I visited the recently opened Séraphine Bakery on a gray afternoon. The roads were still wet from a morning rain and the sun just couldn’t break through. It was chilly for August — one of those days you wake up and just want comfort food — and I found solace in a rich dessert and good, hot coffee.
As soon as the door closes behind you inside Séraphine, you’re enveloped in atmosphere. The bakery’s old-timey music sets the mood and minimalistic décor is made warm and inviting — stark-white metal bistro tables are lit by soft white globe lamps overhead, and both contrast and complement an exposed brick wall with all of its nicks and cracks. Gallery framed black and white images hang from the wall. (And there’s WiFi, FYI.)
I approached the counter knowing I wanted (needed) a coffee but had to ogle the glass pastry case before deciding on a bite. Séraphine is a small-batch bakery, but it seems that allows the bakers to put more love into the foods they craft: Small round cheesecake-for-one topped with a sweet glaze, lattice peach-plum pies, pretty round tarts, butter cake cupcakes, almond macaroons — there was even a small array of savory quiche.
I chose a lemon merengue tart and sat at a table facing the large storefront windows that look out onto the N. Front St. — ideal for people watching (and mid-afternoon on a weekday in Kingston, you’re bound to see everyone from brisk-paced business-lunchers, to wide-eyed elderly taking in the history, to Fedora-capped artists explaining their next project). I sipped my strong Stumptown coffee and tried (in vain) to not finish the entire tart — which had a rich, buttery crust and the right balance of lemon and sugary flavors to keep you awake for days, especially paired with the java.
People wandered in and out quietly, not unlike the lightfooted way you’d walk into a gallery (perhaps with the excited guilt of knowing they’re in for some decadence). But the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and that just makes the whole experience sweeter.
The bakery is closed Monday, open from 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri. and Sat., and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sun. www.seraphinebakery.com
Contributing HVGS editor Melissa Esposito is a lifelong Valley resident who writes about the region for various travel and lifestyle publiations. She enjoys spending time outdoors, discovering new local bands and venues, and spending all of her money at food and harvest festivals. She is also the founder of UpstateNYMusic.com