A “Cookshop Plus” for Every Occasion
Even though I have been away recently for a little R&R (more on that in another post), 2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an event at Cookshops Plus at 977 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford.
Before I go any further – special shout out to Mark (aka running czar and my plus one at a lot of these events). The event was on the 21st of February, which was his birthday, but he was so sweet and accompanied me. It was a good thing as he (and I) were greeted by a bountiful tray of pastries from Hartford Baking Company.
And lest we have nothing to wash it down with, he was able to order a hot chocolate AT THE STORE. I know, crazy, but Cookshop Plus has a coffee bar located in the middle of the store. Genius if you ask me – coffee and cooking – what a perfect combination.
I on the other hand opted for a perfectly made latte, made from beans sourced and roasted at Neat Coffee, a Connecticut based artisan coffee bar (in Avon). I have been to some other “local” coffee roasters but these beans (being single origin) made an exceptional latte. I enjoyed it so much that before I left I “lost” my latte and had to get another. Thanks to the baristas for taking such good care of the attendees.
Coffee and pastry in hand, I had the opportunity to meet the co-owners of Cookshop Plus, Samantha and James Hines. Super affable and welcoming, I was surprised to find out that this is the second location, the first being in Australia. I have to say after hearing this I am happy that they decided to open their second location in West Hartford.
The interior of the store is clean and airy, with a variety of American and International products for the cook, wannabe cook or baker in your life.
And what’s great (in addition to the Kitchen in the basement which they want to utilize for cooking classes in the future) was the huge demo table located behind the coffee bar. It was there that James did a quick knife demo, to highlight his knife skills (which were pretty sweet) but to also emphasize that Cookshop Plus is looking to get locals involved, whether it be through demonstrations or highlighting local artisians.
I also learned (or re-learned) that my knives should never go in the dishwasher (whoops) but that if they do – Cookshop Plus offers Global, Savannah, Messermeister and Wustof knives to replace any of my damages knives. I am in love with my Santuko knife but James reminded me that my bread knife is usually the most underutilized knife as it can be used from everything from cutting bread (duh) to carving meat. Good to know!
Pretzel Making Demonstration
And just when I thought we were done (and my shopping could begin), Scott Kluger, owner of Hartford Baking Company came demonstrate how they form their (wonderfully addictive) brioche pretzels. I had thought that Hartford Baking Company was just going to be providing the delicious cheese danishes, morning glory muffins and cranberry scones, I got to learn how he makes them.
It’s not as easy as it looks (as you can tell from the pictures below).
Long story short, I am glad that I was blessed with long arms as you have to roll the pretzels dough out 6 feet, cross the ends of the dough, twist the end one time (bringing the twist up toward the inside middle, and then press the end of the dough lightly on the sides creating the pretzel shape.
Phew – it’s hard work, so I think I will stick to purchasing them for the time being.
That is until the upcoming cooking class that Hartford Baking Company is putting on called Brioche, Brioche, Brioche which is going to take place on April 3, 2016. I know tickets just went on sale and are sure to sell quickly.
What better way to spend a Sunday morning then seeing a working, local baking facility, having breakfast and making brioche (some of which I hope we can take home).
Check out their Facebook Event page (link here) for more information and tickets
After the pretzel making demonstration (sadly we were unable to bake them at the store) we had the opportunity to browse around Cookshop Plus)
I might have bought a couple of items (both approved by my plus one), and had to hold myself back from all the fun (and useful) items that Cookshop Plus sells.
I have to say, that this store is a great addition to West Hartford Center. If you have not had a chance, check it out, they have something for everyone.