I detest the idea of letting my blog go altogether - after all, I've been blogging for roughly eight years, and thought of being blogless (despite the relative infrequency with which I update) makes me uneasy - but lately I'm starting to understand how many of my favorite bloggers have gone the way of twitter/tumblr/long-ass facebook updates. Yes, there is exciting stuff happening in my life! Yes, there is mundane stuff happening in my life - mundane stuff I would like to share with the world! And yes, I do often catch myself thinking, "Okie, will blog about that later." Invariably, I'm then sidetracked by facebook (durrrrr), a crossword puzzle, a beer, a bird, or the outdoors.
But here I am, updating! Today's update - or the first of many updates, perhaps? Or perhaps I shouldn't be overly-ambitious? - regards something in the "Mundane Stuff I Would Like to Share With the Internet" category. So, ahem: those of you who know me know the purity of my love for Panera's orange scones. This is not a love of which I'm proud: this love, heretofore, was kept secret from all but a select few, the same select few who've seen me without makeup and have viewed the Most Frequently Played list on my iTunes. My embarrassment about this fondness stems from my recognition that Panera is not the classiest pastry joint around - far from it. As far as consumption of confections goes, I'm pretty well-traveled: I've had croissants in Paris, scones and clotted cream in England, Monhschnecke in Germany, Mozartkugeln in Austria, and so on. Despite my diverse pastry-eating experience and my knowledge that Panera's scone is composed primarily of refined white flour, high-fructose corn syrup, and orange dye, my love remains steadfast.
Strike that: remained. Yes, friends: Panera changed the recipe for their orange scones, and I am not a fan of the replacement.
Last weekend (weekend of awesomeness, incidentally, but maybe I'll get to that in another post), Hook and I walked to the one Panera location in San Francisco so that I could get an orange scone. I'd been craving one for some time, and hadn't eaten one since last summer (late July), and Saturday was an awesome day for a walk. Upon entry into the bakery-cafe, I sensed something was amiss. The scone, unlike its favored predecessors, was more oblong than square in shape, and its frosting was lighter orange than normal and flecked with largeish chunks of orange zest. Despite my rising anxiety, I ordered the scone, hoping that its unusual appearance belied the familiar taste I'd grown to love. Sadly, the scone had been prepared according to a different recipe. Its texture was flakier (less dense) than the original, the buttermilk flavor more prominent. Both the frosting and the scone were less sweet than the standard.
I was crestfallen. I'd walked halfway across the city for this damn scone, only to find that the recipe had been changed while I was unaware. Hook tried to console me by suggesting that maybe this was only a regional difference - chain restaurants, after all, are known to include different products in different geographic regions. At some level I knew that this assessment was false, that my treasured scone was gone for good. That evening, I sent an email to Panera re: perceived changes in the orange scone. (I also mailed a letter to the CEO.) Today, I received the following response to my email:
Thank you for contacting Panera Bread about our new Orange Scone. We
reformulated our Orange Scone to improve its texture, flavor and
appearance. After nearly two years of testing in both districts and
entire markets, the new scone debuted nationwide in January of this
year. Although we are sorry that you miss our old scone and
disappointed that you do not care for the new one, we appreciate your
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We hope you will
continue to enjoy Panera Bread.
Customer Comment Coordinator
Disappointed that I "do not care for the new one?" How about my disappointment? I'm not sure where/with what audiences this scone was tested, but those audiences were WACK. It seems to me that Panera changed its scone to appear "healthier" - the sugar content has obviously been reduced (if only marginally), the frosting is no longer neon orange, and the bits of orange zest punctuating the frosted top probably trick a goodly number of consumers into thinking they're eating actual fruit. I'm the first to promote healthy eating, and I'd say that my diet is healthier than that of 85% or 90% of the population. BUT, every now and then, I like to eat total, sugary crap, and Panera's orange scone was the sugary crap I loved the most. I loved the crunch of that godawful frosting, the crumbliness of the trans-fat laden dough. Never again.
I am adrift.
I am accepting suggestions for a pastry/baked good (nationally-available) to replace Panera's orange scone in my pantheon of junk-food craves.
This is all.