Monday, January 31, 2011

The Traveling Baker: Northampton

I've always been one of those people for whom food is an integral part of any decent trip.  I love scouting out restaurants and bakeries, using the fact that I'm on vacation as a reason to eat whatever I want.  I'd probably plan an entire trip around food if given the chance.

This weekend, I visited a friend in Northampton, Massachusetts and did just that.  I ate my way through the town and loved every minute.  Since this is officially a dessert blog, I won't linger on the fish tacos and chile rellenos, or the guacamole that might have turned me into one of those people who likes guacamole.  I'll barely touch on the greek platter, piled high with hummous and tabouleh.  I'll resist the ode to Hollandaise inspired by the to-die-for Eggs Benedict chez Sylvester's.  I won't even expound upon my first taste of St. Andre, the cheese born of some insane person who decided plain old brie wasn't rich enough.  No, I won't mention those at all.

I will tell you about my two favorite sweets of the trip: the chocolates from Heavenly Chocolates and my ice cream sundae from Herrell's.

Heavenly Chocolates are just that--heavenly.  A beautiful case stocked with both the traditional and the exotic, it took a fair amount of restraint not to order one of everything. 

We settled on three: the honey vanilla with sea salt truffle, dark chocolate with marzipan, and a bacon caramel with sea salt.  The honey and vanilla flavors weren't very pronounced, but it was a lovely truffle nonetheless.  The marzipan was marzipan.  What's not to love?  And the bacon caramel... it was bacon-y.  The flavor was amazing.  There was actual bacon in it, which I liked more in theory that actuality.  Because it was a soft caramel, there was no way for the bacon to stay crispy.  The chewy bacon threw off the texture a bit.  Still, it was bacon and chocolate and I'd totally eat another.

At Herrell's, I entrusted my selection to local wisdom.  I was rewarded with the absolute perfect blend of sweet, salty, bitter, smooth, crunchy, and creamy.  Technically, it was Burnt Sugar 'n' Butter ice cream with hot fudge and toasted almonds.  Oh, and the whipped cream?  Real.  Really.  Sadly, I ate the entire thing before thinking about taking a picture.  Yes, it was that good.  It was also very small, so don't judge me.

Also not pictured is the cherry almond oat cake from a little cafe whose name escapes me at the moment.  It was a hearty scone packed with sour cherries and toasted almonds.  It completely reinforced my belief that cherries are seriously underrepresented in baked goods.  It also, when paired with a really good mocha, made the perfect snack for walking around and deciding where to eat lunch.

All in all, it was a wonderful culinary adventure.  I'll be living on yogurt for the next week to make up for it.  Happy trails, dear readers...

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  1. The scone was from Haymarket (ie: best little cafe ever)

  2. Thanks for stopping in to try us! Glad you enjoyed your ice cream. Please visit us again.
    Judy Herrell