September 23, 2007

Tarting to like English Bakeries

Friday we made a trip to Salisbury, which is a little less hectic than London. In Salisbury, we made a trip to a bakery, which smells much better than London. In the bakery, my mouth made a visit to heaven while it enjoyed a delectable apple tart.

Not that the tart was necessarily better than London food – it was just cheaper and, for the most part, fresher. It was also the first time I’ve really “popped in” to a traditional English bakery, and I can now say it probably won’t be the last.

For 85 pence I got a miniature apple pie. Don’t think apple pie like American apple pie, think apple pie with a richer, more buttery crust that makes your mouth drip with passion. It was just about perfect.

In fact, the only real problem with the whole bakery experience was choosing what I wanted. It was one of those problems that you like to have: having too many cheap and yummy looking options.

All of the pastries were on display in a giant window that wrapped around half of the bakery, and the list of goodies reads like a Harry Potter book. Treacle tarts, cheese and leak pasties, chocolate buns, you name it, you could buy it. For a single treat, you could pay between 50p and 85p, making it very tempting to get more than one thing.

I knew I wanted a tart. I’m not sure why, mind you, but I was sure I wanted a tart. I guess they just seem English to me. Even eliminating eccles and cookies didn’t help much, because I still had lots of choices ahead of me. In the end, I narrowed it down to a lemon tart, a custard tart, an apple tart and a treacle tart.

The treacle tart was my first choice, but they only had those in larger form. It actually was a great deal, because the amount of treacle tart they were selling for £1.65 would have lasted me a week. Still, I didn’t want to gain too many extra chins, so I stayed true to my intention of buying one portion, and one portion only.

Next I eliminated the lemon tart on the simple basis that I wasn’t in the mood for lemon. That left me with apple and custard.

In the end, I wimped out. There was a lot of custard in the custard tart, and I was afraid I might not like it. In a move that was a little reprehensible, I decided that my immediate enjoyment was a little more important than my duties sampling different foods for this blog, which I should consider of paramount importance.

I would apologize, but that apple tart was so good that my apology wouldn’t be anywhere near heartfelt. Why risk my now-fond feelings toward English bakeries by trying something semi-new and slightly dangerous when I could solidify my love for them?

That means I have to give the whole bakery experience a full five sporks. Good smells, good selection, good taste… There isn’t much to say on the “bad” side of things.

Well, there isn’t much bad to say unless you want to talk about health. I already want to go back to the bakery. I want to try everything they had, because I bet I’ll enjoy almost all of it. But things that taste that good don’t come without a price, and that price is surely cholesterol.

Well, cholesterol and the insane amount of time I spent trying to decide what to buy. When you’re standing in front of one of these bakeries, healthy eating isn’t an option, it’s a fallacy.

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