By Sarah Corbin
As a previous bakery owner I have always wanted to see behind the bakery door at Athena's Silverland Bakery. When we showed up to talk about her new partnership with Estancia Wines, I asked her right off the bat if we could get a quick tour. Luckily for me and our Forest Park Review crew Athena is a gracious host and said YES. She took us through her entire facility from the ovens to prep tables, to storage room. We saw fresh baked goods on racks. We were able to witness the dividing of cookie dough that had been prepped the day before. And we witnessed some of the production on her RAW bar line that Silverland Bakery makes in small batches from all natural, ingredients.
Athena talked us through all of the baked goods that she is responsible for and it's quite stunning. Ghirardelli brownies? That's Silverland. Mrs Fields brownies? Yep, Athena's Silverland Bakery used to make those too. When I was bragging to friends that I'd had the chance to visit Athena's Silverland Bakery to check out one of her new "product" lines - I was amazed at how many local folks didn't know how big her facility is, and how much her bakery produces - by hand.
That's right - by hand. Even though she is mail order and produces loads of baked goods, there isn't a machined production line that pops out cookies onto trays that get fed automatically through a line belt of ovens. Her facility employs real people to hand press the raw bars into the trays. People are actually putting the cookie racks in the oven and taking them out. And people are packing up the cookies for distribution (everywhere).
We did get some one on one time to talk about the new partnership between Silverland Bakery and Estancia Wines. Most of what Athena does currently day to day is test bake. She creates, she makes up recipes, she solves delicious problems every day. When Estancia called to say they were looking for a dessert bar to pair with their wines, to sell as a co-branded effort, she was excited about the new flavor creation opportunity - it's her personal specialty.
And it was no small feat. She had to carefully create a bar that had lots of wine flavor, but no residual alcohol. I think she nailed it. She came up with two delicious bakery bars. They are moist, super fresh and have just the right amount of sweet buttery wonderfulness one expects from a bakery bar.
They are packaged "gift ready." One dozen individually wrapped bars come in each giftable box. I'm a bit of a packaging geek and I love the design on the larger box. The individually wrapped bars are logo branded also and can be divided up easily to attach to teacher gift cards, tie on gifts instead of a bow, or just hand out to your friends at the school bus stop. Which I did, of course. My neighbors were thrilled. If you are having a wine tasting party, I think you've just found your essential dessert option.
The two featured new bars are: The Estancia Chardonnay White Chocolate Caramel Bar that is "laced with creamy white chocolate and white chocolate chips, infused with buttery Chardonnay, and topped with luscious caramel." and then there is the Estancia Pinot Noir Bakery Bar "composed of an all-butter crust topped with a layer of Pinot Noir, bright raspberry and tart cherry filling, and dotted with butter crust crumbles." The website description does do it justice. I just couldn't' say it any better.
These bars while crafted and made locally, are available via the website: www.silverlandbakery.com.
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