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Berkeley: La Bedaine - Reasonably-priced French pastries, house-made smoked sausages, pates and French dinners to go

The bottom shelf of the glass bakery case holds house-made sausages, mason jars of onion soup and ready-to-go French dinners such as chicken chasseur, coq au vin and halibut in a white sauce. The next shelf holds pates and on the top were quiche and chocolate-dipped loaves of brioche.

On the counter there were baskets of croissants, brioche and a plate of puff pastry filled with oxtail in a mornay sauce.

Everything is made in-house. The pates, sausages and diners are cryo-vacked. The dinners will last two weeks in the fridge. It is a terrific meal to keep in the fridge for a busy day. Boil a pot of water, drop the meal in for 10 minutes, open package, put on plate, eat.

I tried the chicken chausser in a nice mushroom sauce with a whole small white potato, two whole carrots and some slivered haricot vert. There was a thigh and piece of breast. I thought it was as good as anything from Rendez-vous down the street and worth the $8.50.

I didn't eat the plump pork sausage yet, but unwrapped them and they have a wonderful smokey aroma. Two sausages were $4. The mason jar of onion soup was $4.

I had a croissant ($1.50). It was tasty but not the crunchy, super buttery version. It was smaller and more bready. It reminded me of some I was served in breakfast baskets in France.

La Bedaine
1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

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  1. Here's a link to a previous inquiry post with the wrong city. I always get that border of Albany/Berkeley wrong.

    Albany: La Bedaine Cuisine de l'atelier?

    La Bedaine
    1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      The businesses are in Berkeley on that side of the street (and a few blocks up/down) but the street and possibly part of the sidewalk is in Albany. I took a quick peek but didn't walk inside today.

      1. re: lmnopm

        That border is weird--from Tulare to the middle of the block between Curtis and Nielson, the north side of the street is Berkeley, the south is Albany.

    2. Oh my, oh my, oh my ...

      I just had a smoked pork sausage for breakfast and it is beyong amazing. It is succualant, smokey, pure goodness.It is a medium-fine grind with a snappy casing. So good, so good.

      Even better, the house just smelled ... delicious ... while it was sauteeing.

      IMO, one of the best sausages in the Bay Area. So much better than the fancy artisan new sausage makers and right up there with the best of the old-timers ... maybe beyond. Extremely rich so limit yourself to one at a sitting. Gee this would be so good with pancakes and maple syrup.

      My chowbells were ringing so loudly the bell fell out of the belltower. Great, great, great.

      Um, I guess that would indicate I liked it.

      7 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Now you tell me. I picked the wild boar terrine over the sausage. I haven't tried it yet.

        1. re: rworange

          Agreed. That is a really good and flavorful sausage. I also liked the two terrines I got to sample (pork and wild boar) but when someone walked in behind me and declared the smoked sausage the best she's ever had, I knew that's what I had to get.

          I couldn't limit myself to one. I didn't think it was too rich, but I would have a hard time polishing off one of those big chocolate-dipped bread loaves after that.....

          Can't remember who was in that location before....?

          1. re: Agent 510

            Lola's and we lost her. Let's not let it happen again.

            1. re: Agent 510

              dang...those pork sausages must've went fast cause I didn't see any when I got there at 11:30am.

              1. re: Agent 510

                Three of us like those sausages, you, me and that woman who tipped you off about them in the shop. Honestly my one sausage filled me up for the afternoon.

                I stopped by again this afternoon and picked up the smoked halibut dinner, onion soup and a chocolate tart ($2)

                That man knows how to smoke food. The texture of that halibut was exquisite. Anyone with a passion for smoked whitefish will drop to their knees in reverence for this. I'm going to have to ask him if he will just sell a piece of the fish as this would be really swell for the whitefish course of Christmas Eve dinner. At any rate the smoked salmon moves to the top of my list of next thing to try.

                There's a large piece of butter in the dinner. There are also the two carrots and white potato. Looking at the sauce, I thought it broke. It turns out it was small kernels of white corn. With a Semi-freddi baguette and a glass of pink bubbly I picked up at Berkeley Bowl ... good meal ... good meal. I dare not sully this thread with the name of that sparkler but it was actually quite good.

