Recently, a staple at Hillside has gone missing, leaving some of the café’s once most popular options, The New England Classic, without its characteristic cranberry apple bread.
Former supplier to Hillside, Biga Bread, was forced to relocate from its original production facility in Charlestown to Providence, Rhode Island in 2012. Boston College Dining Services (BCDS) opted to stay with the company through their move, but Biga Bread recently closed its doors for good. This meant a loss of the artisanal breads that set Hillside apart from other dining options at Boston College, but most notably, it meant the loss of the cranberry apple bread.
The cran-apple’s disappearance has been felt most by those who particularly enjoy their New England Classic panini every Tuesday and Thursday. Hillside feeds a steady stream of students throughout the year, selling within the range of 300-350 New England Classics on any given day. For this reason, forgoing the sandwich entirely was not an option, according to Operations Manager at Hillside Colleen Barton. Instead, the staff was forced to improvise.
Barton said, “What we did was we took cranberry sauce…and mixed it with the honey mustard and use that as a spread. And our sales have dropped considerably.”
To save the nostalgia and undeniably good taste of the New England Classic, a new company is currently being vetted to fill the void. Pain D’Avignon, a French bakery in the Cape Cod town of Hyannis, has cleared the taste tests of BCDS. Pending approval of the purchasing department and other insurance matters, artisanal breads will finally return to Hillside. They will deliver approximately 100 fresh loaves each day.
However, after 13 years of the cran-apple bread holding together the New England Classic, the Turkey and Brie and other beloved sandwiches, it will not be returning. In its place Hillside will be featuring an artisanal cranberry bread to be served with any sandwich and all NECs.
Barton went on to outline how important the New England Classic has become to students and alumni alike over the years, saying, “When alumni come to town for reunion weekend or commencement we always put the Classic on the menu because they just can’t believe that they can still get it. And they get so excited, it’s hysterical.”
Current students echo similarly fervent opinions on the Classic. Cameron Barwick, CSOM ’15, questioned, “Is The New England Classic a sandwich? Yes. But is it just a sandwich, or is it a staple of the Boston College experience?”
Along with the new cranberry bread, Hillside will also be obtaining a multigrain, country white and brioche bread from Pain D’Avignon. The brioche bread will be used for morning breakfast sandwiches in Hillside while the country white and multigrain will replace the current conventional bread for sandwiches.
The new multigrain artisan bread will also be used in Lyons for grab-n-go sandwiches, while the new cranberry bread will be used for special events in McElroy, Corcoran Commons and Stuart dining halls.