Alicia Fidalgo is the voice behind The Clean Plate Club blog. She shares her time between West Hartford & Boston.
On a chilly Sunday morning I recently had the pleasure of visiting Hartford Baking Company in West Hartford, CT. Located in a strip of shops on New Park Avenue, the bakery's interior juxtaposes the cozy comfort of a local bake-shop with urban-inspired industrial design.
Baked goods run the gamut from sweet to savory: muffins, sticky buns and scones, as well as beautiful crusty European-style bread. Costs are competitive, with single serve baked goods ranging from $1.50 to $3. Scott Kluger, the sincere and enthusiastic proprietor, is very happy to engage with his customers, answering questions about the bread, and offering sampling suggestions.
After growing up in West Hartford and living in Brooklyn, Kluger is eager to bring the quality baked goods of the urban environment back home to CT. He and his mother (the bakery’s pastry chef) have plans to broaden the bakery’s offerings, but first plan to prove to area residents that they can make a consistent, high quality product.
Do not be fooled by the name however; this is not merely another local bakery. Hartford Baking Company also makes a wonderful cup of coffee, and boasts an extensive menu of espresso drinks. The bakery uses coffee beans from Stumptown coffee in Brooklyn, and all the employees are trained to make a cup of joe to the Stumptown standard. I was delighted when presented with my soy cappuccino, a beautiful leaf design adorning the heady foam.
My breakfast at the bakery consisted of a pumpkin muffin (available with or without raisins... I chose without), a banana nut muffin, and a sticky bun. The muffins are baked in tiny loaf pans instead of the standard muffin paper. This creates more of that delicious crunchy crust that I enjoy so much. The inside of the muffin reveals a moist tender crumb, and although the muffins are flavorful they are not overly sweet. The flavors of the fruit shine through. The sticky bun, studded with pecans, makes a lovely compliment to the well-rounded coffee – I couldn’t resist dunking a few bites into my cup.
Also make sure you take advantage of the bread samples by the register and do not leave without experiencing the perfectly crunchy crust and chewy interior of their artisan loaves.
I was happy to learn that the dairy and eggs are sourced from farms right here in CT. Kluger tries his best to take advantage of the great farmers in the region, using Farmer’s Cow co-op for milk and eggs and visiting the West End farmer’s market whenever possible.
With Free Wi-Fi, delicious baked goods, great freshly baked bread, and exceptional coffee, I anticipate more people will decide to plunk down their laptops on the butcher-block tables as word of this gem spreads. I just hope I can still get a table next time I visit the Hartford Baking Company.
Hartford Baking Company 625 New Park Avenue, West Hartford