Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Giving a fig, or life beyond the reach of the Internet

Editors do not live by bagels alone. There’s babka*, too.

We used to have a bakery in the neighborhood that made an excellent babka. They even set up a mail order babka business and a website. Alas, they closed their doors last year. I mostly managed to avoid indulging in their babkas, as they would have been the ruin of me. So I don’t particularly miss them.

Last week, though, someone sent my wife a thank you gift for her office consisting of eight babkas, two each of four different fillings. It was decided (passive voice to protect the identity of the decider) that one of these had to come home, and the one my wife picked out had a wonderful fig filling. This is something I had not encountered before, and search engines confirm that it is not a traditional filling.

I thought, well, this bakery must have a website. But no, Google can’t find that, either, beyond a directory listing (if I guessed correctly at the name of the bakery).

Anyway, if you’re anywhere within an easy drive of Newton, Massachusetts, check out Blacker’s Bake Shop, 551 Commonwealth Avenue. The chocolate babka is just so-so, but the fig is to die for. In addition, the woman who asked a relative to buy and ship the gift to my wife was distraught to learn that the package had not included any apricot-almond babkas, suggesting that might be a winner, too.

And if you go there, ask them why they don’t have a website.

* There are several sweet goods called babka, but I’m referring specifically to the fairly dry but rich sweet dough with a rolled-in filling and a streusel topping, made up as a high, rectangular or round loaf, found in Jewish bakeries. Common flavors are chocolate and cinnamon.

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