Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vegans, I Have Seen Champs Bakery And It Is Good

Like any self- respecting, sweets-loving vegan, I have been trolling the internet for updates on the opening specifics of Champs Bakery, an entire shop dedicated to vegan baked goods: owned and operated by the folks behind Boneshakers.  I'd heard a rumor that they would have a soft, down low opening on the afternoon of August 2nd, so I called Boneshakers at about 1:20 that day to find out if that was still the plan.  The answer was, "Yes; they should be open now."  Should be open now?  Should be open now!  Needless to say, I wasn't able to concentrate on anything else until I pulled up in front of the place.

It was much bigger than I expected, all gleaming clean in black and white with friendly employees buzzing about (including a certain personable, artisinal baker whose own goods I already fawn over).  Since I arrived within about an hour of the doors opening for the first time, you'll understand that there were just a handful of things to choose from: mostly cookies, a couple of scones, and a muffin.

regular size cookies: chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, pignoli, 
rocky road, and peanut butter.

large cookies: oatmeal, rocky road, chocolate chip
chocolate chocolate chip scone, healthy muffin I wasn't interested in, another scone that wasn't chippy

I can't stress enough how friendly and welcoming everyone was, despite this being day #1 and assuredly nerve-wracking and stressful.  While there were only a few offerings (carrot cake cupcakes were on the way to the case as well), I was assured that bread goods such as CROISSANTS (vegan, people!) would be available within a few days.  More exciting, I was able to confirm that classics such as RAINBOW COOKIES and...wait for it...BLACK & WHITE COOKIES are on the horizon.  You might ask why I'm not camped out on Ainslie right this second waiting for their appearance? The answer is I don't know!

The goods:
The rocky road cookie: a chocolate cookie filled with assorted, giant nut chunks (I spied walnut, almond, and peanut) and sweet, goo-ified/crispified marshmallow.  The smooshy specimen in the front is the glorious standout cookie: best exemplifying the marshmallowy potential for greatness.  As you can see, the others weren't quite as marshi-full.  In other words, go for the messier ones; they are the most delicious!

The pignoli cookies were a must- purchase even though I didn't think they looked quite authentic.  Let me be the first to admit I was completely wrong; these are pure pignoli!  Even super-Italian VM crowned these the favorite and she doesn't joke around with her pignolis.  Despite their atypical bumpy appearance, the smell and taste is pignoli goodness through and through.  VM does have one suggestion, and that is for more pignoli nuts, please.  But, really; absolutely superb...exemplary to be exact.  To go into a vegan bakery and order a vegan pignoli cookie...wow; we vegans have come a long way! 

The chocolate chocolate chip scone was absolutely scrumptious.  With a crisp exterior encasing a moist, cocoa-y dough: it was like no scone I've ever tasted.  More desserty than an ordinary version, this was a cross between a scone and a chocolate souffle.  The added bonus was the generous speckling of giant chocolate chips, along with plenty of crunchy sugar to top it off: just the way I like it.  Wonderful.

I'm so glad I got to pop into Champs to stuff my face to support them on opening day.  I appreciate how inviting and kind everyone was, and am looking forward to enjoying many more delicious, old-skool bakery goodies as Champs gets acclimated and their repertoire expands.  Let's fill up those cases so I can get chewing!

Just so we're all clear: I'm very much looking forward to the RAINBOW COOKIES and BLACK & WHITES (as promised!).  Also, those giant vanilla cookies smothered in rainbow sprinkles are a must.  And, as long as your going for an authentic Brooklyn bakery vibe, it would behoove you to throw in some cannolis and napoleons...I'm just saying.  And you know, a vegan eclair never hurt anyone.  All I'm saying is, if anyone needs a taste-tester; I'm here for you.  Otherwise, you know, I'll be here for you anyway.  Best of luck, Champ's! [2012 update!]


  1. Rocky road cookies??? Carrot cake cupcakes??

    And scones crossed with a souffle? I am not normally a scone person but I want one of everything!!!

    Will be there next time I am in town!

  2. I just read about this bakery on Discerning Brute! It looks fantastic and I've added it to my list of places to visit next time I'm in NYC.

  3. oh, yum! I am cat-sitting in that neighborhood next week, so I will have to stop by and give this place a try :)

  4. I went to get some vegan goodies this morning and they were closed, no sign or note. Very disappointed :( Hope this isn't bad news!


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