Many questions befall the American student who considers attending graduate school abroad. What kind of cell phone plan should I get? Will my terrible American health insurance extend its terrible American coverage overseas? Most importantly, how far away from campus do I have to walk for a good bakery?
In my experience as a Trinity student over the last few months, those answers are: keeping my international data off and hopping between free wifi spots like a frog around potholes on the information superhighway, NOPE, and not far at all. Bread 41 on Pearse Street is a 5-minute walk from the center of campus, or a 10-second jog from the campus gym. In order to beat the lines that form at the snap of 8 AM for one of the city’s top organic bakeries, I recommend getting yourself to the gym first thing in the morning, exercising, then limping over to the little gray building under the rattling DART bridge.
It’s not the coziest interior, with all the metal and concrete, so I also recommend getting a pastry then sitting out by the Liffey or under a tree on campus to more peacefully contemplate the miracles of butter, sugar, and flour.
Here is what I’ve contemplated so far:
Cinnamon roll– The first thing I try at any bakery. A very good first impression, this cinnamon roll was the size of my face and lasted for a whole train ride from Dublin to Galway. The savory yeastiness of the dough perfectly grounded the white sugar icing, and the orange zest on top was a lovely citrus flourish.
Porridge bread– Porridge is the most important meal of the day. I wanted to study in Ireland in part because this country understands the importance of eating porridge literally every day, as I do for breakfast. If you’re looking to add more oatmeal for your diet, this thick, moist loaf of porridge bread is the perfect thing to toast for soup and sandwiches. It’s also great to chomp up a hunk of porridge bread with a bit of cheese after a night out.
Egg tart– Jiggly and delicate filling the color of pre-rain sunshine with a flaky crust.
Lemon tart– Jiggly and delicate filling the color of post-rain sunshine with a flaky crust.
(Both tarts are small enough to be gobbled in one bite, which is very satisfying if short-lived.)
Croissant– Okay, this one I got because I was late to the bakery so the more elaborate offerings had already sold out. It is the mark of a good bakery to produce a luscious plain croissant. No bells, whistles, or fancy jams to distract from the craft and ingredient quality here.
I intend to try everything on the Bread 41 menu by the end of term, so stay tuned for the next installment of Pastry Watch. My thesis is going fine, also.