Fornetti, an international bakery, will soon be offering pastries and breads via in-store locations in Road Runner convenience stores across the state and into Oklahoma. Fornetti reached out to a diverse group of local food writers last week to get a preview of what’s to come.
The preview was held at Diamond Bear Brewery in North Little Rock, which indicated to me that Fornetti—and Road Runner—had made an effort to learn what the locals like. In fact, I overheard a conversation between a couple of the relevant players; they were discussing differences in American and European bread preferences, down to what time of day each group prefers to grab a bakery treat. Over the coming months, it’s on their priority list that they learn what Americans, and Southerners in particular, like in their bakery experience. It’s also worth noting that all Fornetti items are fresh-baked and never frozen. And, if you take a look at their website product descriptions, you’ll find shockingly simple ingredients.
I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical. My experiences with baked items sold in convenience stores have historically not been positive. However, I was pleasantly surprised. There were three things I really enjoyed. The cranberry & pumpkin loaf, which they served with brie and pepper jelly, actually made me vocalize a “Huh” of surprise. I took a loaf home to eat over the next couple of days, and it maintained its freshness and flavor. In fact, I really want another loaf to keep around for breakfasts, as it was delicious toasted with just a bit of butter. Second to that was the ciabatta, a bread that I love but often avoid, as it’s sometimes quite tough—not this loaf. It was tender, if I can apply that word to bread.
Finally, the chocolate hazelnut pastry. Exactly what it sounds like, this pastry was the kind of good that will have me making a special trip just for it. The hazelnuts were ground finely to mix well with the chocolate spread, but they weren’t blended into nothingness, either. As I write this, I’m already wishing there was a location close enough to warrant the drive.
Long story short, I’m happy to have my doubts proven wrong—in fact I enjoyed my taste-testing so much, I neglected to take many pictures, so you’ll just have to go see for yourself. Fornetti products are a tasty addition to Road Runner convenience stores, and you might even find yourself grabbing a loaf or pastry to take home. Already available in some locations, they will be statewide by early 2017.