Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Sydney Bogg Chocolate

Posted on Wed, Sep 18, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Sydney Bogg's is one of Detroit's oldest chocolatiers. Mr. Bogg began his career as a streetcar driver and made candy as a hobby. He sold it to his passengers. Bogg apprenticed to a Highland Park candy maker, Harold Vair, who made his fortune with a patent on poppycock. In 1936, when Bogg began his business there were hundreds of candy stores in the city, each making its own chocolate. Jim McGuire bought the business in 1995, and he also has a day job. "We all have our passions," he says. "And mine is to help this company survive." The store has maintained its old-time feel and taste. The candies are a chocoholic’s wet dream and a dieter’s nightmare. The simple secret is a refusal to use anything but the best ingredients. One bite into a chunk of their dark chocolate tells another story. A taste this rich and delicious can’t be mass-produced. The taste comes from experience gained through perseverance and a sincere desire to make something bordering on an opiate.

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Josef's French Pastry Shop

Posted on Wed, Sep 18, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Josef Bogosian began working in pastry shops just out of high school. He opened his own little storefront bakery in 1971, turning out fine pies, cookies, cakes, mousse torts, roll cakes, fruit flans, almond tea rings, and other goodies. He sells only what he likes, "though I don't really eat pastries" (just enough to check out the competition). Cakes can be prepared any way you'd like them — he's sculpted cakes into birds, cars, pickles, flowers and mayonnaise jars. Josef's favorite is his chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The secret? Extra cocoa.

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Give Thanks Bakery & Café

Posted on Wed, Sep 18, 2002 at 12:00 AM

An oasis of Old World taste and ambience in downtown Rochester, the pastries are made with European butter and the breads are all cold-risen via a traditional process that takes several days. You can’t rush such pure goodness. Check out the exquisite tortes and be sure to take home a loaf or two of the seeded levain. You can munch a delectable almond croissant (be careful! — they’re addictive) and enjoy a cup of fine coffee tableside, surrounded by heavenly smells and classical music. Let us give thanks, indeed.

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Shatila

Posted on Wed, Sep 18, 2002 at 12:00 AM

On Friday nights during Ramadan, this bakery is take-a-number packed with ravenous break-fasters. Other nights you can comfortably linger over coffee and pastry at one of six tables. One long series of cases carries a dozen types of baklava, burma, bassma and fingers with walnuts or pistachios. They are sold by the piece, half-tray or tray. Along another wall are highly decorated cakes with thick, sugary icing. Shatila also makes its own ice cream in 11 flavors. Decent American-style coffee is served.

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Avalon International Breads

Posted on Wed, Sep 18, 2002 at 12:00 AM

The biggest seller at this Cultural Center mainstay is the farm bread, a traditional French white sourdough. But if you like your sandwiches made for you, show up at lunchtime as the focaccia comes out of the oven. It might be topped with organic roasted zucchini, tomatoes, basil and parmesan. Avalon has branched out from the baguettes and crusty peasant loafs like Leelanau Cherry Walnut and Dexter Davison Rye that have brought bread-starved customers flocking five years ago. Now brioche, scones and cinnamon rolls expand the meaning of "bread." But it’s still the best. Look for "Italian month" in October.

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