Once I noticed the signal touting artichoke cupcakes, there was little doubt I’d be taking a candy detour to Pezzini Farms in Watsonville, Calif.
I brake for farm stands
Greater than 3,000 miles right into a months-long street journey across the West, I’m all the time looking out for some strange meals that jumps out and grabs my consideration. One thing to interrupt up the miles.
Farm stands are one in every of my absolute favourite pit stops and central California is jam-packed with small mom-and-pop outlets promoting on to the buyer. That mannequin, in fact, harkens again to the glory days of the basic street journey. Now, we’re extra about following Siri’s instructions to get from Level A to Level C the quickest manner attainable.
However meaning lacking out on some fairly cool stuff alongside the best way and the retail house at Pezzini Farms is now firmly on the highest of that must-visit checklist. This fashionable spot goes deep into the crop that made this chunk of California well-known.
Now, Watsonville won’t be the self-proclaimed Artichoke Capital of the World like its neighbor, Castroville. However it nonetheless ranks proper up there in rising this distinctive plant that’s truly an herb, in accordance with Merriam-Webster.
Attending to the guts
Possibly it’s as a result of I’m a local Californian, however I’ve all the time had a gentle spot for artichokes… whilst a child. I’ve eaten them steamed, fried and marinated, effervescent sizzling in tacky dips and splendidly chilled tossed in salads. Dipping the leaves in curried mayo as a substitute of melted butter was a sport changer.
But, I’ve by no means had something candy related to artichokes. That’s most likely why I turned off Freeway 1 once I was heading north towards Sundown State Seashore, a stunningly beautiful place to camp.
First, I browsed the exhaustive number of artichoke-related goodies and picked up a globe artichoke for dinner. However I didn’t spy the artichoke cupcakes till reaching the money register. A uncommon sight, I realized, as a result of these gems nearly all the time promote out.
Consider it like a zucchini bread or a carrot cake, the cashier suggested once I requested for an outline of the cupcake. Bought!
Was it definitely worth the detour?
The cupcake got here off wanting fairly homey, in a great way. There was no intricate crown of frosting on high. Simply the correct quantity and it was velvety with a bit of cream cheese bounce.
Inside, the dense cake wasn’t too candy, which I desire, and its texture was… I do know individuals hate this phrase when describing meals, however I’m gonna go there… moist. Sure, it was moist, with chunks of artichoke coronary heart including an nearly earthy high quality. Sudden and deeply satisfying.
It additionally impressed me to consider artichokes in a complete new manner, and although I’m no baker, I’m undoubtedly going to attempt to recreate these cupcakes once I get again to a kitchen with an actual oven.
If you happen to’re searching for artichoke inspiration, try The Coronary heart of the Harvest in Monterey, Calif., on June 11 and 12. That artichoke competition payments itself as the biggest celebration of veggies on the California Central Coast. It options chef demos, a meals courtroom and dwell leisure.