Whether you celebrate Easter or the pagan Eostre, Atwater’s has your bakery needs covered. I was at their Catonsville, Maryland branch the other day and they have a lot going on for a neighborhood bakery. They don’t just carry the expected fresh breads and cookies. They make a fruit and nut chicken salad with big hunks of tender white chicken breast. They also had a delicious and color-rific vegan coconut-kale soup with sweet potato, white potato, onion, green pepper, red pepper, celery, carrot, thyme, hot sauce and lemongrass. It definitely had the taste of the Caribbean. They serve it with fresh pieces of their various breads, for value added. Also, Atwater’s carries Canadian Liberte’ yogurts in its refrigerated case, so that’s always a bonus.
Atwater’s is also a place to get hot cross buns, which have been a Spring treat since before Christianity had spread through Europe. Hot cross buns have a lot of tradition behind them, both religious and folkloric. They’re so popular, even Queen Elizabeth I was not able to successfully ban them, so she made it that they could only be sold at Easter and Christmas. They are round, yeasty rolls with dried and/or candied fruits and an icing cross glazed on top. I wonder how they were glazed before the trade routes brought sugar around?