Hello Nordic Ware fans! My name is Nick, and I am one of the product designers here at Nordic Ware. An important part of my job as a designer is keeping myself educated on current trends in design, manufacturing, home decor, and most importantly, in cooking and baking. This way I can help keep Nordic Ware’s newest products looking and feeling as fresh as the treats you make with them.
Recently, I was lucky enough to tag along on a sales trip to San Francisco to pitch some new ideas and research new trends in one of the most fashion-forward cities in the USA: San Francisco.
While the first day of my trip was devoted purely to business, I managed to make sure I had the second day free to explore the cities’ many bakeries and hopefully at least begin to understand the food culture of the City by the Bay.
The first stop on my journey was a bakery called Craftsman & Wolves. While the name may sound better suited to a store selling home hardware and fur goods, Craftsman & Wolves is a well known establishment that has earned itself a mention in many food blogs, lifestyle blogs, and food magazines.
There were far too many delicious looking treats to choose from. I took particular note of their presentation. Some of the loaves look to be displayed inverted; could this be a new trend or just San Francisco showing its creative side?
I settled on this strange cake, labeled as a blackberry lemon banana crème cake. It was as delicious as it was alien. Complex and interesting flavor combinations were a trend I would continue to notice on my trip
The next stop on my list of locations I needed to visit was a restaurant/cafe/bakery called Tartine. Tartine is famous for its bread so I decided it was an excellent place to stop for a sandwich, a treat, and to charge my phone.
I decided I needed to try a tart at Tartine and this chocolate orange hazelnut tart was too tempting to pass up and almost too rich to finish…. almost.
I needed a break from baked goods so I decided to seek out a vintage cookware store called Cookin that I had heard about. Vintage has been making a comeback in a big way, and I wanted to see what sorts of treasures I could dig up.
Turns out Cookin was an exciting but overwhelming experience. It was like a Pinterest board of vintage cookware came to life. Although I did find some Nordic Ware classics!
My last stop on my trending trek was another pastry shop I had heard rumors of called B. Patisserie. Here again I was presented with a beautiful selection of unique pastries and baked goods.
I settled on a Bostock, a french pastry that is similar to a brioche french toast with an almond frangipane top. This one was also flavored with passion fruit, very interesting and delightful when paired with the almond topping.
Before it came time to leave the city by the bay, I spent some time looking at the city itself for inspiration. The architecture is so unique, especially paired with the hilly landscape. Also, as a lifelong resident of the Midwest I will never stop finding cacti growing outside to be exciting.
San Francisco is an exciting and eclectic place. Nailing down specific trends after that trip isn’t easy but I think there were three specifically that stood out.
1.) Complex and Unique Flavor Combinations
Daring to be different seemed to be a theme in San Francisco. Every bakery I stopped at had some new unique treat or a unique twist on an old favorite. From the blackberry lemon banana crème cake at Craftsman & Wolves to the more traditional Bostok with a passion fruit twist at B. Patisserie, there was always something interesting to try.
2.) Pastry as Art
To many people, the taste of a dish or dessert is more important than the presentation. The bakeries of San Francisco have elevated this to another level and have created pastry as an art form. The presentation and taste are both considered equal and the result is incredible. I could have spent hours just staring into some of the display cases.
3.) Vintage is still BIG
Even though the Bay area in California is home to some of the most cutting edge companies in the world, the overall feel of San Francisco is decidedly historic. I wish I had been able to stay in San Francisco for weeks just to peruse the endless slew of Vintage Boutiques, Thrift, and Antique stores. Stores like Cookin really show that people are willing to hunt for items that have stood the test of time in both their quality and aesthetic. Considering the high quality of products that Nordic Ware has to offer, maybe some of the products I design will end up on the shelves of Cookin someday.