The long awaited follow up article to our successful food+coffee pairing with Companion Bakeshop. This article is focused on savory pastries; ones that are not sweet but buttery, salty, hearty, among other things. Again, we are pairing these delicious goods with a cappuccino and coffee to see what kinds of wonderful flavor combinations we can find. Companion makes some of the best baked items in the Monterrey Bay area, so there was no better place to sit down, enjoy a coffee, and set to work eating delicious food for this article. Enjoy.
The Daily Quiche/Fritada: While the creamy texture of the cap mixed very well with the fluffy texture of the eggs, the combination of espresso and vegetables was truly outstanding. The espresso actually seemed to enhance the flavors and underscored the nuances of the kale, for instance. I think what was most striking was the way it also brought out the spices in the dish, especially the fennel seeds. By contrast, the coffee actually detracted from the flavors of the quiche; it masked most of the subtitles with intensity while adding nothing to the texture. It’s only real advantage was that it toned down the buttery crust. Winner: Cap.
“Salty Pig” Cheddar Bacon Biscuit: This was our only real toss up, both drinks did equally well. The buttery-ness of the buscuit combined with the coffee’s astringency was wonderful since it cut down the heft of the dough while accentuating the savory elements, especially the the bacon. The cap added an unexpected sweetness and a delightful thick body. Though potentially overwhelming, it was actually quite pleasant in small portions. Winner: Both.
Bread Pudding: As delicious as savory bread pudding can be, this was a no-brainer for the food pairing. The coffee mellowed out the cheese and cream that oozes out of this delicious treat, thus making it relatively mild. The cap was far too rich to be paired well with just bread pudding alone…unless you like an oversaturation of dairy. Winner: Coffee
Bread (rye): By far, the bread combination was the biggest surprise and delight of the day. Not only did it offer the most dynamic flavor combinations, it also felt the most “organic” pairing in some senses. Companion’s Rye is incredible and no doubt one of the best loaves you will get from a bakery in Santa Cruz. It is a hearty, solid, “go-to” selection. The Carroway seeds and cap milk was satisfying and mellow. The milk sits well with the heavy body and texture of the bread. I could see myself comfortably eating a few slices with a little butter and a cap every day. The coffee, on the other hand, diverged from “safe” and amazed us with complexity. The flavors from the Carroway and other seasonings were pleasantly accentuated. There was an incredible tapering zest after-flavor that literally lingered on the back of your tongue with each sip of coffee. Winner: Both
Granola: This was just a small sampling of the granola itself, not a full bowl with any garnish or added dairy. This too was relatively straightforward. Of course, the cap won us over since the milk complimented the granonla. That little extra was essential. The black coffee drowned out the sweet flavor of the granola, becoming coffee with a texture. Winner: Cap.
Overall, we concluded that the sweet flavor of the cap paired well with everything. It added some elements that enhanced savory characteristics.
While some combinations could be considered mediocre, the cap never detracted from the food. The coffee had the biggest range in flavors. We found that the coffee had some very intriguing combinations, the Rye+coffee pairing was definitely my favorite overall. However, the coffee also hindered the flavors of some of the more mellow items on the list. So, while coffee+savory item can be a more intriguing pairing, the cap won out overall as the more reliable option. Enjoy, happy eating.