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Upstate New York Splendors Part 2a

Sep 19, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose

Mrs. London's

My parents were both born in New York City in the early 1900's. My mother always loved it and my father was always looking to move to the country. But when, in their 80's, my father finally bought his dream property in upstate New York, my mother chose to join him on his land (which meant living in an airstream trailer in the snow belt) over staying in New York City.

Gradually she convinced herself that upstate New York had its charms both cultural and culinary. So when she reported the discovery of a terrific bakery in Saratoga Springs called Mrs. London's, and told me I must come to visit I was suspicious. I thought it was merely a ploy to get me to come up and visit her and my father! How wrong I was. After all these years I got to visit not only Mrs. London's, but to meet the whole London family. Suvir told me I was going to experience the best croissants in this country. He was wrong: They were the best croissants in this world! Look at the crumb! And this wasn't one of many Michael London cut to find the best texture--it was a random one he pulled out of the display case.

7.Ultimate-Croissant.jpg

Forgive me as I rave rapturously, but truly I was stunned by the quality of both the brick oven-baked breads and the desserts.

Michael London (Mrs. London's husband) is an amazing man. Not only did he do a stage at the famed Parisian Mulot bakery, he also did a stint at Fauchon, and somehow managed to learn and communicate without speaking French. He brought home many techniques, improving on some and inventing others of his own. He also put his heart and soul into the décor of his bakery/restaurant, using everything of the highest quality just as he does in his baked goods. Michael is also a gifted story teller. Most touching was the story he recounted of his father who grew up as a deaf mute, ran away from home to become the famed boxer who never lost a fight, until one day a blow to his head won him his hearing! He learned how to speak and in short order wrote the story of his life.

Elliott, Suvir, Charlie, and I tasted each and every thing pictured below and I wanted to cry with delight to discover such soul mates--such beautiful people, and such extraordinary dedication to workmanship. Did I mention generosity?! Michael not only taught Sarah Beth Levine how to bake, he moved in with her when she was opening her first bakery in New York City to help with the opening.

There were many highlights to this trip to upstate New York but this one felt like coming home again.


1.Wendy-&-Michael-London.jpg

WENDY AND MICHAEL LONDON

2.Bread-Rack.jpg

THE BREAD RACK

3.Pastry-Case.jpg

THE PASTRY CASE

4.Cheese-Danish.jpg

CHEESE DANISH

5.Cut Cheese-Danish.jpg

CHEESE DANISH INTERIOR

6.Almond-Croissant.jpg

ALMOND CROISSANT

8.Fig&Pisatchio-Tart.jpg

PISTACHIO FIG TART

9,Pistachio-Fig-Tartlett.jpg

PISTACHIO FIG TARTLETT

10.Mousse-Cake.jpg

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CHARLOTTE

11.Tira-Misu-Cake.jpg

TIRA MISU CAKE

12.Chocolate-Raspberry-Supreme.jpg

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY SUPREME

13.Red-Fruit-Charlotte.jpg

RED FRUIT CHARLOTTE

14.Chocolate-Mousse-Cake.jpg

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE

15.Chocolate-Cake.jpg

CHOCOLATE CAKE

16.Strawberry&Black&White-Creams.jpg

STRAWBERRY WITH BLACK AND WHITE CREAMS

17.Strawberry-Sorbet.jpg

STRAWBERRY SORBET

This was the most intensely strawberry sorbet I've ever had!

18.Budino.jpg

BUDINO

(My top favorite!)

19.Partially-Consumed-Budino.jpg

BUDINO, ALMOST FINISHED, FULLY ENJOYED

Next up: Photos of their son Max London's Restaurant.

Comments

gail snitkoff
gail snitkoff
09/21/2010 07:07 PM

We are blessed to have met Suvir at a course run by the CIA and Harvard in Napa this past spring and to have Mrs. London's close by. The Troy farmer's market is a must on Saturday mornings - even just to buy Mrs. London's for breakfast Sunday. The pastries are wonderful and the breads equally so.

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Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from suvir saran
09/20/2010 08:38 PM

just in case you don't know, this is suvir saran, chef-owner of the famed devi restaurant in NYC--the best indian food in new york. i wrote about him and his partner charlie in part 1 of upstate new york splendors and more to come after our upcoming visit early october. i do hope those of you in the area will come to either the class or the dinner/book signing at the chocolate mill in glen's falls.

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Europe does not come close to Mrs. London's.
It is a must for any and all to go visiting them. It is the equivalent of a culinary Haj that all must make in their lifetime.
Several times if you feel lucky.

I was thrilled to be wrong as Rose describes in her praise. I too agree that their croissants and creations might be the "best of" in their category. All of that is made even better because of the magically blessed, talented, gorgeous and kind people behind them.

Am a BIG fan of the London's, Rose and those who like them are artisans of talent beyond the ordinary and the gift to make the wonderful brilliantly better and the brilliant even better than ethereal.

It is a blessing for us to be able to call Mrs. London's and Max London's our local gems. They are better than anything we can find in the US and also overseas for the most part.

Thanks Rose for your photos and commentary. Coming from you this is very very HIGH praise. You are one who has set the standard so very high in the world of pastry and baking that I know the London's must be feeling very blessed to have given you some moments of joy. Thanks for indulging Charlie and I with your company and for allowing us to take you to Saratoga Springs to share the magic of the London family. We are thrilled to know you enjoyed being there and cannot wait to share their beautiful offerings with you many times.

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Wow! Simply gorgeous. I still can't believe that's the interior of a croissant. The holes are so evenly spaced. I wish I had spent more time appreciating the beauty of European pastries when I still lived there!!! :o)

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Oh man.. everything looks perfect! I love the bread rack, and each pastries looks amazing. Thanks for sharing the picture and the experience Rose.

@ Zach, we are so lacking good pastries in this Country. I miss Europe... I want to move now...

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Amazing! Simply amazing.

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My goodness, those look like the best croissants in this world! I love croissants. Everything in that bakery looks amazing!

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Those are some of the most beautiful pastries I've ever seen, and the most amazing textures ever. I'm sitting here wondering when I will next have the time to drive there and try something!

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OMG! Those pastries and desserts look SO awesome! Wow, the flakiness is incredible. It literally makes my mouth water.

Someone in Dallas asked me the other day where to get the best almond croissant and I was sad to have to tell them that they're all mediocre here. We're so lacking in good Viennoiseries in this city. sigh.

It can't look anymore - it makes me sad. :)

Zach

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