A Croissant in the Cold: Stowe, Vermont

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Pastries and Pizza Vermont
Vermont White Steeple

Here’s a puzzle for you: what does one do in a ski town if one cannot ski?

I’ve taken multiple surf lessons, I love to hike, and I’ll jump into any lake or ocean without a second thought, but winter sports?  Not exactly my scene.  What can I say?  I’m a summer girl.

Last Christmas, I had the privilege of spending a weekend in Stowe, Vermont with Kevin, my parents, and younger sister.  We had one full day of vacation, so Kevin woke up before the sun to hit the slopes with my sister while my parents spent the morning in church.  I was excited to tour the Ben and Jerry factory in the afternoon, but before lunch, I had a wide-open itinerary.  I wasn’t complaining, though.  Whenever I arrive in a new town or city, one of my favorite activities is to simply wander its downtown or, in Stowe’s case, its charming main street.

Stowe is a picturesque New England town in the most classical sense.  The top lodging options are charismatic inns from the 1800s, visitors can peruse the town’s general store or old-fashioned candy shoppe, and, of course, there’s a quiet white church with a towering steeple.  As I walked, a gentle snowfall slowly transformed the town into a real-life movie set.

However, have you ever noticed that no one seems to shiver in films unless the temperature is part of the plot?  Usually, it’s an excuse for the heroic male to heroically offer his varsity jacket to his female date.  Cliche, I know.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stroll around the heart of Stowe…until I stopped being able to feel my fingers.  No varsity jacket would have helped me, as I was already completely bundled up from head to toe.  I had it all, from snow boots to a heavy scarf to warm gloves.

Black Cap Coffee CafeGuys, it was freezing outside.  I didn’t want to stop meandering the picturesque, snow-covered streets, but my poor toes just couldn’t take the cold any longer.  I popped into Black Cap Coffee out of necessity, not hunger, but it turned out to be one the more memorable parts of my trip.

I absolutely adore bakeries.  Traveling can be exhausting, and sometimes, there’s no better feeling than devouring a tasty pastry in a cozy chair.  I’ve wandered into cafes in my hometown of Washington D.C., Paris, Vienna, and rural Germany.  It’s one of my travel staples, if you will.

From the outside, Black Cap Coffee Cafe looks small and unassuming; a passerby on the sidewalk might not even notice it.  Personally, I prefer these types of eateries, in part because locals tend to flock to them.  I’m not a Starbucks fan, and I certainly don’t like spending a lot of money on a meal.

I enjoy low-key eating – in fact, I deliberately seek it out.  So, Black Cap met my culinary criteria, but for my more immediate needs, it was heated.

Inside, the cafe was chaotic, and while the service was slightly on the slow side, I found the employees to be enthusiastic and friendly.  The technology is surprisingly up-to-date, given how old the rest town is.  Patrons swipe their plastic on an iPad card reader and have their receipt emailed to them – I haven’t even seen this service in D.C.

Now, the important part: what did I order, you ask?  Even though I don’t drink coffee, I have a soft spot for chocolate croissants.  And, I have standards.  But, you might be thinking, it’s only a chocolate croissant.  Can they ever be bad?  A good chocolate croissant only needs a warm, chocolate-filled center with a soft flaky crust.  Chocolate Croissant

Unfortunately, yes, I’ve had a bad croissant experience.  I once picked up a chocolate croissant from an Au Bon Pain and, after a few bites, cut my lip on small piece of glass hidden in the chocolate filling.  It turned out that a piece of equipment had been chipped at some point in the baking process.  So, that was less than desirable.

Luckily, my chocolate croissant at Black Cap was completely glass free, just the way I like it!  It was warm and the chocolate center was oh-so-gooey.  Since Black Cap is a local joint, prices are higher than you would pay at Dunkin’ Donuts, but I found them to be affordable.  My croissant was a little over two dollars, but it was quite large, and my water came at no extra charge.  I enjoyed my breakfast so much that I delayed our group’s departure the next morning just so I could dash over to Black Cap and pick up a few pastries for the road.

This is an unbiased review – I was not paid for this post, nor did I receive any form of compensation or free goodies.

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