Soft Pretzels, Curbside
That’s a freshly made “everything” soft pretzel (photo, above) resting on a traditional salted one. Peeking out from the paper bag at upper right is the blue cheese and wild chive. Each is bigger than a man’s large hand; the slash marks are part of the culinary artistry. They were delivered last Thursday to a convenient location in Lebanon NH. Other pick-up sites in the Upper Valley are available.
Pretzel Village in Sharon VT has been selling its savory and sweet pretzels at fairs and farmers markets. More recently, it established an online ordering system with pickup available every Thursday at specified times at the bakery in Sharon, the Dairy Twirl parking lot in Lebanon, across from the Hanover Inn in Hanover, and at Mac’s Market in Woodstock.
Owner J. Kaspar Sanchez became enthusiastic about pretzels by sampling them during travels with his brother in Germany and Austria. Many years later, he taught himself some rudimentary techniques of pretzel-making from a book, which he combined with his work experience in restaurants and his love of cooking. Of this latest venture, he said:
When starting Pretzel Village, my passion came from wanting to make the best product I could make but with my own signature twist. Once the dough recipe was mastered, I created my own variations which included influences from Northeastern American baking culture and doughnuts in particular. Being based in Vermont, I wanted to really utilize the local ingredients, the pure mountain water that we have access to. . . [O]ur bakery's proximity to King Arthur Flour is another key feature that has made our pretzels very special.
The verdict? We brought the pretzels home, warmed them slightly in the oven, and devoured them along with my version (add in some endive) of Ina Garten’s Roasted Sausages and Grapes. The next morning we popped the leftover pretzels in the toaster (very briefly) and then drizzled them with a little maple cream. Slight crunch on the outside, fresh and soft on the inside. So comforting to know that soft pretzels, which I associate with urban landscapes currently beyond us, are within reach.
Is the original salt pretzel still the top seller? According to Sanchez, “Yes, it is the top seller followed by Market Street Maple and Cheddar & Smoked Paprika which are about tied, followed by Blue Cheese & Chive which is catching up fast.” There’s even a seasonal gingerbread offering. Yearning to dip? Obatzda, a German spiced beer cheese spread, is coming soon.
You’re reading Artful, a blog/newsletter about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll subscribe. And please share this post with your friends!