I know, the blueberries through me too. If I remember correctly it was one of several Fannie Farmer recipes my mom used. (FF ginger bread is still the best)
Swissbakers was very forthcoming with ingredients, too. We sampled a pretzel stick and pretzel croissant. The croissant had absorbed flavors from nearby items, so it was hard to figure out. The pretzel stick was good after they heated it for us.
The biggest surprise at the market was The Popover Lady. Wow. My popovers always come out choux pastry-ish. I never understood what all the fuss was about. They were making them fresh in small batches, but the toasted onion one I bought looked like it may have been sitting a while. That wasn’t the case, however. The toasted onion is only on the outside, and I thought the toasted onion might be too strong, so we started nibbling around the onion at first. The popover was fresh, airy, slightly eggy, and very satisfying. Like a custard cloud. Then we ate the onion-topped parts and those were excellent, too. They also had chocolate chip cookies that were perfectly round like Dorie Greenspan’s cookies. They said the cookies had come right out of the oven and ours was still warm when we started on it quite a bit later. When you bake cookies in a mold, you can be more generous with your butter (venturing into blondie territory), and this one did not disappoint. Back to the popovers, I would recommend the regular-sized ones, not the minis.
I used every ounce of willpower not to buy more popovers and finally we left Boston Public Market for Logan International. There were so many places we wanted to visit. Chinatown scared us off with Chinese New Year’s traffic, but a friend told us later it’s always like that on weekends even when it’s not New Year.
Thank you everyone for your reports. We have so many places (Revival, Area Four, Little Donkey, and at least 25 others) saved for the future. Maybe next time we will just stay in the Boston area. Can’t wait to return!
So glad you had a fun, worthwhile visit, bmore. Please come back! What great insight you are sharing into and appreciation for our area. And, yum!
I’ve only been to the store once, years ago, and I was in such a coma looking at the products and tools, I don’t even remember if we got anything prepared to eat there. They are good people, good products by mail order, employee owned, always answer email and phone questions with friendly expert knowledge. I wish I could visit much more often…I’ll keep trying.
Great report, thanks!
Parking enforcement and “local revenue enhancement” is well know not just in Boston but also in Cambridge, Somerville, etc. For future reference, you can park in garage at Boston Public Market for $3 for three hours if you get a validation for purchase there. It’s a great deal, but does fill up as the day goes on, and you’ll pay a lot more if you leave after three hours.
"Directly above the Market is the Parcel 7 (Haymarket) Parking Garage (entrance on Sudbury Street). Boston Public Market vendors validate parking for Parcel 7, with proof of purchase, for a rate of $3 for up to 3 hours.
Thank you! That is such a useful tip.
KAF was fun on so many levels. Many of the items in the cafe are based on published recipes, so it was exciting to compare how theirs come out versus mine. I had a 20 minute conversation on baking steels and cold fermentation with another hobbyist baker. I’ve never done that in real life. I could go on and on. I think my family was afraid I would jump the counter and just dive into their bread pile.
Such an incredibly generous extended trip report! Thank you so much @bmorecupcake for your fascinating write-up and insights. What a treasure this thread is.
You’re welcome! To be honest, it’s easier for me to just throw everything out there and write a long report than to write a focused, short report.
It’s tough to really judge a place, whether positive or negative, based on a single visit. Even my thoughts on this trip are fluid. That brown bread is growing on me. (Still don’t think I’d get it again, though.)
I forgot to post a pic of the breads at King Arthur Flour. One day, we’ll find 10 other people like us, meet up in Norwich, and share each and every loaf. You have to dream big.
Your report got me to dust off my old Boston brown bread recipe and steam myself a loaf. I even still had the coffee cans I used to use for it; it’s been a really long time since I bought tinned coffee. Skipped the usual raisins (don’t like 'em) and can’t see how blueberries would improve matters but to each their own. A warm slice with cultured butter made for a fine fika-equivalent today; thanks for the inspiration!
Interesting that Hi-Rise’s “traditional” version uses white flour in the mix and milk instead of buttermilk but I guess traditions vary too. Think I’ll try it with blackstrap next time for more flavor punch.
We actually managed to acquire the taste and finished it off. Our loaf was very dry and tasted baked. Maybe steaming would have produced a better result. We cut out rounds, toasted them, and ate them with butter and maple syrup. In fact, after toasting, it was fine with just butter. Today, I even had it toasted without any accompaniment and it was good. Toasting really brought out the flavors.
That loaf did look dry in the pic; glad to hear toasting made it tasty. The method I know for making Boston brown is stove-top steaming with the covered can of batter half-immersed in simmering water for a couple hours. (I’ve seen references to crockpot, pressure cooker, and instant pot methods too.) The result is supposed to be moist and spongy, not dry.
Ingredient-wise I think it’s a cousin to anadama bread, another molasses-flavored New England specialty for stretching expensive wheat flour.
The options for baking containers is the best part.
That’s great! I don’t think King Arthur or Elmendorf carry five-pound lard tins though so I guess I’ll stick to my coffee cans :-).
Glad you enjoyed KAF. Plan a return trip - not all their breads are baked every day. You must try their hazelnut loaf, available on Saturday (and one other day that escapes me). The almond cloud cookies (in one of your photos) shouldn’t be missed. And try their egg sandwich with bacon at breakfast, but ask for a slice of tomato to send it to the stratosphere.
At the same exit off I91 is the Montshire Museum, a jewel of a science museum. And the Norwich Farmer’s Market shouldn’t be missed - just a few hundred yards past KAF. Every Saturday from spring to fall. They move indoors on alternate Saturdays in the winter, but it’s understandably more subdued in the winter.
We were there on a Saturday. The hazelnut loaf is on the top, left of the bread rack in the last picture. I don’t have a closeup picture since we didn’t buy a whole loaf, but we got to taste a slice (long story.) The hazelnut loaves were the first items to sell out, otherwise we would’ve brought back a loaf.
I tried to find other activities nearby, but was unsuccessful. Thanks for letting us know about the museum and farmers market.
In season, that farmers market is really good! Not been in the winter. Also in Norwich there is a really fun store called Dan and Whit’s (“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it”).
Good going. When they have them, we buy one hazelnut loaf to snarf (as in consume with gusto) immediately and one for the freezer.
One other fun thing to do in Norwich is visit Dan and Whits Country Store. If they don’t have it, you don’t need it.
10 miles north of Norwich on Rt 5 is the headquarters of Pomapanoosuc Mills, furniture maker. The showroom is worth a visit and occaisionally they offer tours of the workshop. They have a tent sale over Memorial Day weekend that includes BBQ, music, craft beer, and steep discounts on accessories as well as furniture.
beat me to it
And one more thing - when in that area, visit Simon Pearce in Quechee (at the first exit in Vermont off I89). The hand-blown glass is a bit pricey, and some a bit heavy for our tastes, but beautiful. Fun to watch it being made. Check out the water turbine used to generate electricity for the kilns. And visit the restaurant. Beautiful setting overlooking the falls and outstanding food. Beverage service is excellent - they always have one beer on tap from Vermont’s Hill Farmstead, one of the best craft brewers in the US if not the world. Especially try “Conduct of Life” if it’s available. The wine program is outstanding, too. I’ve been introduced to a number of great finds there. No reservations at lunch but they are on Open Table for dinner. The roasted horseradish-crusted cod with crispy leeks (at dinner only) is one of my favorite dishes of all time, and they will never take it off the menu.
The seconds at Simon Pearce are way cheaper, and usually have such small defects that are difficult to see. Beautiful glass, though.