Have you tried this new batch of Fairfield County bakeries?


If you are an avid reader of this column then you will know that I am a fan of bakeries. Even if you only read occasionally, it must be clear that the magical combination of flour, butter and sugar mixed with fruits, nuts or chocolate makes my heart beat faster.

I like to stay in touch with the local bakery scene, but I must admit that the pandemic has put me behind on new developments. With County Fairfield in light pink instead of dark red on the COVID map, it was time to get back there.

TO kneads in Westport, husband and wife owners Daniel and Brittany Moreno are the chef and baker. Both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, they have worked in some of the best restaurants and bakeries in the world. Their paths crossed at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chef Dan Barber’s legendary farm-to-table restaurant in Tarrytown, NY, where Daniel was the sous-chef and Brittany was the pastry sous-chef.

Daniel and Brittany are very serious about ingredients, preferring local produce when possible, scouring local farmers markets for fruit and produce. They work directly with farmers who source organic grains for the flour which is ground with a traditional stone mill for maximum flavor, freshness and nutrition.

The mouth-watering menus change with the seasons. On a recent visit, Chef Moreno recommended a hazelnut plum bar with a streusel topping for a seasonal dessert. The slice we brought to the table, a hearty crust with a thick layer of sweet and tangy plums under a good half inch of streusel, was magically half eaten before our sandwiches arrived. (Eat dessert first!)

From the all-day breakfast menu, my wife Marsha ordered the Catskill smoked salmon sandwich – New York potatoes, chervil, chickpea and lemon layered on thick slices of their flagship whole grain sourdough. Sourdough ($ 18, prices include service). It was creative, delicious and more than enough for two. We were inspired to have a Sourdough to take home ($ 10).

A Vietnamese-style Bahn Mi sandwich with chicken pate, pickled vegetables, and cilantro on an individual baguette was my choice ($ 19). The tangy and spicy vegetables were a perfect foil for the rich pate. A bit messy to eat, well worth a few extra towels. The homemade chips alone are worth the trip.

We might as well have ordered the sweet corn and chorizo ​​hash, stone fruit French toast, the fig and prosciutto sandwich or a grilled peach and burrata salad, all made in the open kitchen. It’s a creative and tempting menu that deserves repeat visits.

Cookies, croissants, pies and bread pudding are all delicious, perfect for breakfast, dessert, or to fortify between meals. Seating is at outside tables along the storefront or in the Saugatuck Room with the barista in the corner.

Look in the window at Salzburg pastry shop on Elm Street in New Canaan and, for a moment, you might think you’ve entered the Konditorei Schatz on Getreidegasse near Mozart’s birthplace. The colorful sweets and cakes are lined up in neat rows, as if to say “Choose me!” Unless you’re ordering for a crowd, like the customer ahead of us, there’s no way you can get a taste of everything.

We settled on a pie topped with raspberries for dessert and a raisin-cinnamon spinner for a taste of their croissant-style pastry.

An excellent crispy crust was filled with a tender cake, topped with a tablecloth of jam and perfect raspberries. We negotiated on the last bite. The finely layered Cinnamon Danish had crisp edges and a soft center, as would be hoped.

In addition to beautiful cakes, mouthwatering cookies and colorful macaroons, Salzburg offers a cooked-to-order breakfast menu and a wide selection of sandwiches and salads. There is some seating in the pink and white store, but (for now) the best tables are outside under the awning. Salzburg is open everyday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Italian Cafe Dolce across Elm Street and up to a block, specializes in Italian coffee drinks and ice cream. In addition, there is a limited selection of croissants, biscotti, cannoli and muffins as well as an extensive breakfast menu, panini, pancakes, salads, cakes and ice cream.

There are a lot of shaded tables outside. Inside, the cozy cafe-themed seating area is decorated with colorful posters and Italian food brands. It’s fun to stand and watch the barista brew some complicated coffee drinks. Definitely coming back for an affogato.

The world of local café-bakeries continues to expand. It’s amazing how each cafe expresses a unique personality, reflecting the owner’s heritage and his favorite dishes. I still have a few new places to hunt down and then better revisit some of the established favorites. What I won’t do is step on the scale.

Frank Whitman can be contacted at [email protected]

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