                The onion soup was nice. It is not loaded with only slices but there are enough. Add your own croutons and cheese.

                The tart was lovely. The thin crisp crust was filled with a fudgy filling and nicely topped with a whole hazelnut.

                There were these beautiful puff pastries filled with eggplant cavier and goat cheese. They looked like little jewel boxes. There was also a plate of Croque Monseur.

                1. re: rworange

                  Fourth on the smoked sausages.

                  Not much to add, but wow...just wow. My wife and I had them for breakfast today with some Acme pain de mie French toast. Can't really imagine a much better breakfast than that.

              2. re: rworange

                Still wonderful! Got the duck rillette, jambon persille, sausage (last ones), choc tart and apple tart. Also got the Acme baguette to save a trip... all fabulous! Too fabulous actually, I'm kinda addicted and it's quite a drive. Nice place, nice people, great offerings.

              3. I’m munching on a sandwich with pork terrine, baby lettuce, tomato and cornichon, on a hunk of Acme rustic baguette. Way good, and only $6!

                La Bedaine
                1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

                1. I was chatting with the chef today after I saw "Le Charm" embroidered on his jacket, and in fact he used to be chef at Le Charm in the city. So now I need to try everything he makes out of duck, because LC has some of the best duck dishes around. Forgot to ask whether the excellent tart tatin will make its way over here, and I guess the pommes dauphine (no longer on the LC menu) aren't really workable as take-out/reheat.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ernie in berkeley

                    There was a tarte tatin on the counter Thursday.

                    1. re: ernie in berkeley

                      ernie, here's a photo of the tarte tatin I took two months ago.

                      And, of course, I bought a piece. There's very little added sugar, as you can see the color is on the light side with a minimum of caramel. The chef said that he prefers to use Golden Delicious apples to make this because they have higher natural pectin to hold their shape well and higher natural sweetness.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong


                        I tried their duck liver terrine most recently, and as expected it's utterly delightful.

                    2. What a great little place. I love that their selection is really just limited to that one display case, at least for now, but everything inside looks pretty interesting and/or amazing. It seems like they have different things on offer over the course of the day (and week?), at least as far as pastries and sandwiches go.

                      We sampled the wild boar terrine and some fantastic pork rillettes. We ended up getting the rillettes ($4), which seemed, based on the one bite I had, less salty than, and at least as good as, Fatted Calf's--at a significantly lower price.

                      The person ahead of me snagged the last two chocolate tarts, so I had to console myself with a croissant ($1.50) and a small brioche loaf ($1)--both were great a few hours later with some homemade jam we had in the fridge. Thankfully this place isn't right down the street from me; otherwise, I'd be fattening up on croissants, etc. darn near every day.

                      We also picked up some pork sausages (tomorrow morning's breakfast) and two of the packaged dinners--the smoked halibut ($8.50) and the cassoulet ($10). Looking forward to trying those.

                      Very friendly and helpful people too...

                      Fatted Calf
                      644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: abstractpoet

                        What do you call a place like this, anyway....a charcuterie?

                        1. re: Agent 510

                          In France, a place with a wide variety of prepared food to go is a traiteur.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            According to the window cuisine de l'atelier (workshop).

                            It's not really a wide variety of dishes though. 4-6 prepared dinners, a half dozen pates, sausages, confit, soup. croissants, brioche, 2-3 sandwiches, quiche and rotating tarts and such.

                            He never has a lot of anything. When he puts out tarts it is 4 at a time. I have yet to see more than two sandwiches at any one time and at most 4 quiche. He seems to replenish things as they run out and is always cooking. It is not like anything is made way in advance and he is restocking. It is cooking to order more or less

                            I've stopped by various times of the day to see if the case was ever full or there were trays of baked goods. It is week one, so who knows how this will evolve.

                            1. re: rworange

                              Thanks rworange, I was trying to remember the French word I actually saw on the window. I guess we just call it "promising" and head back to try the other stuff.

