It’s that time of year and what better way to celebrate it than with Atwater’s? In addition to all of the items available on our holiday menu we will be selling handmade jam gift boxes in all of our stores.
As seen in Baltimore Magazine’s December Gift Guide, these jam boxes make a perfect present for that special someone. Each box comes with 4 assorted flavors of our award-wining jam. We recommend trying the Kiwi Lemon jam made with local, organic, Maryland kiwis from Next Step Produce! (No joke!)
The boxes are handmade by Ernest Henry, a local wood worker that builds apple crates for farmers’ markets. The boxes are durable and reusable– ready to be turned into another gift box next holiday season or trendy storage for one of your shelves!
At Atwater’s we strive to utilize and offer locally sourced foods and materials as often as possible. Fostering strong relationships with local purveyors helps build stronger communities and customer loyalty. Which is why we’re extremely excited to tell you about some of the newest items that have arrived directly from the farmer’s to our stores.
The most recent addition to our shelves is a cheddar from Singing Meadow Farm. The farm, only 40 miles from Belvedere Square, is nestled in the unassuming Airville community of Southeast Pennsylvania and is run by Benjamin Stoltzfus, an Amish farmer, his son Henry, and their dog. Together they produce some of the finest cheddar and colby cheeses available.
The cheddar we have was aged over one year following a precise process originally conceived in the town of Cheddar, England. The cows are milked at the peak of the spring grass, yielding the highest quality milk. The raw whole milk is then left to ripen, a necessary step to prepare for coagulation. Sufficiently ripe, the milk is set with the addition of rennet (a complex of enzymes) and kept at a warm temperature while the mixture forms curds. Once the curd has been cut, cooked, and drained the process of “cheddaring” begins.
Cheddaring begins by cutting the curds into loaves and flipping them every ten minutes. As they are turned the farmer will begin stacking the loaves which loosens them for the milling process. The loaves are cut into smaller pieces that fit in the mill and are constantly stirred to avoid re-matting. Salt is added during the milling which removes some of the residual whey from the cheese in addition to lowering its moisture content. Finally, the milled cheese is carefully packed into moulds (ours arrived in 25 pound rounds) and then left to age. Benjamin is truly a master at his work and a year of patience has culminated into one incredible cheese. As you read this Benjamin will be preparing to craft next year’s batch of aged cheddar, slightly later than last year as our weather has pushed the peak of the spring grass back two weeks.
We have also just received two pigs from One Straw Farm! Since 1983 Drew and Joan Norman have been supplying the area with quality produce and meat through restaurants, wholesalers, their CSA program, and local farmers’ markets. Ned has been friends with the Normans since long before Atwater’s opened! Through that relationship we’re lucky to get 2 of their pasture-raised pigs. These Berkshire pigs, a breed renowned for the pork’s flavor and tenderness, were humanely raised and fed on only non-genetically modified feed. At over two hundred pounds hanging weight each, we’re be well stocked on pork for quite awhile.
Look for Singing Meadow Farm’s cheddar on our shelves at Belvedere Square and Catonsville. We will be using One Straw Farm’s pork in a variety of our different food offerings, we hope you get to try it and taste the quality for yourselves!
Today marks a milestone in our history–
10 years at Belvedere Square.
It’s hard to imagine that a decade ago
Belvedere Square, a North Baltimore landmark,
reopened and brought with it the first Atwater’s
Like Belvedere Square to the community, we remain
grounded in our roots: hand-shaped bread, pastry from
scratch, healthy soups, homemade jams, great coffee,
and friendly, dedicated service.
We are humbled to have been warmly supported by the
community for these past ten years and look brightly
toward the next ten.
From everyone at Atwater’s,
we thank you.
With St. Patrick’s day right around the corner we wanted to wish you sláinte (to your health in Gaelic) and to fill you in on some of the specials and goodies we’ll have available here at Atwater’s bakery.
Our Irish Soda Bread will be available at every location and most farmers’ markets. This traditional bread is leavened with baking soda which was the most effective leavening agent for the types of wheat grown in Ireland in the 1800s. A hearty bread that we fill with currants, golden raisins, and caraway seeds.
If you need a little extra luck grab a bag of our shamrock & coin sugar cookies. Need a pick me up or to stay warm? Try a delicious blarney scone, filled with Irish Cheddar and bacon, or a bowl of corned beef and cabbage stew.
Additionally, we’ll have stout teacakes, cupcakes, and lattes available. The latter currently only available at Catonsville. The stout adds a delicious malty flavor to our Counter Culture espresso.
You can see our full St. Patrick’s day menu here.
Wishing everyone warm holiday wishes from Atwater’s in Catonsville! Hope everyone is enjoying the rare Baltimore white Christmas.
Each holiday season our pastry chefs close off the upstairs seating area at our Catonsville location in preparation for the local elves (proper size and all!) to come practice their gingerbread decorating skills. This year we held two classes, one for 4 to 6-year-olds and another for 7 to 10-year-olds. They’re wonderfully festive and a joy to hold here in Catonsville.
Jess Placek, our head pastry chef, starts the class with a gingerbread decorating demonstration, passing on her tips and tricks to create gingerbread people of all sorts. Once they’ve seen a virtuoso’s touch the students dive in with their sartorial tools — candy string, gumdrops, M&Ms, mints, and, of course, icing of all colors.
Gingerbread soccer players, beach dwellers, snowmen, and even gingerbread skeletons made appearances this year. And what kind of decorating class would it be if at least half of the students didn’t try to see how much candy would fit on one gingerbread body. The pastry chef mantra is that sweets drive imagination and there was no shortage of creativity on the decorating table.
The decorating was followed by interactive storytelling with hot chocolate and cider. Before long it was time to carefully pack up the gingerbread people and bring them home. We all here had a wonderful time and we would like to thank Catonsville for being such a supportive and nurturing community over 2012. It means a lot to us to see so many familiar faces each week and at our classes!
Here’s to 2013!