Tuesday, March 10

Sampling Manresa Bread in Los Gatos

If you've so much as peeked at the internet lately, you have probably learned that Manresa Bread recently opened a brick and mortar shop in Los Gatos. It is the result of hard work from partners David Kinch of two Michelin Star restaurant Manresa, and Andrew Burnham with head baker Avery Ruzicka, formerly of Per Se and Bouchon before heading the bread program at Manresa. I was invited to stop by and try some samples and I was in carb heaven!

The rotating menu is determined daily/seasonally, hence it is just written on brown butcher paper and crossed off as items sell out. You'll have to ask for the prices, it's not listed. Manresa Bread opens from 7AM to 3PM Wednesday through Sunday and will eventually open 7 days a week. They open until they sell out which has been earlier than 3PM since grand opening.

Left: (I think this is the hazelnut brown butter cake) Sweet with a creamy hazelnut center topped with a toasted hazelnut was one of my favorites. Not super sweet nor oily, a little crumbly and nutty tasting.
Right: Chocolate filled croissant. The chocolate was a little too dense for me but the croissant was light and flakey and perfect.

Left: Savory Tart - This was our trio's favorite item. It's a fluffy buttery croissant-like pastry with cheese, nuts and seeds, and roasted potato wedges on top. It looks and sounds intimidating but is actually a winning combination.
Right: Chocolate chip whole wheat cookie. They only offer one type and it's so good, they only need to offer one cookie.

The ham and cheese brioche was probably my least favorite. Unlike the savory tart which was nice and light, this brioche was dense and heavy and contained ham, cheese, and a billion seeds in its rolls. Well they can't all be winners.

We were given a round of the buckwheat cranberry bread which I fully intended to take home and cut up. Instead we stood outside Manresa Bread and started tearing into it with our hands. By the end, half of this round was gone before we made it to the car. Bread like this sums up exactly what Manresa Bread is about. Fresh baked, rustic style loaves or rounds, hard and crusty on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. 

The staff gave us tips for keeping the bread at home. You can use a bread box or put it in the microwave. If you've already cut into it, put the cut side down. You can also try reheating it in the oven. I put mine in a bread box and it still kept pretty well the next day but was never again quite as satisfying as it was when I ate it outside the storefront on the day it was made. Definitely buy and consume same day if you can.

Manresa Bread is partnering with Verve Coffee and selling their beans in store. Verve Coffee is a small batch roaster in Santa Cruz sourcing from authentic sustainable origins. I just made an espresso from 2 teaspoons of this Street Level variety and was so impressed. I'm not a coffee fan either but I definitely enjoyed this espresso shot. It was smooth, slightly sweet, with semi-sour fruity notes. The description says wet-process, cherry cordial, caramelized, orange zest - so maybe that explains the fruity notes. The bag is sitting at my desk at work waiting to be shared with coworkers and the smell is intoxicating throughout the day.

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