                      2. Went for an afternoon snack with a few friends and tried several things: mini-quiche Lorraine, rabbit terrine sandwich, croque monseur and the accompanying salad, smoked salmon, brioche, pork rillettes. Everything was excellent.

                        The prices seem too low. I presume he'll raise them a bit.

                        La Bedaine
                        1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          So would you consider this a traiteur?

                          1. re: rworange

                            If it were in France, that's probably what the sign would say. Or traiteur-patisserie. The selection is more limited than they'd usually have there, but that may be partly a function of the place being new.

                            Whatever you call it, the place is a great addition to the local scene.

                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Is this place takeout only, or can you dine in?

                            1. re: Cindy

                              Takeout only (same as when it was Lola and Pizza Rustica). There are two small benches outside.

                          3. We had the vacuum-sealed smoked halibut and cassoulet meals for dinner last night, both very good. The cassoulet, in particular, was quite hearty, with generous pieces of beef, sausage, and another unidentified meat that I thought was lamb shank but my wife thought was smoked duck leg--in any case, that last meat was definitely the tastiest of the bunch. The fish in the smoked halibut dinner was cooked to perfection. Both dinners heated up beautifully, as rworange described--boiled a big pot of water, turned off the flame, stuck both dinners in and put the lid on. Ten minutes later, a meal that tasted pretty close to home-cooked was ready.

                            I haven't seen too many cryovacked prepared meals like this being sold, but it seems like there could be a good market for them. You'd be hard-pressed to do much better, takeout-wise.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: abstractpoet

                              The cassoulet probably had some duck leg confit in it.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Might have been. It was a generous portion of it, too, if that's what it was.

                            2. I used a couple of the smoked sausages last night in a sort of polenta lasagna. Wow. They were the smokiest I've ever had except for some that a friend hand-carries back from Louisiana. Massive flavor for such a small quantity.

                              I think this place has an advantage over its predecessor since it has a draw for people like me who rarely or never buy prepared foods. Lola's sounded great for people who don't cook, but everything they had was stuff we make at home.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                I won't get into the chicken, quiche, pizzas or take-home dishes, but Lola's leaves a void for quality flat-out American baked goods that really hasn't been touched since the early days of Just Desserts.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  Lola's baked goods sounded like what we make at home, too.

                                  Just Desserts' gimmick in the early days (I lived around the corner when they opened their first store on Church St.) was to make cookies, cakes, pies, and so on that were exactly like those of a good home baker. I guess they found there was more money in making more bakery-style cakes for the national wholesale market.

                                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Could you please post your recipe for those ethereal coconut macaroons on the home cooking board.

                                3. Anyone know if the phone number listed on the Restaurants/Places page is correct? I keep getting the not-in-service beep. And, incidentally, does anyone know if they'll hold stuff for you if you call ahead and ask? I would imagine so, right?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: abstractpoet

                                    I would imagine so. I was there for the first time yesterday and she was quite kind and accommodating. We had the boar terrine, which was tasty and nicely not too salty. We then had the veal and duck a'la'orange. Both were somewhat undersalted which is fine for my taste, and you can always add salt. Portion size was modest, but sufficient. The heating instructions left the food not quite hot enough. I'll be back sooner rather than later.

                                    1. re: abstractpoet

                                      The place site number has been edited to the correct number in case you check here first.
                                      510 559-8201

                                    2. We had the pumpkin tart. It was excellent. Tasted like there was bacon in the pumpkin. The crust was perfect.

                                      We also had the apple custard tart. It was also fantastic. Crust perfect. Excellent.

                                      Pecan pie tart. Excellent. Real maple syrup. A real rarety these days.

                                      Finally, we had the chicken chausseur. It was excellent as well. The chicken fell off the bone. It was tender and juicy. The sauce was good without being salty. The potatoes, carrots and green beans were soft.

                                      This place is getting off to a real good start!

                                      Just hope he doesn't raise his prices because they are so reasonable right now.

