In Search of Lost Scones – GAIL’s Artisan Bakery (Bloomsbury, London)

Sour Cherry and Belgium Dark Chocolate Scone

As memory fades, I’m no longer certain I can recollect the feel of a scone in my hands; the crunchy first bite.  It’s all slowly vanishing.  This melancholia led me to trudge to a distant area of London, where I imagine that people of my ilk are not a common sight.  Desperate to acquire my next fix, I found myself ordering a blueberry and apricot concoction from GAIL’s ‘Artisan’ Bakery in Bloomsbury.  What I erroneously received was perplexing at first.  It burst with chocolate and a berry so bitter, I thought I was encountering yet another drab raisin-based creation.  How I was wrong.

Most often, I am skeptical of chocolate scones.  It is as though bakers see that a recipe calls for chocolate and they take this instruction to mean that they should dump every ounce of any cocoa-based product they can get their grubby hands on into the nearest blender.  Yet, this scone, which I later found out was actually ‘Sour Cherry and Belgium Dark Chocolate,’ managed the rare achievement of a high frequency of chocolate without overwhelming one’s senses.  While the outside of the scone was misshapen, leading to an unfortunate uneven distribution of the multitude of ingredients held within, the crunch was superb and consistent along the scone’s exterior.

The quality of the chocolate demanded my attention, even as the sour cherry attempted repeatedly to steal it.  This combination seemed to clash more than compliment, but the dark chocolate subdued the flavors enough to make it all work.  Still, this poor combination was a rather tragic misstep.  Given greater thought toward the balance of flavors, this scone could have better fulfilled its potential for greatness.  Finally, it’s worth noting that the dollop of sugar that topped the scone will please no person capable of discerning taste.

Overall, this scone was a worthy bandage on a pernicious wound.




Variations on a Scone (Part 2) – Kayak’s Café (Skinker-DeBaliviere, St. Louis)

Blueberry Scone

If there is one thing that Kayak’s does well, it is make their scones exquisitely crunchy.  This is, perhaps, the single most critical element in determining the quality of a scone.  Hence, the crunchiness should never be overlooked.  The pleasant size remains, as does the soft inners.  It is quite pleasing to find full blueberry bits interspersed throughout and to taste a variety of flavors, including what may well be mild nutty undertones as well as a distinct taste of, what I believe to be, wheat.

A truly consistent scone.  Moreover, the lack of frosting makes this scone a far more sustainable, if slightly banal, adventure.



Comment Dit-On “Pretty Good”? – Bonjour Cafe Bakery (Hyde Park, Chicago)

Lemon Scone

From the outset, I can tell that this is going to be a decent scone.  The crunch is readily apparent by the scone’s exterior.  At first, the lemon flavoring seems merely subtle, but, then, it quickly becomes unmistakable that the scone lacks even a scintilla of lemon flavor.  Disregarding this perturbing fact, the inside of the scone is satisfyingly dense.  There is adequate sweetness dispersed throughout and the overall size is acceptable.

It is evidently a quality pastry with an absolutely great texture.  Sadly, it is also devoid of any flavor.