Highlighting a bakery so soon after over-indulging last week may seem counterintuitive (hopefully not cruel) but Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Cafe is the perfect little cafe at any time of year. And there are plenty of savory items to quell your guilt before you succumb by diving into their magnificent French inspired treats.
Healthy eats with plenty of greens and fruit? Check. Organic and fair trade coffee? Check. Plenty of vegetarian choices among the soup, salad, tartine selections? Check. Once you’ve eaten a light meal here you’ll feel no remorse about moving on to sweets.
The only conflict you may have here is choosing between Pear Chocolate Tart with juicy fruit nestled beneath the highest quality Belgian chocolate and pastry cream atop densely flavored marzipan (WHEW!) or savoring the richest chocolate ambrosia in Pastry Chef Paul Osakwe’s Fallen Chocolate Souffle (recipe below).
Did I lapse into a momentary fixation on chocolate?
There is plenty more including puffed French donuts dusted in powdered sugar and piped full of cream, mixed fresh berry tarts (apple or pear during the winter) or an array of perfectly golden, flaky croissant, including peach filled, chocolate, or my most discerning friend R’s favorite, almond.
The space is simple, with light woods, plenty of hard surfaces (maybe too many) on unadorned tables, chairs and walls. There is nothing to distract you from making a beeline to the display cases, brimming with tempting treats of all sorts. Enjoy it all inside or on the simply set patio in pleasant weather.
Co-owner Robin Marvin was assembling salads in the back when she burst forth from the kitchen, all smiles, clearly jazzed to be working in her new cafe. Of the seven salads offered, I appreciated that five were meatless.
I opted for the Organic Fruit and Nut Salad, a bright composition of roasted walnuts, pecans, slivered strawberries and blackberries, sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese over organic greens and moistened by house made pear and gorgonzola vinaigrette. If you love your salads with plenty of texture and variety, you’ll be happy here.
Paul Osakwe, co-owner and pastry chef, opens up between 2-3 each morning and gets to work on baking the treasures I have ogled in the cases. He and Martin, both Wilton residents, opened Green Leaf in July and hit their stride quickly.
Osakwe knows the rigors of owning a bakery as he has owned and baked in three shops over the last few years. Robin hails from the Pacific Northwest where she honed her passion and discriminating palate for coffee. Be assured that it is organic, fair trade and brewed properly.
Osakwe and Marvin are shooting for 100 % organic ingredients and are proud to be at about 85% for now. They source as much as possible from Wilton’s farms and state that their most frequently used ingredients are already organic, including flour, milk, butter, sugar and eggs.
Breakfast is served until 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, so no need to rush the day along. We explored the savories first, enjoying a simple salad of mesclun greens topped with grilled wild salmon, roasted red peppers, dates and roasted sweet potatoes. All dressings are homemade and the garlic/tomato vinaigrette added the balance to the sweetness.
Tartine selections are lovely, with five of the ten being meat free. They tend to be simple, a wise move so the palate is not overwhelmed prior to the inevitable indulging in Green Leaf’s decadent desserts.
Favorites sandwiches were mozzarella and tomato and ahi tuna with caper mayo. All are served with a mound of greens and toothsome slices of whole grain bread.
I opted for the quiche, a pretty individual portion of creamy spinach, onion, tomato and red peppers nestled into a buttery golden crust. I imagine ordering these for a home brunch and building the menu around them.
There are plenty of other tempting items at Green Leaf and the kids are not left out. Cookies of various types and sizes, cupcakes, muffins and larger cakes ( I am now pining for Double Chocolate Dried Sour Cherry Cake with a strong cup of coffee), fruit and citrus pies are all available but call ahead if you are determined to find a particular item.
Expect new creations from this talented pastry chef and make it a habit to visit here often. On one of the days I dropped in, there were newly launched individual bundt cakes being offered for the first time. With toppings and fillings like dulce de leche, freshly whipped cream and raspberries, I don’t see why I would bake my own.
But just in case YOU would like to, Chef Paul Osakwe generously shared this recipe for Fallen Chocolate Souffle. Let me know what you think.
Recipe and this photo courtesy of Pastry Chef Paul Osakwe of Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Cafe, Wilton, CT.
- 1 cup organic belgian chocolate (Pistols 70% bitter)
- 1 cup organic pure cane sugar
- 7 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup butter
- extra butter for greasing the ramekins
- butter 5-7 individual ramekins with extra butter.
- Melt butter for souffle.
- Mix melted butter in with sugar.
- Melt butter until smooth.
- Fold in melted chocolate.
- Stir in eggs.
- Gently pour mixture into ramekins. Fill 3/4 full.
- Bake at 350 F for 15 min or until the tops have cracked and the souffle is at its highest point.
- Souffles will fall and settle within 5 minutes of removing from oven.