Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chestnut Hill Bakery: Home of the World’s Best Cream Puff!


If Shakespeare were alive today, I am sure Richard III’s famous line would have gone something like this…A cream puff!  A cream puff!  My kingdom for a cream puff!  A Chestnut Hill Bakery cream puff, that is! 
I can’t recall my first cream puff.  I just know that cream puffs became a favorite treat early in my development.  So much so that when my eleventh or twelfth birthday approached, my sole wish was a cream puff from Chestnut Hill Bakery.  Why this inexpensive and seemingly strange request in the age of Aigner, Gloria Vanderbilt, Jordache, and Calvin Klein?  Well, let me back up to the months leading up to my wish.      
 As a connoisseur of sweets, who also developed early onset couch potato-ism, I was, needless to say, chubby and had been from the second or third grade.  I grew up in the fad diet mania of the 1970’s and 80’s so I tried all kinds of crazy diets.  The diet I had been on at the time of my request was a highly restrictive one.  I could eat one meal of 500 calories or less per day and drink all of the grapefruit juice I could stand.  I did this for quite some time and did lose a lot of weight.  However, as my birthday approached, I longed for only one thing—a cream puff from Chestnut Hill Bakery. 

Yummy cream puff almost larger than my hand!

Don’t know what a cream puff is?  It’s a giant pastry filled with creamy custard and topped with thick chocolate icing.  It’s bigger in diameter than the palm of my adult-sized hand and about three or four inches high.  One bite sends an eruption of custard oozing out and down your fingers as your face takes on a delicious chocolate mustache.  It’s a messy, gooey delight!

Anyway, I was willing to forgo all manner of gifts to obtain the Hope Diamond of childhood confections.  When the big day came, I’m sure I did get other gifts but I really don’t remember them.  I do remember getting the long desired cream puff.  Two, in fact.  Do I really need to say that my diet ended that day?  Well, it did. 

To this day, the thought of a cream puff from Chestnut Hill Bakery still makes me feel giddy with anticipation!  Thankfully, the bakery is still in operation in a non-descript strip of shops in Lynchburg, VA and cream puffs can still be had.  Chestnut Hill Bakery began in 1968 and on April 1, 2011 Richard and Glenda Hinkley bought the bakery.  I am pleased to report that the current owners have mastered the art of the cream puff and offer them in the standard giant size along with a smaller size.  As of the date of this writing, a large cream puff is a bargain at a $1.50 and the small ones are only $.60 each.  Of course, Chestnut Hill Bakery offers a wide variety of baked goods but my personal recommendations, besides the cream puffs, include the Mediterranean cookies, German Chocolate pie, Chocolate Meringue pie, butter rolls, and ham biscuits.
So if you ever make it to Lynchburg, VA, be sure to stop by Chestnut Hill Bakery for a cream puff and tell them Cindy from explorevirginia.blogspot.com sent you! 
Disclaimer:  Do not try the hair brain diet mentioned above, or any fad diet for that matter, as they will only put you on the Yo-Yo Express to weight gain. 

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