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Side Dishes: Essex Culinary Resort & Spa’s p√Ętisserie opens

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In its year and a half open, Rustico’s went from serving homestyle Italian cuisine to upscale continental. The space at 21 Essex Way in the Essex Shoppes & Cinema will make an even greater departure on Monday, May 7, when it reopens as the Essex Bakery & Café.

The bakery will open its doors at 7 a.m. and serve breakfast sandwiches and pastries made daily by new Essex Culinary Resort & Spa executive pastry chef Perrin Williams. Williams is best known as the founder of Waterbury’s now-closed Center Bakery and as a wedding-cake crafter extraordinaire at her own Vermont Cake Studio, also now defunct.

Early-morning options at the bakery will be served on Williams’ housemade English muffins or croissants and include egg-and-cheese sandwiches with ham, bacon, veggie sausage or portobello mushrooms. Quick-service lunches will range from Cobb or Niçoise salads to sandwiches such as turkey and Brie and BLT with garlic mayo — all available cold or grilled.

Everyday sweets will include sticky buns, cookies, fruit pies and tarts, with individual cakes and tarts topping out at $3. Dinner planners can pick up full-size cheesecakes, carrot cakes and flourless Chocolate Devastation cakes filled with chocolate mousse. Williams will continue to create special-occasion and wedding cakes to order.

Creemees in the summer are a no-brainer, but the ones at the Essex Bakery will be available all year and made on a preservative-free base from the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery. Don’t expect to be limited to chocolate and vanilla, either. Williams says she’s offering creemees with local maple to start and will add flavors such as strawberry and black raspberry as they come into season.

Treats aren’t all this Essex Culinary Resort satellite will offer. As soon as June, Williams plans to team up with Christine Frost, chef at the Essex’s Cook Academy, to offer classes a few days a week after the bakery closes at its usual 5 p.m.

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