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Downtown Businesses, Photo Essay

A Bakers Dozen: Charlotte Valley

When it comes to food, we are lucky because we have so many different restaurants to choose from in Washington. I like them all, and I pick according to my mood. One thing is for sure: you can always win me over with salad and dessert. These are items on the menu that not everybody can get right, but Charlotte at Old Dutch Tavern definitely does. When she applied to work there, she wanted to wash dishes. Ben Wunderlich was impressed by her resume and gave her the job of making salads. Now Charlotte is the Head Baker at Old Dutch Tavern. And she makes awesome desserts. I have photos to prove it.

Meet Charlotte Valley with her famous bread pudding. She said that she has always loved to bake, and when she was 10 she used to make cookies for her neighbors. At Christmas time she bakes around 30-50 different kinds of cookies, truffles and fudge and gives them to her friends as gifts. I hope she considers me a friend now ;-)

Another famous dessert of hers you can find at Old Dutch Tavern – chocolate pecan pie. Charlotte learned how to cook from her mom, and just like her she doesn’t use many measurements. Most of the time she just mixes ingredients together and the result is simply delicious.

How did she became the Head Baker at Old Dutch? Charlotte had her son’s graduation party at the restaurant and the staff had the pleasure of trying some of her cupcakes. Ben loved them and decided to give her the job of making desserts. We thank him for that :-)

I have the pleasure of presenting you the newest bread pudding. It’s with peaches and almonds, with peach and white chocolate sauce. Charlotte had just made it and she cut it up so I could taste it. Talk about feeling special ;-)

Charlotte said that she cannot give an exact recipe for her bread pudding – it’s all about how the dough feels, its texture and moisture. Contrary to the popular belief, she doesn’t bake the bread pudding in hot water bath. The ingredients change throughout the seasons – chocolate for February, apple and pumpkin for fall, blueberries and blackberries in May. Probably one of my favorites is the white chocolate raspberry bread pudding, although they are all to die for.

Charlotte’s favorite thing to bake is the variety of cookies at Christmas time. Do you want to know the secret to a yummy soft cookie? Bake it slow at a lower temperature. It takes a little longer, but the cookies turn out so much better. Another example how not everything cook books tell you is true. You can tell that Charlotte is a natural with food, and she has over 20 year experience in the restaurant industry. (Photo: Charlotte Valley)

This is what I got to taste: the new peach almond bead pudding. I had a bite and the rest of the kitchen staff devoured it. You can’t blame them, can you? It’s even more delicious than it looks.

Charlotte loves baking and she has a small business of her own: A Bakers Dozen. She makes birthday and anniversary cakes, cupcakes, truffles and all things yummy and sweet. She moved in Washington in February last year, and she loves it. She said that the people here are very nice and they made her feel welcome right away. As she put it, “Everyday is a vacation in Washington.” I think this hold be our new tagline for advertising campaigns. Feel free to use it ;-) (Photo: Charlotte Valley)

Follow Charlotte and her amazing creations here and go to Old Dutch Tavern for some yummy bread pudding, decadent chocolate pecan pie or delicious creme brûlée. 

 

Update: Charlotte no longer works at Old Dutch, but she is still baking! You can try her delicious pastries at Soguk Lounge Cafe

About Slava

I am a twenty-something Bulgarian girl in the USA, re-discovering the world through the lens.

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