                                      1. The smoky sausages where the backbone of my turkey stuffing, which was a total hit. Sauted with onions and fennel, tossed with italian parsley and golden raisins, mixed with bread cubes, moistened with plenty of turkey stock and butter. It came out great. Mostly thanks to the sausages.

                                        And for starters I served the wild board terrine along with an assortment of cheeses two versions of onion confit and some pickled beets. The terrine was not as amazing as the sausage, but it was a hit that worked well with everything else.

                                        1. The beef cheek stew I got this week has been the best of the prepared dinners I've bought so far--really tender meat, with a velvety savory sauce. Braised duck was somewhat less successful--a bit on the tough/dry side.

                                          A $3 lemon tart here was better than the $6 one I bought from Chocolatier Blue a few weeks back (albeit maybe a touch smaller).

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: abstractpoet

                                            I was looking at the beef cheeks today. They also had some sort of tripe dish. How was the cassoulet?

                                            He seems to be making apple turnovers and raisin rolls. I was there just to pick up a croissant ... sold out ... when I spotted the wonderful $12 yule log

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              The cassoulet was great, especially a mystery meat which we eventually concluded was probably duck confit. Very hearty and generous portion and well worth the $10. I was eying the tripe a couple weeks ago too, but they didn't have it the day I was in the store this past week.

                                              Whatever the pastries they have with the caramelized sugar on the outside (it has some French name I can never recall)...usually selling for like $1.50 or $2--those are amazing. This week they had some with an apple filling.

                                              1. re: abstractpoet

                                                Went back yesterday ... my husband has been particulariily helpful this week and I wanted to get him some croissants as he loves all things croissant ... the good, the bad , the ugly ... so I wanted some that were very good as a treat.

                                                Anyway, there were some small croquembouche on the counter for $8. Only three levels and maybe 7 or 8 profiteroles. I think this is really cool as you don't have to commit to a huge one if you've never had this before. Even if buying a larger version,this is a good size to do a test run to see how it is. I didn't buy it because I still had the yule log at home. Maybe for Christmas.

                                                He also mentioned that in January they will have galette des rois (king's cake)

                                                This shop is such a delight. Every time I visit there is something new. I finally tried one of the sandwiches ... wild boar ... and it was so nice with crunchy radishes and pickles in addition to lettuce and tomato. I couldn't help but think I was getting this at about the same price as a Subway sandwich ... and you won't get wild boar at subway ... at least one hopes not.

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  For $1.50 there were wonderful individual croquembouche ... two profiteroles surrounded by crackly carmelized spun sugar.

                                                  The sandwiches included crab salad which really, really tempted me but I was there to finally try the quiche. It was top-notch as everthing else there. What struck me was the deeply eggy taste. It is in a very nice tart shell.

                                                  There were some bagged cookies. One of the dinners today way leg of lamb. In addition to the onion soup there were jars of lobster bisque.

                                                  I wasn't going home for a while so I had to pass on some of this. I did pick up a beautiful green jambon persillé ($4). I'm going to serve it for Christmas because it looks so festive. It is prettier than this picture

                                                  According to this website "In Burgundy, starting as south as Macon in the Saone et Loire, and moving up into the Cote d'Or and the Yonne, one appetizer that you are likely to see ... is called jambon persillé, a local parsley seasoned ham terrine. It is a specialty of the region, and it can be quite good, being an emblem of the simpler things offered there ... Don't pass it by if you see it, it is sold by weight and you can buy a very thin slice. It's worth a taste, perhaps a makeshift sandwich with pickles and hearty bread"

                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                    Croquembouche--yeah, those must be the ones!


                                                    I've had the one you describe, where it's two pastries (like cream puffs) connected together, and then I had another that was just one pastry with an apple filling and that same crackly caramelized coating. Both kinds were, as you say, $1.50, and both were fantastic.

