In the car, I munched on a slender French-style baguette. The flavor and crispy crust took me back to a breakfast table in Montbéliard, where family members tore off sections of fresh loaves, smeared them with unsalted butter and strawberry preserves, and dipped them in bowls of milk-laced tea.
Kudos to Companion Bakeshop, where such organic breads and pastries are baked in a brick oven. Owners Erin Justus Lampel and husband Jeremy had been selling sourdough bread from farmers markets and CSAs. Erin has served on the local SLOW board of directors. The store hosts numerous CSA drops, features bluegrass on the weekends, and offers baking, mandolin, and family workshops.
The selection of pastries is unique, seasonal, and hearty. Offered are slices of tarts, frittatas and pies, sweet and savory bread puddings, and sourdough croissants. Butter is from Spring Hill’s Petaluma Creamery (they have a wonderful tasting room if you’rein the area), coffee from Lulu’s, organic flour from Guisto’s in San Francisco, and eggs from Pescadero’s Pie Ranch.
Oatmeal granola bars ($2.50) with raisins and almonds were tender and filling. A large, biscuit-like, free-form scone ($2.50) was stuffed with fresh blackberries and pecans and topped with sugar crystals. The smaller chocolate espresso scone was crunchy.A slice of moist blueberry and walnut morning cake ($2.50) was dusted with confectioner’s sugar. The crisp, flaky pastry of a fresh fruit galette ($3) was folded up around half of a cinnamon-spiced sliced apple.
Tuesday is Community Pizza Night with a selection of Uncle Ro’s pies. I ordered an 11-inch Margherita ($15), made Neapolitan style with circles of thinly sliced soft mozzarella on a plentiful layer of herbed sauce with a sprinkle of julienned basil. The rim of the pliable dough had puffed and was occasionally blackened by the flames. | KP
Companion Bakeshop, 2341 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 252-2253. Open Tuesdays 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Visit companionbakeshop.com.