If you are local to North Devon, or love a visit to us (because why wouldn’t you), you will probably of heard of the now baking legends that are Bake & Brew. Or, maybe you have seen them over the years without even knowing, on the beautiful Tarka Trail with their trike, an array of hot drinks (sorry, brews) and mouth watering bakes, whilst you enjoy our beautiful scenery riding your bikes (cycling on the Tarka Trail is much easier than the road, trust me). Or, maybe you prefer a bit of running on two legs, rather than two wheels and have bolted to their treat trike straight after you successfully finished one of our local running clubs events (Bideford AAC if you are interested; shameless plug). If there was ever a time to deserve a slab of sweet, local goodness, post half marathon is one of those.
Okay, small fib there, anytime is the time we all deserve a Bake & Brew sweet treat because, you know, we are all bloody amazing. That is my reasoning for pretty much anything food related, and it seems to work! In what ever way you came across the famous trike trio, I bet you haven’t regretted it. I know I haven’t!
Being a runner for most of my life (albeit an injured one for most of my life; if you know, you know), I first heard of Bake & Brew at those local running events. Fast forward a few years, a simple Instagram story from them, and a hopeful reply from me, here we both are smiling for our first working together selfie when King Kirt delivered their latest mixed bake box. It was probably one of the best Fridays of my life so far. That is not an exaggeration either, as two hours later, I was eating pizza at the beach; what a day (easily pleased).
The Mixed Bake Box
A simple box encasing freshly baked, still slightly warm, delights. Proudly on the front of the treat holding package, their infamous logo everyone has come to know and recognise. My excitement was building again, and my smile almost coming off my face, as I opened the treasure chest to reveal the bakes lovingly wrapped in grease proof paper, with their business card slotted in proudly. I could already smell the ingredients of this weeks chosen bakes. Warm chocolate; definitely the earthy, nutty aroma of peanuts; the sweetness of caramel; and a big hit of fresh mint. As much as I wanted to rip the wrapping straight off to reveal each beautiful bake, I managed to control myself and take the first initial photos (blog life taking over).
Food photography completed for now, it was time to unwrap the best present I have received since what feels like Christmas (I don’t know about you, but given how 2020 has gone, Christmas seems like a good five years ago, right?). It was a beautiful moment. If this was a movie, everyone would be crying tears of happiness into their popcorn. Each of the four bakes, perfectly cut into equal rectangular sizes, lay next to each other like the four left in the bed, but no one wanted to roll over, and thankfully, no one fell out (if you now have that nursery rhyme in your head, you’re welcome, and so do I).
I mean, come on, who wouldn’t be crying into their popcorn if this image was how the movie ended? Unfortunately, the inevitable arrived and I had to ruin this beautiful four bake landscape, and taste each one of them. Shame.
Mint Rocky Road
Vibrant green, bubbly nodules, surrounded by smooth milk chocolate, interlaced with crumbly pieces of tea dunking worthy biscuit, this rocky road stood out from the crowd. I couldn’t help but spot this bake first with its striking appearance. You eat first with your eyes, and my eyes had swallowed it whole.
The overriding smell was that of the bubbly mint chocolate, and that continued into the flavour. The mint chocolate was obviously light because of its bubble texture, and it was a perfect partner for the creamy, smooth milk chocolate and crunchy biscuit. The whole bake was much lighter than some of the rocky roads you can get, because of this genius chocolate choice, and also the amount of each ingredient. The bake crumbled slightly, without totally falling apart leaving you covered in crumbs and trying to discretely eat said crumbs off yourself without anyone noticing (never, ever waste food, not even the crumbs).
I am a big fan of mint as a flavour, and the next time my mouth needs freshening up, I will just order a tray of mint rocky road and bite into that rather than reach for the pot of chewing gum that hides in the cupboard.
The three C’s: chocolate, caramel and cookie. If three things were ever meant to find each other to create magnificent offspring, Bake & Brew were the proud parents. A buttery, chocolate chip, cookie foundation, crumbled into tiny taste bomb pieces (man I need to try their actual chocolate chip cookies). A golden middle layer of caramel, shining like Aladdin’s lamp, on top of the mountain of cookie coins (get ready for this Disney reference to continue). The caramel smooth and creamy but not sickly sweet (I still have my teeth just like Aladdin). Finally, the glorious milk chocolate topping added the bitter note to the bake which balanced the sweetness of the cookie and caramel layers, making this bake a cave of wonders (boom, Disney pun!).
And like all Disney films, it was a happy ending because I got to eat it.
White Chocolate Flapjack
By this point, I was wondering how this bake box could get any better. One word: flapjack. I love flapjack. It is one of the most comforting bakes out there, in my opinion (hope you agree), and this flapjack comforted me like my big, fluffy blanket (whilst lying on the sofa, under said blanket, eating said flapjack). The oat mixture, just holding itself together like a good flapjack should, melting in the mouth, was followed by a velvety wave of the distinctive taste of white chocolate. The flurry of white chocolate drizzled over the top of the melting oats, was just enough to take this flapjack to the next level.
Blanket, sofa and flapjack; what more could you want? (Maybe more flapjack, but that’s not the point).
Without trying to show favouritism (I totally am), this quarter of the bake box was the quarter I was one hundred percent most looking forward to tasting. The reason? I have, some might say, a very unhealthy relationship with anything peanut butter related. I once went through a kilo tub of the nutty stuff within two weeks (true story). So you can imagine the excitement of a snickers based slab of perfection, because lets face it, it was going to be epic. And epic it was.
Every bite consisted of every element, which you could taste and feel. The literal crunch against your teeth of the crisp flakes of cereal, and that satisfying crunch ringing in your ears like a food chorus. The slightly sticky caramel pulling on your premolars before doing what they were designed to do and crush the doughy texture of nougat pieces, along with the brittle peanuts, of this well known chocolate bar (totally had to Google that tooth fact). The milk chocolate, binding this magnificent peanut world together, ended what seemed like a marathon taste sensation (snickers pun was intended).
To quote Kirk on that glorious Friday evening: “I am so hot!”, as unusually, he was on the delivery that sunny evening, on top of already baking and wrapping everyone’s individual boxes they were excitedly waiting for. Talk about dedication. And that is what you get from Bake & Brew; a local, family run business, who have worked hard to get to where they are now and continually making their customers smile before, during and after their sweet adrenaline rush. What legends. And what a bake box.