                                          2. Additional comments from the GO thread about the cold smoked salmon with a couple of thumbs up.

                                            1. this thread has had me wishing i had a car. for new year's eve, i directed a friend of mine who lives in the east bay to la bedaine for treats. he was more than willing, as he is french with a weakness for rillettes. our snack that night was wild boar terrine, and duck and pork rillettes. all three were delicious. i finished off the last scraps of the three from their plastic bags tonight while at work. i think i preferred the boar terrine first, then the duck and finally the pork rillettes. simply a matter of preference, i have nothing negative to say about any of them. i will have to hijack my friends with vehicles to sample these smoked sausages, and everything else that you all have promoted here.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: augustiner

                                                It's about a half-hour walk or five-minute bike ride from the North Berkeley BART station.

                                                1. re: augustiner

                                                  The 18 bus runs along Shattuck and The Alameda and then down Solano.

                                                2. I tried their pissaladiere-type pastry last week - large round of puff pastry covered with lots of deeply caramelized onions and sprinkled with anchovies and olives. Incredibly tasty. Possibly addictive. $4.

                                                  1. I stopped in for my first visit on the 31st and had a hard time deciding which treats to take home. Packs of celery root remoulade, baskets of brioches - all looked great. Finally settled on wild boar terrine with pistachios (delicious) duck terrine (good coarse black pepper) and the best tarte Tatin. The apples were plump with dark brown caramelized tops, just like I would do them at home, only I didn't have to.

                                                    Useful scheduling point: I asked about croquenbouche, and he told me that he makes them and napoleons later in the afternoon.

                                                    Everything I tried was delicious, showed real attention, and prices are so reasonable. This spot is worth a detour.

                                                    1. They were doing "creme brulee" ($3.00) a couple of days ago--a new experiment, apparently. To make it convenient for takeout, it's served as a tart rather than in a ramekin, and it doesn't really have the crackly sugar top. Anyway, they were doing it with a slice of mandarin orange on top the day I was there. Very good!

                                                      1. I've tried all the cookies (except meringues) and all are very good, but the financiers are the standouts and the best I've had in the Bay Area. They are very rich, buttery and have beautiful orange acceents. Nice madelines, sales and the cookie with nuts. No losers here.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                          But inconsistent portion sizes in some of the entrees to go, wouldn't you say? On more than one occasion we've gotten chicken pieces so small they would barely have qualified for appetizers. We had eaten them before and they had been bigger so we thought they would always be that way. They were so small we were still hungry after.

                                                        2. Yesterday the lovely woman at the counter told me that he will begin free pastry classes in February. From the email:

                                                          We will be offering classes the first and third Sundays of every month, starting in February. The class will start at 2pm, and last approximately 1 hour. Please note that the class is primarily a demonstration, and each class will be limited to 8 people.

                                                          The first topic will be puff pastry. Please feel free to call us or respond to this e-mail to reserve a spot for one of these dates:

                                                          February 21
                                                          March 7
                                                          March 21


                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Kayde

                                                            They had a class in January. The problem it has a potential to syphon off a little business. The class was waiting for something to bake and congretated in the front of the store. About four of five couples looked in and kept on going. Looked like a fun class though.

                                                          2. We tried a few things from here in a recent trip. It reminded us of the little traiteurs in France, so my kids were excited about it. We didn't try any of the baked goods, but when we were there they were very rustic looking. Do go expecting the prettiness of a pattisserie, but i can't speak to taste. They had some fruit tarts, quiches, brioche and a few other things I can't recall.

                                                            My son got the croque monsieur which my husband declared good (but we are not croque experts). My husband very much enjoyed the salad that went along. We got the wild boar terrine, which included pistachios and blueberries. very good - my 8 year old devoured it. i would have preferred the liver pate, but i am the only one in my family who likes strong pates. we also tried the tripe. Nicely cleaned and cooked - tender with a bit of chew, no funky off flavor. The broth was rather neutral - included some carrots and potatoes, not very salty, but i would rather not enough salt than too much. I can add it if needed. We added some truffle tapenade we picked up in France, and that brought it over the top. Interesting reactions to my kids first tripe exposure that wasn't revolting (we tried a poorly cleaned menudo) - one son was determined to like it, but obviously was a bit dubious. The other son spit it out with the texture. Baby loved it. My husband won't touch offal. We also tried the lobster bisque - thin consistency, strong lobster flavor. More like a broth than a creamy bisque some folks would think of. Son ate it as a soup with bread, I ate the little he left with leftover roasted celeriac and sweet potato added.

