Friday, June 25, 2010

Aggressive Pastry at SIA Smilšu Pulkstenis Bakery

On our second day in Riga, Latvia, and first day of good weather, my friend and I decided to walk the city, enjoy the architecture, and try a new pastry shop. On our journey we came across SIA Smilšu Pulkstenis, a bakery with less flair than Boulangerie Bakery (which we tried on our first day), but more interesting desserts. SIA Smilšu Pulkstenis was perfect for an afternoon snack.

The first dish I tried was small and tasty. This little chocolate covered roll could nearly be classified as savory with an overtly challah and seseme seed flavor. This simple dessert was presented nicely and was a nice snack. I wanted something a little sweeter, so I decided on a piece of a tart.

The pastry shown above was less than stellar. The browned coconut topping was a bit soggy and it lacked flavor. The berry layer of this tart was, well, tart. Perfect. Finally the third layer, the crust, might as well have been left out all together. The crust was moist and rather bland. Overall this dish was a sour mush. So natuarally I needed to try another dessert.

Although the pastry might have lacked what I was looking for, the open air dining was fabulous. The heavy-set wood tables, padded chairs and large umbrellas created an enjoyable setting amongst pastel painted art nouveau buildings.

Finally I settled on a meringue sandwich covered in white chocolate and filled with a liquour-flavored creme. Each bite from first to last were great. All of the flavors played well with one another. Aside from a nice punch of sweetness, the meringue and creme had an undertone of egg nog.

After three desserts down I asked my buddy if he thought I was crazy for trying three pastries and he replied, "No. You just have an aggressive pastry style." Well put. Pastries seem to taste better in Europe and I have a fascination with outdoor dining on cobblestone streets. So why not? These experiences are hard to come by. When I come back to Riga in several years I will seek out SIA Smilšu Pulkstenis Bakery in Old Town Riga.

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