Trifle and Triumph

Aunty Elaine would be pleased. One of the hot new favorites this summer at the Williamsburg food markets is trifle. Not the jelly-cake-custard combo of my childhood Sunday visits to the cousins, but a similarly wobbly mass, served in a huge transparent glass bowl with visuals to feed the anticipation ( or dread! ). The 2014 version from marketeers Butter & Scotch comes with an assurance of ‘tons of booze’ soaked in date cake and layered between caramel, butterscotch pudding and whipped cream. It seems bourbon may have been the key to the Kickstarter campaign that gave these retro retailers over $50,000 to open a dessert and cocktail bar in Brooklyn… And that was without adding bacon.

Bacon is the new must-have. Bacon on cupcakes, on mini cheesecakes, in cornbread and wrapped around pretzels. There are bruffins with chocolate covered bacon and salted caramel, and Dun Well Doughnuts with a french toast flavor. But some food at the market is so fantastic no fad could make it better.

The bread at the Pain D’Avignon stall is as hearty as the story behind it. A few years ago a group of young friends escaped the conflict in what was Yugoslavia and found their way to America, skinny and skint. One guy had learnt about making bread from a French baking book, and with only a small oven kept the fellows fed. Experiments to create artisanal bread from the old world led to a spontaneous entry into a bread show, accompanied with hand scrawled descriptions. As it happened, the buyer from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was there, and on the spot ordered many dozens of loaves for the following day. It was an opportunity of a lifetime but with one oven and limited people power it would be a stretch to bake, even if they worked all night. However on the way home they encountered a group of Latino bakers ousted from their burnt-out work place. Eagerly the new recruits pitched their seasoned hands in with those of the Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegro friends and together they worked to make the bread for the next day. The manager recounted this story with pride – they still hold the account for the Waldorf along with many others, and have outlets in the Plaza Food Hall and the Essex Street Markets. So swing by for a sourdough, leave the bacon for eggs and if you’re working with Auntie Elaine’s recipe, try adding bourbon…

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5 Responses to Trifle and Triumph

  1. Lee Gillespie says:

    Just love a good luck story!

    • Absolutely! Can’t you just imagine the rush of emotions as they flew home from the bread show, picked up the Latinos on the street corner with smoke billowing up from behind, then rolled up their sleeves and stuck their fists into the dough….? And the bread is delicious!

  2. Dallas Colley says:

    I can almost smell and taste the bread! For the record Auntie Elaines’s trifle is a must serve each Christmas at my house, hmm bourbon could appear at Yuletime.

  3. Sounds so good to me…How lucky they were to have someone to take an interest in what they were cooking…Good on them…I am salivating already.

  4. Tess says:

    A great story Gabrielle! Not sure about the bacon though … ha ha .

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