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“A Bakery at Heart” King Arthur Flour’s New Bakery, Café, and Store

Sep 05, 2013 03:53AM ● By Victoria Pipas

I am a food fanatic. I love the sizzle of bacon in a skillet, the smell of a really garlicky Italian red sauce, the crack of biting into a fresh Macoun apple, and the taste of just about everything but anchovies. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont, had renovated and expanded to include a beautiful new café. My mom and I decided to set out on a quest to see if King Arthur would live up to the “legend.” As it turned out, the new store is great for all your baking needs and still produces the best baguettes I’ve had this far west of Paris. While we can recommend making the trip out to the café for lunch, you can even make it an afternoon of sampling pastries, shopping, and maybe even taking a cooking class, you will most certainly be highly satisfied.

There is only one word to describe the new building on the King Arthur Flour property: stunning. From a wide-open stone courtyard out front to a wooden-beamed, rotunda-like dining area inside to a spacious and bright shop, the renovation is impressive. Visitors can now enjoy watching the process of bread being made through the large windows to the bakery.

The variety of products, too, seems to have increased. K.A.F.’s selection of gourmet flours, spices, oils, and anything else you can imagine is any baker’s holy grail. I would also recommend the store for that odd baking gadget you’ve been pining for. French rolling pins, waffle presses, scone pans, and bread ovens abound. I highly doubt that any baking-supply request would stump the staff.

The café and bakery will be most enjoyed for their baked goods. I can recommend firsthand the oatmeal wheat bread, berry scones, and sugar cookies. In fact, I have yet to sample any of the King Arthur Flour bakery goods and be disappointed; all are moist, fresh, not too sweet, and completely satisfying, just as pastries should be. However, my mom and I were a bit surprised by the salads we ordered for lunch. I had the smoked chicken salad and she had the Mediterranean salad. Both appeared much more impressive on the chalkboard menu. While the ingredients certainly were fresh, my salad was little more than a handful of spinach topped with a clump of smoked chicken and a small pile of strawberries. My mom’s salad consisted of peppers, feta, a small scoop of cauliflower tabouleh, and a plastic cup of bland hummus. I was expecting a better presentation, more flavor, and generous servings, and I was disappointed. However, holding true to its reputation, King Arthur Flour made amends for the mediocre lunch with great ciabatta rolls on the side of each salad. This was indicative of the experience: Come for great breads and baked goods, and if you are hungry, order a sandwich or a salad. Whatever you do, don’t resist the urge to splurge in the store; we left with bags full of baking goodies that we never even knew existed. But don’t go out of your way just to patronize the café; you’ll get a better lunch at a number of other restaurants.

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