By Eileen Weber
This restaurant is now closed.
What makes an organic bakery good? Perhaps, it’s just the quality ingredients. Or, it’s the attention paid to detail—like where the ingredients are sourced and how sustainable their practices are. Maybe, it’s a lifestyle choice that bleeds into everything you do. If you answer all of the above, then Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Café in Wilton is the place for you.
To partners Paul Osakwe and Robin Marvin, all of those reasons are why they opened their bakery and café just a few weeks ago. Housed in the former Michelina’s Bakery that closed its doors last September citing the bad economy, Osakwe and Marvin believe they are filling a much-needed void.
“Where else are you going to find a French-style bakery?” said Paul, the shop’s on-premise baker who rises as early as 2:00 a.m. to make fresh croissants. “You have to drive to get it or make it at home. The nearest spot to get really good pastries is Isabelle et Vincent in Fairfield.”
Paul, who also owned three bakeries in New York City, is so dedicated to good food that he has made the hour trek to Sherman to eat really good pies. He is also very interested in working with nearby Ambler Farm and Millstone Farm to get local produce. Currently they source organic vegetables from a small, local farmer and the Wilton Farmers’ Market.
It’s that kind of attitude that makes a difference. When asked if he only uses real butter and cream in his pastries, his answer was, “Why would I use anything else? This is what you’re supposed to have.”
Using anything but the freshest ingredients, including organic olive oil for the café’s side salads, is a no-brainer. His partner Robin just smiles at that. She grew up in a dinky town in Northern California on the border of Oregon. As she describes it, “If there was a traffic jam, it was because the cattle were in the road.”
She then jumped into New York City’s restaurant scene. That’s how Paul and Robin met and why they’ve decided to work together now. As Wilton residents, they were both looking for something to bring to their own community.
While the shop’s goal is to be 100% organic, Paul is quick to point out that they’re at about 85% currently. He argues that in order to keep his price points reasonable, he simply cannot source all organic ingredients yet. While the hunt for affordable, sustainable ingredients like organic chocolate continues, the best Belgian chocolate will have to do. But for the major items he uses every day—sugar, eggs, butter, flour, milk, produce—he uses only organic products.
“We try to be competitive by keeping prices down,” he explained. “I’m organic because it’s my lifestyle at home, not because it’s cool and trendy.”
Our FGFG team tried the blueberry tart with its pretty lattice top and fresh whipped cream. It was sweet without being sticky sweet. It had just the right density to make you feel full without weighing you down. The fruit jam is made first then topped with the fresh berries to create a filling that is both fruit forward and delicate. Enjoy it with a cup of their organic coffee or a glass of organic milk.
We also tried the vegetable quiche. The crust was the perfect accent of flakiness to balance the intense vegetable flavor of freash spinach, onion, tomato, and red pepper with the spinach taking center stage.
The ham and cheese croissant was exactly what you’d expect—if you had a ringside seat on the Champs-Élysées. Flaky butteriness wrapped around salty ham and melty cheese…Oooh-la-la! That speaks for itself.
(My kids tried the chocolate chip cookie the size of a small dinner plate and the apple bread pudding. Both received a thumb’s up from all three girls who have very discerning tastes. That’s hard to beat.)
Each savory dish is accompanied by fresh greens or fruit salad. These are also meant to be eaten and not just garnishing the plate like a sprig of parsley. Even their multigrain bagel came with a lovely, plump strawberry to the table.
Pastries range in price from $2.75 to $5.00. Breakfast specials hover around $7. Tartines, or open-faced sandwiches, start at $5.95 and run up to $9.95. Salads and Plates go from $7.95 to $12.95. The menu includes a daily vegan soup and vegetarian salad.To go orders are welcome.
The shop is located at 126 Old Ridgefield Road. They are open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays are 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Call them at 203-529-3888 or visit them online at www.greenleaforganicbakery.com.