Monday, August 6, 2012

Sluy's Bakery

Fatigmand (above)
Pepperkakor (below)
Sluys Bakery

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"Giv os idag vort daglige brod."
                       -Motto on the Sluys' Bakery wall

The Norwegian immigrants who settled the area around Poulsbo in the 1880s were reportedly drawn to the familiar fjord-like contours of its hills, waterways, and distant mountains. 

If their descendants are similarly sentimental, they must be irresistibly drawn to the familiar aromas wafting from Sluy's Bakery in downtown Poulsbo's "Little Norway" commercial district.  Many of the buildings that line the narrow street are embellished with conspicuously Scandinavian touches, but for me it's the chance to "share" an experience with those pioneering Norwegians that breathes life into the town's decorative facades. 

Since 1966 Sluys has been owned and operated by the same local family.  They turn out famous products such as "Troll House" cookies, fresh "Poulsbo" bread loaves, iced sugar cookies shaped like Swedish dala horses, and "Viking Cups"--gargantuan cinnamon rolls smothered in snowdrifts of frosting. 

Pepperkakor (below) are a gingerbread cookie familiar throughout Northern Europe but particularly associated with Sweden and the winter holidays.  Each little square packs such a spicy punch it seems like hydraulics must have been involved in jamming a critical mass of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into the dough.  The sparkling sugar topping this historic cookie harks back to the days when sugar was a rare luxury, used as a spice or garnish rather than a staple ingredient. 

On the other end of the spectrum are fatigmand (above), a palate-cleansing cookie that seems almost austere by comparison with pepperkakor.  Known as "poor man's cookies", these fried twists are crisp and restrained, relying on frying oil for a touch of richness and on the barest hint of cardamom for flavor.  Like pepperkakor, fatigmand are made in many countries, but they are most strongly linked to Norway, a country that only gained its independence from Sweden in 1905 and was known as Europe's third-world country for much of the 20th century.  Fatigmand are an edible reminder of the conditions that drove Poulsbo's founders to strike out in search of new opportunities. 

Sluys Poulsbo Bakery
18924 Front St NE
Poulsbo, WA

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