through word of mouth and a stunning review in the Waterbury Republican (three weeks after opening) The Bantam Bread Company arrived.

How sweet! So. If you're in Bantam, go to this place.

853 Bantam Road, Bantam, CT 06750; Online here.

Friday
Jun082012

A Tale of Two Ice Creameries in Litchfield County, Connecticut

Peaches n cream, ct

Not long ago, I went to Litchfield County, Connecticut. I had two extremely different ice cream experiences there--let me tell you about them.

First, I visited a place called Arethusa Dairy. It had been recommended by a dude who worked at a clothing store nearby. The clothing store was slightly uppity and lacked rainbow or sparkle clothing, so I did not buy anything. But I was thankful for the ice cream tip. 

So, a spy venture to the nearby dairy, where they make the ice cream using the cream from their own cows (which they may or may not sing to, depending on rumors I heard from people around town). The stark, well-designed interior worried me a little bit at first--I tend to trend toward more homespun type ice cream shoppes. If it's spelled "shoppe" that is a good thing to me. 

Coconut chip

The menu is small, but well-chosen: Vanilla, chocolate, Butter Pecan, Maple Walnut, Rum Raisin, Coconut Chip & Mint Chip. I went for the coconut chip. The ice cream was of high quality, but I'd like to warn you to go for a double scoop or a waffle cone, because my single scoop was just that: a single scoop, not packed in, atop a wafer cone. The creamy coconut chip ice cream pleased me greatly: I just wanted more of it.

Arethusa dairy

After my experience at Arethusa, I learned that the dairy is the hobby-lovechild of two Manolo Blahnik (yes, the shoe designer) executives. I don't know if this made the experience more or less interesting. As my friend Phil says, "Dairy is so hot right now". Maybe because it's gluten-free?

Peaches n cream, ct

Not far away, at Peaches n Cream ice creamery, I got fed. From the moment you enter this charming ice cream shop, you get the feeling that it's been there forever. They have a ton of flavors; after about 15 minutes of analyzing all of them, I decided on the cashew cream. But wait, there's more: I topped it with caramel sauce.

Wow, what a good decision my flavor combo was. The rich, nutty ice cream "scoop" was quite generous, and it was full of cashews, lightly salty against the sweet cream. The caramel sauce was somewhat crack-like, making me wonder if I could buy a cup of it just to drink by itself. 

Peaches N Cream also makes ice cream sandwiches to order, so you could, for instance, say "give me an ice cream sandwich filled with maple walnut ice cream"...and they will do it right before your eyes.

Peaches n cream, ct

It's probably pretty obvious that out of the two spots, I personally found Peaches n Cream to have a little more personality and soul. That having been said, both spots made a mean scoop of ice cream--if you're trying to decide between visiting one or the other, you've got to carefully consider what you're looking for in your ice cream experience. 

If you're looking for a farm-to-table experience complete with deliciously fresh ice cream, with sleek, well-designed surroundings, and are not afraid of a line, hit up hot-spot Arethusa. 

If you are more into kitsch and quantity and not-fancy but still very good ice cream, hit up Peaches n Cream.

Or, better yet, hit 'em both up and let me know what you think. Delicious research!

Arethusa Dairy, 822 Bantam Road, Bantam CT; online here.

Peaches n Cream, 632 Torrington Road, Litchfield CT

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