Nabolom Bakery's rum/schnapp's soaked fruitcake and other holiday treats
Two years after reading this article about Nabolom's fruitcake, I finally picked one up today.
The fruit (mainly raisins with a little pineapple and dates I think) are soaked for three months in the alcohol. There's some nice slivered almonds and good pecans. It is a dense, sweet and slightly sticky dark fruitcake that is very good. Surprisingly the alcohol doesn't domniate the flavor. Well worth the $12 for the small loaf-sized fruitcake.
They also have an excellent challah that has a nice dense texture. The crust is soft as most Bay Area challahs, but I like it a lot. Maybe a notch behind Irvings with a close tie to Sweet Adeline's challah.
Nabolom will have their holiday list of other baked goods available tommorrow.
For me though, Cheeseboard remains my favorite fruitcake because I like the in-your-face booziness of it and the selection of dried fruits like dried apricots. However in a past post someone had the revese opinion ....
"In the last thread someone mentioned Cheeseboard in Berkeley. While I've had that one and enjoyed it, it doesn't compare to the rich, moist (no joke), liquor-soaked one made by the fine folks at Nabolom Bakery ... One year, before I was heading home, I got one just as it came out of the oven ... all warm and sticky, with an enchanting smell... it nearly didn't make the journey! Thanks for reminding me. I need to go there and get my fix before they're all gone!"
The are both fine fruitcakes and IMO neither will disappoint and both are delicious.
Has anyone tried Sweet Adeline's fruitcake? They had very pretty wrapped cakes but for fruitcake that was about the size of a Schmidtt truffle it was six bucks.
PIcked up a copy of Hopkins Bakery holiday treats. Has anyone tried the Weihnacht's stollen? $19.50.
They also have
- Buche de Noel - chocolate genoise, grande Marnier, chocolate orange mousse, butterscotch, chocolate bark ($42/$32)
- Desire de Roi (King's cake) - chocolate genoise, framboise, fresh raspberries, chocolate ($35/$23)
- Boule de Neige (Snowball) - chocolate fudge cake, raspberry mousse, chocolate chips, Amaretto crunch, kirsh, chantilly cream ($35/$23)
- Eggnog cheesecake ($32)
- English Eccles cake - raisins, currants and spices
Here's a link to a previous post about Christmas desserts from a few years ago. I highly recommend Masse's mini Buche de Noel ... amazingly enough ... especially the lemon buche.
The cinnamon twist is good, if maybe a bit too sugary. I haven't tried the danish b/c they never looked like they've been baked long enough, IMO. They are very pale in color. Their whole wheat (or maybe it was multigrain) bread was very good with just the slightest hint of sweetness, from honey or molasses. I've tried their eclairs, which are good, but not great b/c they're a little on the heavy side and also too big (even the small ones).
Really, my favorite things about Nabolom are the free wi-fi and their cold-brewed coffee... all the rich coffee flavor w/o any of the bitterness or astringency. I live right around the corner from Nabolom and do my laundry across the street from them every week, so I really wish they were better. However, I am happy to have a green business nearby that serves some decent items. I will always go back b/c its convenient, but not necessarily b/c I think they're the best.
The danish are worth a try. And they don't need to be super dark, as the pastry texture is soft and bread-like. They are not a crisp on the outside pastry. They are, however, very tasty...buttery and rich, with a nice cheese filling. I tend to like the cherry, because I think its mild tartness contrasts nicely with the richness of the cheese, but I've enjoyed all of them. There's nothing posh or fastidious about Nabolom. I've always thought of them as a hippie bakery without the annoying commitment to whole grains and fear of white refined sugar. And that's a compliment.
I need to emphasize that I'm not talking about "dark", just lightly browned.
golden brown = caramelization = flavor
Most baked goods are great right out of the oven. I don't doubt that their danish are good, just that they'd be so much better in both flavor and visual appearance if they had a hint of color to them. Every time I've gone there, the danish were so pale that they looked like uncooked dough, which has zero appeal to me.
Yeah, the eclairs didn't look the least appealing to me ... just way too big and out of proportion. Ditto on the muffins which had that healthy look.
The challah just passed my last test of what I like in challah ... it toasts well. Some challahs have an unpleasant ... eggy ... for lack of a better word ... taste which I don't like. It doesn't slice as well as Irvings and I think I like Sweet Adeline's a little better, but right now this is at the top of my list at number three.
I always forget the link
As long as I'm here, a few past reports about Nabolom
Nabalom Bakery--awesome Danish
fabulous tollhouse cookie at nabolom
"Nabolom in Elmwood (Russell at College) has very good cookies (big ones, too). Peanut butter are delicious (and come in a chocolate-dipped version, too); chocolatines are chocolatey and chewy; shortbread, chocolate chip, and oatmeal chocolate chip are all tasty, too."
"Nabolom is fantastic. Their morning buns and cinnamom twists are buttery and rich. They also make the greatest cheese danishes I have ever had."
"I believe a half-sheet of the chocolate sheet cake at Nabolom might fit the bill. We've gotten full sheets for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs (for 80-90), and everyone thought they were great. Not too sweet, dense, good chocolate flavor."
" Nabolom Bakery (Russell at College) for their chocolate chip cookies and blackberry danishes (other good stuff, too)."
"Their apricot danish is one of my all-time favorite dessert pastries."
"Go to Nabolom Bakery on Russell just above College Ave. Try the Cinnamon Twists and the Custard Danish YUMMMMMM!"
" I am always talking up Nabalom and their Danish, which is my very favorite anywhere."
Looking elsewhere on the web, there are positive mentions of Nabolom's croissants, cheese bread (the recipe from the departed Say Cheese), and cinnamon twists (especially when warm).
They have marked-down day-old baked goods, but didn't notice the prices since I was focused on the fruitcake. They also have vegan, sugar-free and wheat-free baked goods. The coffee is fair-trade.
I've read there is sometimes live music ... there's a piano. Wireless is available. The guy who waited on me was very friendly and helpful.
Nabolom, a worker-owned coopertive, is a green business that composts 90 percent of their solid waste and recycles most of the rest.
2708 Russell St, Berkeley, CA 94705
What you can count on at Nabolom is inconsistency. Some collective members bake those cinnamon twists to a deep molasses crunch, others get them barely golden. Others burn them. Usually it's our favorite challah around, always crookedly braided in a charming way. At Rosh Hashana time they had three-pound challahs that were quite the conversation piece.
Saturdays is an ongoing jam session of old-time music enthusiasts. They don't necessarily leave enough room for many watchers to snag comfortable seats, but it's even fun to stand outside and listen.
Inconsistency is putting it mildly. As much as I love the idea of a co-op bakery a block and a half from my front door, it would be much nicer if it had tasty baked goods. I finally thought I had found the right item there (in the cinnamon twist) to eat whilst doing laundry, but the other day found me chewing on what must have been something that fell off the day-old tray. I love the ethos, but the yumos has to be right up there with it.