Monday, May 15, 2006

Hunting for a Baker

Sat 13 May 2006

Headingley, for all its good points, is depressingly short on some of the more essential retailers related to food.

Because I am bored out of my mind with the rubbish you can buy in the supermarket or any of the chain 'bakeries' I have decided that another one of my food missions should be to find a decent baker. And accessible and decent baker, at that.

I started this mission on Saturday morning, with a visit to Michels, which is near Hyde Park Corner. In the interests of sampling as broad a range as possible, I opted for a Cornish pasty, a sausage roll, a macaroon slice and a piece of chocolate fudge. This selection cost me just under £3.

The Round Up

The Cornish pasty was the outstanding winner of this selection. It lost points for me because it had peas in it, it lost points with Andy as it wasn't peppery enough - but overall, this was a fine pasty and we were both quite gutted I hadn't bought more. The pasty was not the most attractive pasty you'll ever see but compared with the (more attractive) pasties available from various chains specialising in pasties direct from Cornwall etc this was a far finer specimen. The filling was densely packed, moist and gristle free, the pastry was short and not oozing grease, and the ratio of pastry to filling was spot on. This pasty is also a LOT cheaper than you'll find at many other 'specialist' pasty places. There is no reason not to buy this pasty over any other commercial pasty I've tried yet.

The sausage roll was also commendable because of the lovely flaky pastry which wasn't greasy. I thought it was a bit of a boring, bog standard sausage roll, though Andy liked it and said he thought it would have been even better cold. Maybe we'll have to try that out at some point.

The chocolate fudge was quite disappointing. It tasted far too much of packet/synthetic chocolate, and had that weird synthetic texture thing going on. The icing was OK.

The macaroon slice was, for me, probably the greatest disappointment, because I love these things and I had visions of how it was going to taste that it just didn't live up to (I appreciate that that makes me a highly partial judge, too). It had a bit too much of an almond taste to it for me, and not enough rich, sticky jam, soaking into the soft, sticky coconut.

This means that my experience of Michel's was a little uneven, but the Cornish pasty was good enough to get me back through the door, and I'll probably even sample some of their other offerings.

1. Michel's Bakery, 2, The Crescent, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS6 2NW, telephone 0113 275 2360

How to get there: any of the buses which head to Hyde Park Corner will drop you off at Michel's doorstep - 1, 28, 95, 96, 97, 97A. It's a short walk from the university and Hyde Park.
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