Friday, February 15, 2013

Christine's Doughnuts

It has literally been about a year since we noticed the new bakery that went into the small, less than glamorous plaza storefront on RT4 in Billerica, just over the Concord River. We noticed it initially because we bike by there on a regular basis and noted the improvements to the small plaza which included the existing mini-mart as well as a new pizza place called Wicked Cheezy and this place, Christine's Bakery and Cafe. What really caught our attention was that their sign clearly stated that they make doughnuts daily. Being somewhat of a fiend for quality doughnuts, I put them on the list to give a try.

The time flew by and we never had the chance or made the time to go and check them out. This isn't really a terrible thing of course as we all know the last thing I need need is another dozen doughnuts. Yesterday morning I finally made the time and took the long four mile trip up to the wilds of scenic Billerica to visit Christine's.

I was greeted by a friendly and exuberant young man with tattoos and piercings behind the counter who was more than happy to help me. Quickly I surveyed the offerings and was taken by the variety they had, especially at 10AM in the morning. I could see that they were nearing the end of the run but there was still some product left and they had a good number of choices from which to choose. I noticed that they did not make many cake doughnuts or at least they did not have many cake doughnuts available at that point. These were all traditional raised, old-fashioned doughnuts. Nothing wrong with that and in fact, I believe that much of the art and artistry comes from this style of doughnut, getting the consistency correct so as to have a light flaky product and not a heavy brick. I placed an order for a dozen consisting of a good sampling of the wares while chatting with the folks there and a very nice elderly gentleman.

Visually the offerings looked very good and although on the small side from Kane's supersized standards, were a traditional sized doughnut. The staple base was the glazed raised to which they then added toppings. They had a colorful chocolate grenache with sprinkles topping, a crumbled Heath Bar topping, coconut and sliced almond as well as an old-fashioned plain and chocolate to name a few. They also had a choice few jelly left, my benchmark doughnut. They also had supersized coffee rolls meant to split with a group which looked pretty good but were not the object of my affection.

I was very hopeful that these creations would taste as good as they looked. I really like patronizing the local small business and these folks fit the bill. Upon first bite into the jelly my hopes were confirmed. This was the real deal. It was quality over quantity with the doughnut having a light, airy consistency that literally melted in your mouth. It was subtle and felt that way on the palate. They make an excellent desert doughnut or are great as part of a balanced breakfast, preferably with bacon.
Honestly, really respectable product from a small local business. Not a chain, not a mass production shop. Good folks making good stuff. Give them a try, I don't think that you will be disappointed. I wasn't. I'll certainly be back.

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