                                                            Finally my sausage fans in the house (husband and kids) loved the smoked pork sausage - nice savory flavor.

                                                            Fun find. If i lived closer I would definitely stop by.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: jsaimd

                                                              First time here last night.

                                                              I had read an earlier thread where someone who had never eaten there had expressed a good deal of skepticism about how such quality could be delivered at such low prices. There appeared to be much consternation among other hounds. I had to see what the fuss was about:

                                                              The place is terrific, and as for the price to quality ratio, I think the prices are on par with other high end french bakeries...or at least the few that I know like Tartine and the La Boulange chain here in the city. -A true addition to the Solano 'hood.

                                                            2. Over the past 3 weeks, I have tried the Veal Blanquette, Coq au Vin, Canard a l'orange, Lapin a la moutarde, Boeuf bourgignon, and the rabbit terrine. Everything has been, overall, FANTASTIC, though I found the interior of the veal a bit overdone. I have cassoulet and filet mignon in my fridge waiting for me.

                                                              All the packages are now labeled with ingredients and an eat-by date, and the instructions are printed on cute yellow cards. Non-stew/saucy meals are now also available (filet mignon and a salmon dish) -- those must be eaten w/in 1 week.

                                                              I cannot express the joy I feel when I can get home, tired and late, open a bottle of wine, make a salad, boil a couple of potatoes and one of these meals, and split a glorious, hot, delicious French meal with my husband.

                                                              1. Everytime I go to La Bedaine I'm in awe at how good the food is and how reasonable the prices are. Today I had some of the smoked salmon and goat cheese sandwich, the portabello mushroom sandwich, the ham and cheese quiche, and the chocolate crossiant (I did not eat all of that myself. The sandwiches were each under $7, and were both fantastic, the quiche was I think $4.50, and the chocolate croissant was $2, and they were all delicious and of high quality ingredients. The chocolate croissant especially was full of really good chocolate. If I lived on that side of Berkeley, I would be at this place way too often.

                                                                La Bedaine
                                                                1585 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94706

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                  Lately I've been especially enamored of the orange tea cake. Only $4 for a fragrant, surprisingly moist pound cake-sized loaf, which can feed as many as 6 dainty dessert eaters (or two or three really greedy ones).

                                                                2. Personally I love the little meringue with chocolate ganache sandwich cookies. Blows my mind at only $0.75 ea.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: nicedragonboy

                                                                    You mean French macarons? What flavor(s) does he do?

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      That's the thing Ruth, they aren't Macarons. Thought it's not a totally off comparison. They are definitely different from any macaron I've ever had. The "cookies" being made of meringue and the filling being a smooth, rich, but not overly sweet chocolate ganache.

                                                                      1. re: nicedragonboy

                                                                        Macarons are made of meringue. You mean the meringue is just plain egg white rather than with powdered almonds?

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          They are like a meringue sandwich with a chocolate filling.

                                                                            1. re: lmnopm

                                                                              You mean they're plain meringues, just egg white and sugar, no almond powder?

                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                I finally went there a few days ago, after I discovered a convenient way from Berkeley Hort., and like everyone has said, outstanding products. I lived in France for a year, eons ago, and it disturbs me greatly that my husband thinks the pain of chocolat from Acme is good...anyways, so I bought him two from this place, a chausson, chocolate chip cookies, a pork rilletes sandwich for him and the portobello sandwich for me. I ate my mine on the car ride home :-) As I don't eat mammals, I guess I will focus in on trying all of the pastries. What a nice feeling to see the gorgeous display case, and the chefs working right in view. My husband now can't wait for me to take him there. He loved those chocolate chip cookies (with walnut pieces).

                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                  Yes. I was curious so I went in and bought some today. They're like regular meringues piped with a star tip sandwiched around ganache.