Archive | January, 2013

Placid Flats

14 Jan

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Placid Flats

A food review by Daniel B.

Placid Flats are neither placid nor flat. Besides this quibble over semantics, these are truly wonderful hand-crafted locally-made crackers.

On one level the name does have some logic. After all, these come from the excellent Placid Baker in Troy, which also makes serious baguettes, delicate French macarons and a pastry case full of decadent delights.

To call these simply crackers does not come close to doing them justice, so I don’t begrudge their creators for choosing some other fanciful name. I say this as someone who is decidedly not a cracker lover, and yet I couldn’t get enough of these flats. Part of it has to do with the “Everything Seed Blend” but that is not all.

I was first introduced to the Placid Flats at the Chef’s Consortium table at Winter WonderLark in Albany where the Consortium was sampling a host of local products to the brave souls who showed up for the Santa Speedo Sprint.

We were topping shards of the crackers with slices of Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company. Generally I’m a cheese purist, and prefer to eat it entirely unadorned by crackers or even crusty bread.

But as I’ve said, these are special.

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Each flat is approximately five inches wide by ten inches long. They aren’t perforated, and they aren’t flat. They undulate, and some even have formed bubbles while they baked. They are so thin and crisp that when you try to break a piece into smaller portions, it shatters.

While its appearance may be rustic, the flavor is much more refined. The cracker itself has a rich, whole grain wheat flavor, with a touch of sweetness and buttery undertones.

That is, if you can even isolate the flavor of the cracker itself from under the torrent of seeds showered upon these things. There’s sesame, poppy and caraway. I even detected a few chopped sunflower seeds. But the thing that puts these totally over the top are the coarse grains of salt.

It’s like The Placid Baker took a crusty, chewy Everything bagel from my Nana’s favorite shop in Great Neck and turned it into something delicate and refined.

But this is more than just a tasty cracker. Its thin profile is really ideal for holding toppings without weighing them down with a lot of bread. Its brittle crispness provides some great contrast of texture to cheeses and savory spreads. Plus even in this light and delicate package, the crackers are able to pack a ton of flavor and can stand on their own.

A pack of them cost $4.99 and you can pick them up at the bakery on 250 Broadway in Troy. They are open Tuesday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm and on Saturday from 8 am to 2:30 pm. Just make sure not to show up hungry, because this can be a dangerous place for those without restraint.

About Daniel B.

A west coast transplant now living in Albany, Daniel Berman is applying his communication strategy background to food writing with the ultimate goal of improving the culinary landscape in the Capital Region. He writes the FUSSYlittleBLOG and contributes regularly to All Over Albany.