Savor The Flavor Of
There is just something about taste that sets it apart from the other senses. We can all touch something and feel whether it is hot or cold, differentiate between odor and fragrance and so on with the other senses. But with taste, we send our mind on a journey that has no limits or boundaries. At times what we taste can be an awakening that reminds us that life is not always just about sustenance for survival…sometimes it’s just about the small pleasures which frolic among the taste buds and the savoring of extraordinary taste that only the living can indulge.
One could say that my tongue was slapped out of a restless slumber after it became entangled with a lemon treat from artisan of flour and butter, Hope Alexander. Meeting Hope on assignment for another magazine, I was taken aback by her passion to provide pastries of perfection. So much so in fact, that I could see “unique” in everything about her dream and drive to bake that which ignites the tongue and creates a flavorful fire in the soul.
Photograph by Saraya Harmon
From the name Esperance (hope in French) to her willingness to arrive at work at 2:30 a.m., Hope exhibits a passion that is often lost in the mainstream business world. Details matter to her. Customer satisfaction, which is a lost business principle to many these days, is in everything she does. From the greeting when entering the bakery to the organic ingredients used in her croissants, the attention to detail sets her apart
Hope has been baking for 14 years. As to how she found her calling, she explains with a jovial laugh that her love of chemistry fit naturally into her love of cooking, baking and most of all…feeding people. With so many options for baking, how did she come to focus on Croissants?
“The dough just felt so good to me. I have always enjoyed making bread and being able to knead.” A tasteless experience with some store bought croissants also helped facilitate her move into the baking market. Her love of chemistry and her success experimenting with recipes felt as though the universe was beckoning her to the kitchen.
“I wanted something to do that I enjoyed. And I thoroughly enjoy feeding people good food…no…great food.”
“I wanted something to do that I enjoyed. And I thoroughly enjoy feeding people good food…no…great food.” After enough friends and family members began offering her payment for her croissants, she began asking herself if making them was something she could do every day. Would she be happy doing it? Could the universe be right? Perhaps a bakers’ kitchen was just the right ingredient in life she needed to bring a new hope in her life.
Working a job where she was stuck in an office all day was just not doing it for her. So she began putting her business plan together and working out the details. It would take a few years before all the ingredients were just right before she was ready to put it in the oven. But once the recipe was complete, she began rolling the dough and warming up the stoves.
On June 28, 2016, Esperance Bakery opened its doors. Hope said that since opening, certain aspects have been better than she expected and others have not. Again this is followed by her giddy laugh. She expresses that words can’t convey what she creates. She was right. Having interviewed her before tasting her creations, I quickly understood what she meant and a few rewrites were certainly warranted. Her bakery is not to grab a quick breakfast or snack, it’s an experience. Although this writer does his best to describe Hope’s creations, I must admit as well that she is right. To understand true taste, one mustn’t just read about it. One must experience the creative mixture of ingredients and passion of a kitchen chemist and let all of the senses come to remember that it really is the small things in life that are worth savoring.
Esperance Bakery is located at 610 W. Main St. Jenks. They are open Thursdays until 2 pm, Fridays until 6 pm and noon on Saturday and Sunday
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