Butter Block baked goods have become some of the most sought-after treats in Buffalo.
This producer of French-style baked goods does not have a retail store but may be found at several locations around town, at certain days and times. If you want a Butter Block croissant, there are two or three hours a week you have a chance.
Butter Block sells its version of a Pop-Tart for $4. Its flaky, buttery pastry and upgraded filling has people coming back for more, even though $4 would buy them an entire box of the originals.
Despite the lack of convenience, and its premium prices, Butter Block has been able to sell nearly everything it produces, including croissants, pain du chocolat, brioche buns and pastries that are dream versions of childhood factory favorites like Oreos and those Pop-Tarts, heightened with French pastry technique.
The reason has much to do with the skills of Colleen Stillwell and Ginny Rose Stewart, its principals, who have had Butter Block working for a year. Stillwell is a veteran baker, trained in French technique, who also teaches baking classes at Erie Community College and Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Stewart, who is also a photographer, handles marketing and “everything else,” Stillwell said.
Butter Block’s Pop-Tart upgrade is made with a pie-dough-like pastry prepared with French-style butter. The filling is a mixture of fresh and dried fruit to get the right flavor. Then it’s coated with royal icing tweaked for each version. (The blueberry gets lemon zest.)
“I make them based on whatever feels right for the week, so we’ll have strawberry this week,” Stillwell said last week. There’s a S’mores version in development.
The pastries are fun, but they’re not the core of Butter Block’s offerings, Stillwell said. “The main thing is more the croissants and viennoiserie,” which refers to pastries made with classic laminated doughs.
To try Butter Block’s treats, find them at one of these locations: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays at North Buffalo Farmers Market (Delaware at Hertel), through the summer; Saturday mornings at the Farm Shop (235B Lexington Ave., entrance on Ashland Avenue), and Nickel City Cheese (423 Elmwood Ave.); and as available at Public Espresso’s coffee kiosk in Hotel @ Lafayette lobby (391 Washington St.).
The pastry assortment will vary with time and location, Stillwell noted. Updates and other locations are posted at butterblock.som. If it’s croissants and pain au chocolat you’re looking for, 9 a.m. Saturday at the Farm Shop is your best bet.