One of the things I despaired of for many years living in Florida was the quality of the bread. It’s difficult to make good bread here; it rises too quickly and the humidity deos nothing to help the texture. I really wasn’t at all sure that it was even possible to make a really great loaf of bread, with just the right texture and a little bit of chew. Then I found the Uppercrust Bakery (which barely knows I exist and in no way paid me for this), which is right next door to the Fresh Market. One bite of a rosemary baguette, and I was in love! This is a real loaf of bread, carefully tended to so that the crust is crisp and the bread inside is tender, but elastic. There is no need to butter bread like this, although if you must, a little herbed olive oil for dipping could be used.
The bread is far from the only thing that’s worth going for. When I’m in the mood for a croissant, I could get about six of them from Publix, or one of them from Uppercrust. It might sound like a good deal to get the ones from Publix, but they will never quite fill the need for a good croissant. Uppercrust croissants have a shatteringly crisp exterior, and fantastically layered tender interior, rife with buttery goodness. Each bite is perfection, although, like any good croissant, very messy perfection. There is just no way to contain the crumbs. Although my favorite is a plain, butter croissant, the flavored ones are equally impressive.
These gorgeous French roses are very similar to croissants, with a buttery, flakey texture. I’m pretty sure the dough is the same for these as for the croissant, but they are shaped in the round and then filled and/or topped with either savory or sweet fillings such as spinach and feta (at right) or butter and almonds (above). It’s a little easier to eat these out of hand than it is a croissant, although it’s still pretty messy. The savory ones are a nice indulgent lunch alone, or you could add a nice salad to get a few veggies in. Just look at that perfection!
It isn’t just the bread products that are so good here, either. The scones and cookies and cakes and rolls are all delicious; in fact, I have never had anything I didn’t love from here. My oldest son dreams of their eclairs, while my youngest daughter would eat their buttery cookies all day long. I always have a hard time choosing what I want, so I usually get as many people to go with me as possible so I can have lots of tastes. And I usually get a cup of their coffee as well. They serve it in disposable cups, because there really isn’t a place to sit, but it tastes like it should be served in white porcelain cups and savored slowly.
The bakery is not all there is to this little store, either. Wines, coffees and teas line the shelves beside and behind the bakery section, with a nice selection of fine cheeses as well. Despite its location in a shopping center, this store has charisma.