This morning, I woke up feeling excited. Forswearing an early breakfast, I saved my appetite for something much more special than my normal fare. Today was the day to go on a field trip to one of the best hidden gems in all of Boston’s North Shore: A&J King Bakery.
Down a little side street in Salem, MA sits a culinary gallery of bread and pastry that is A&J King. Inside there is always a steady ebb and flow of customers buying sticky buns, salted caramel cashew tarts, sour cream coffee cake, and coconut almond macaroons. Maybe some of the customers are planning ahead for lunch or dinner, and checking out the ham and cheese croissants or some asiago chili bread.
I was saving my appetite for the sticky buns. (You know, it’s really hard to have to sample sticky buns. I just hate it. 🙂 )
The very friendly manager, Jess, allowed me to take pictures and talked with me about their commitment to quality, simplicity, and baking from scratch.
Everything here is painstakingly made by hand. Their adherence to these principles is easy to taste in everything they make. The bakery is also filled with artwork, both of the bread variety and on the walls in the form of photographs and chalk drawings.
Best of all, you can now take some of the beauty and mystery of A&J King-style baking home with you. They just came out with their first book! I’ve had a quick peek into the book, and I can already see that it is an excellent reference for anyone wanting to learn to make bread by hand, and to do it well.
After such a pleasant visit filled with good service and great food, I left loving the bakery more than ever. Of course I didn’t leave empty-handed. The sticky bun was long gone, but I brought home some asiago chili bread, my server’s favorite, and some anadama for tomorrow’s dinner. If you’re in the area, check out A&J King, and even if you aren’t near Boston’s North Shore, you can still have some quality bakery goodness in your life thanks to the book. How’s that for options?
A&J King Artisan Bakers, 48 Central Street, Salem, MA 01970
Monday-Friday: 7am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday: 7am-4pm