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We arrived there a bit later in the afternoon than we had intended, which was entirely my fault. While driving down Route 2, I spied the entrance to Hope Cemetery. This is a place I had heard of many times but had not visited, and I insisted on a quick drive through. It may seem like a strange thing to mention in a post about bakeries, but one of the best parts of doing this tour has been the drives, and taking in the scenery of spots in Vermont we don’t often get to.
If you are traveling through Barre, Vermont, check out Hope Cemetery: it is full of unique stonework, often massive in size, and carved in astonishingly beautiful detail. The works were created by and adorn the graves of the stonecutters that worked in this area, telling a bit of their stories and honoring their families.
Then it was on to Montpelier.
We found Birchgrove Baking on Elm Street, very near the busy downtown. The bright space inside is decked out in cheerful yellows, along with accent walls of black and white forest wallpaper, and spots of robins egg blue on chairs and in cupboards.
There are a few marble-topped tables and a couple of seats at the large window as well.
Because we got there a later in the day, we missed out on some treats.
Some of the goodies we did find at the bakery case were gorgeous filled tarts, huge cookies filled with M&M’s and peanut butter, and savory scones.
Each of us, my husband, our son, and I were drawn in by something different.
My son was drawn to the large chalkboard wall displaying an array of hot drinks available, in particular, steamed milk with a variety of add-in flavors. Steamed maple milk has become his signature drink. (For all the coffee shops I drag that poor kid to, I’m grateful that he can almost always find this drink!) And he really enjoyed it.
My husband’s eye caught the glint of decorating sugar atop the sturdy Fruit Shortcakes. The individual cakes were round with tall sides, and that day were filled with blueberries. What’s not to love about a blueberry-filled pastry!
The rich flavor of the fruit was really tasty paired with the tender shortcake, and with a nice crunch from the sugar on top. (I am very lucky he shared this gem with me!)
As for me, I was hypnotized by their Passion Fruit Tarts – more specifically, by the tall and perfect peaks of shiny meringue on top of the tarts. Each meringue peak, as well as each groove on each peak was perfectly outlined in shades of caramel brown, with the fruit filling peeking out from below. I had never tried passion fruit filling before trying this tart. Our family has watched many episodes of The Great British Baking Show this summer, and after seeing many of the bakers opt for passion fruit in their baked goods, I was really eager to taste it. Now that I have tasted it in Birchgrove’s tart, I worry that I won’t be able to articulate just how incredible it was – but I’ll give it a go.
It was sweet, tangy, tropical. It was indulgent, with a flavor that seemed to be a little bit mango, a little bit peach, and a little bit orange. The filling was thick, and the taste was so bright. It was sublime paired with the marshmallowy, satiny meringue. Please: just get in there and get a Passion Fruit Tart!
The café at Birchgrove Baking also has beautiful locally-made cards and decor for sale, as well as travel mugs and t-shirts.
(I love this t-shirt with artwork from Ryan Jon Gillispie, depicting the owners Jennifer Toce and John Belding in an homage to Wonder Woman, and maybe Conan The Barbarian!)
There is also a book of beautiful wedding cakes and custom cakes, which can be ordered at the bakery. My cousin ordered this custom cake from Birchgrove for her daughter’s birthday.
Get in there early to get the best pick of their delectable treats!
And just one more side-note to this Bakery Tour stop: after savoring our treats at Birchgrove, we explored the downtown Montpelier shops, including Bear Pond Books and Woodbury Mountain Toys. We also had fun exploring Antiques At 110 Main, and there I came across this little play family.
I could not pass by without clicking a quick photo of the toy dad, with his stylish cardigan and turtleneck, and sporting a bewildered expression. With a confused jumble of kids on a couch, and a checked-out mom, it seemed to me a funny little snapshot of what parenting can often feel like!
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Click here to see more Delectable Destinations: Vermont Bakery Tour posts, as I trek to all eight bakeries on the list!
Birchgrove Baking is located at 279 Elm Street in Montpelier, VT. In their café you can enjoy tarts, cookies, cakes, and breakfast pastries, along with plenty of coffee and other hot drinks. They have savory pastries available, and the offerings change every day. You can also order dazzling wedding and custom cakes. Find out more on their website: click here!
The King Arthur Flour Vermont Bakery Tour consists of eight bakeries scattered over the northern half of Vermont. Participants visit the bakeries, taste the fine baked goods, and have their Bakery Passport stamped at each. The completed passport can then be redeemed for an exclusive Bakery Tour tote bag! Visit this link, King Arthur Flour Vermont Bakery Tour for more information.