Vermont: King Arthur Flour

Way, way back in May, CL and I took a little long weekend jaunt across the country to visit AF at Dartmouth right before she finished up her last year at business school there.  AF had everything thoughtfully and brilliantly planned out, from all the meals to all the excursions in-between.  For once, I did zero research on my destination and just sat back to enjoy the trip.

CL and I took a red eye into Boston and then a three-hour bus ride to Hanover, NH.  We'd barely gotten to take in the scenery when AF whisked us off to Vermont for lunch.

I loved baking as a kid, but I obviously was never a serious baker because I'd never heard of King Arthur Flour before stepping foot onto the King Arthur Flour's flagship campus:   


Calling it a campus may seem a little over the top, but that's exactly what it was.  At the flagship campus, you can take classes at their Baking Education Center, you can ogle at bakers as they create their bread masterpieces, and you can shop to your little heart's content at their massive store...all in one place.

On top of all that, you can also stop by their charming little café for pastries, lunch, dinner, coffee, whatever you're in the mood for:


A lot of things on the lunch menu sounded delicious, but my attention was completely ensnared by the daily special:


The sandwich of the day was a panini with bacon, gruyere, caramelized onion spread, Granny Smith apples, and baby spinach.  I read caramelized onion spread and I was sold.  At $8.95, it wasn't cheap, but damn was it good.  There was such an explosion of textures and flavors.  The meatiness of the bacon, the distinct taste of the melted gruyere cheese, the sweetness of the onion spread, and of course, the tartness of the apples.  Magic.

After polishing off our sandwiches, we checked out the store:


It stocked everything a baker could possibly desire and then some.  While I was certainly impressed by the selection, I was more interested in the free samples:


The discovery of one free sample led to an intense treasure hunt throughout the store for others.  There weren't a whole lot, but we made sure to search every nook and cranny of the place before we were satisfied that we'd found them all.

As we were walking out, we noticed a sign offering a free King Arthur Flour tin for every person who makes a purchase.  There was no limit to how big the purchase had to be, so here's what I got as a souvenir for my sister:


I didn't actually get to try any, but I have it on good authority that it is sublime on pancakes, especially when paired with maple syrup.  Apparently you can never have too much maple products on pancakes.

Thanks to that little jar of maple butter, I was able to walk out with my free tin:


In hindsight, it probably wasn't the smartest move to pick up a container that took up half of my duffle bag, but whatevs.  It was free!

My cheap Chinese ancestors would be proud.


King Arthur Flour
135 US Route 5 South 
Norwich, Vermont 05055
(802) 649-3361
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/

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