Tour de Donut

Saturday morning marked the beginning of The Fussy Little Blog’s Tour de Donut. A 9 am call time at Indian Ladder Farms means I arrived just a wee bit late (as usual). I swear I used to be Little Miss 10 Minutes Early, but now it seems like I need a 15 minute buffer tossed in with my RSVPs.

Thankfully I had arrived just in time to get a scoring sheet (check out the geeky goodness above!) and a donut. Woo hoo! Time to munch some donuts with some folks from the internet like Beck and the gang from Vicarious Visions.

Well. Hello. Let me fix my hair, why don’tcha? I would have slapped some more make up on if I’d known I was meeting you here.

The doughnut from Indian Ladder Farms was my favorite. Crispy-crunchy exterior shell, and tons of granulated sugar coating.

And the flavor? It was bursting through with Apple Cider. I’ve never had such a good cider doughnut. I know cider is in them all, but I don’t usually get such a pronounced flavor in the doughnuts. I’ll be back for more.
Great crumb – a little chew, very moist, nice and airy for a cake doughnut.

These were not hot out of the fryer, but they had been made earlier (I’m not sure if it was earlier in the morning or the previous night). I would love to try them super-fresh outta the fryer.

After gobbling and scoring, we popped over to Altamont Orchards.

More pre-made doughnuts.

Golden brown goodness. These were also excellent doughnuts. Completely different from Indian Ladder Farms, but pretty much equally enjoyable. Tons of flavor, great texture.

A tighter crumb, but a hair softer inside. The outside was crisp, but not as crunchy as Indian Ladder Farms.

Then we started a longer haul over to Fo’Castle Farms. The VV folks were awesome and took point on much of the driving/directioning from here on out.

It was part country store, part cafe. The cafe folks advised us to get dougnuts from the country store part, as it would be cheaper. Kudos for that.

JOEY BAG O’ DONUTS! These were serve-yourself doughnuts from a display case. No counter service involved.

A light, golden exterior with granulated sugar. They also had some cider donuts without a sugar topping (but why would you bother?).
The interior was very poofy. An average cider donut.

Then we went to Lakeside Farm. It was getting later in the morning, and this place was packed. It was the first place we had trouble finding parking.

That bodes well. Cute signage and all.

This was the first stop on our Tour of Donuts that had donuts coming fresh out of the fryer! There is a trailer outside of the farm stand with coffee, tea, and some other food, but come on – freshly fried doughnuts!

Look at them coming out of the fryer, in all of their golden glory. These were being freshly made, with more batter made periodically (not some giant endless vat of doughnut batter).

They were all fairly uniform. Soft, no real crunch to them. The judges sat down to score and think things over. This picture might seem a bit ominous, like we’re some strict and frown-y group of donut haters.

But I assure you, we’re all quite friendly. I was smiling behind the camera, promise. And we love donuts.
The interior was incredibly soft and poofy. This doughnut was a little too heavy on the cinnamon for me (and light on the sugar), but I know a few folks who love cinnamon, so I think they would be really happy here.
I also got some really good apple cider here. Really fresh and bright – not too heavy at all.
Our final stop on the tour of doughnuts was Bowman Orchards. This was the most interesting entrance – we drove through the fields to get to the store. There’s a way you can branch off for Pick-Your-Own Apples, and a road directly to the store.

We went directly to the store. Parking was not a problem.

The store was pretty packed with people buying baked goods and such.

Much to our dismay, the doughnuts were kept in racks of pre-packed plastic shells. The inside had condensation on top of it.

They didn’t suffer from sogginess (phew), but they would have been better fresh. But it seemed like this was the favored option for speed. I imagine things might get really backed up if they packed them by hand. I wouldn’t mind a wait, but others might.

The interior was okay, but it was all a uniform texture (soft), and the flavor wasn’t very strong on the apple cider. I would have been fine with this if I had never tasted the goodness inside Indian Ladder Farms, though.

Donut #5 was the breaking point. The Profussor and I left them half-eaten. Did you guys know that five doughnuts before noon isn’t that much, but it is pretty filling? Because they are. And tea totally helps wash them all down.
  1. JB said:

    We went to Riverside Orchards yesterday. It is by Bowman's. They have a donut making machine behind glass, just like Krispy Kreme. The donuts were the best I have ever had!

  2. -S said:

    Nice! The Indian Ladder Farms are my fav, and I've tried most of them. There are a few more places to check in Clifton Park if I recall but you nailed to most important!

  3. See, the thing to me is that a good sugaring can compensate for a softer crust. And those soft rich doughy centers are just so comforting.

    If Lakeside had a crunchier sugar coating, I really think it could have been a stronger number two.

    But based on the vibe of the place, if I were choosing between a visit to Lakeside or Altamont, it would be Lakeside.

    Mr. Dave would be very disappointed with me.

  4. Indian Ladder cider donuts! What I would give to have one now…

  5. Anonymous said:

    How wonderful! In SusuWorld we have a “Donuts, Don't Tell” policy.

  6. Mr.Dave said:

    I won't get into details, but the Capital district social scene is very inbred. I would bet good money, based on this article, that we share a friend or too.

    Anyhow, I don't like the relatively hard shell of the Indian Ladder farm donuts. Why you ask? Because my beloved young munchkin's precious and tiny chompers have trouble munching through the crust. A softer, more delicate donut is needed.

    On atmosphere- Indian Ladder farms is entirely too hectic and crowded for my taste. I have a slight agoraphobic streak and should you jostle me, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a wicked stink gaze.

    I have never been to the Lakeside of which you speak, so in light of that. I still give a nod to Altamont Orchards. I am heavily biased, but that is to be expected.

  7. Mr. Dave: I would think your spawn would be made of sturdier stuff.

    I too am not fond of crowds. Indian Ladder was pretty much empty at 9a when they opened.

    But if the little giblet likes her donuts soft, I would really encourage you to take a visit to Lakeside. Watching the donuts get made by a kind old man in a cage, enslaved by a little machine filled with hot oil, is the stuff that dreams are made of.

    You know, bad dreams. But dreams are dreams.

    I probably shouldn't have eaten all that butter tonight. I'm going to bed.

  8. JB – Oooh, I need to see that! (Please tell me there's an icing waterfall)

    -S – Mmm, I will have to check more out. For science, of course.

    LK – Holla for the crunchies!

    Dan – I think excessive sugar coating works just fine. But man, that crunch…

    lili – Neener neener! 😉

    Susu – HAHA! I think that's a policy I can get behind!!

    Mr. Dave – I would certainly hope we do. Way to be a nice dad and care about your kiddo. Personally I'd just give her some Mountain Brew to dip the crunchiness into (you know, to keep it local).

    Dan – see, Mr. Dave wasn't disappointed in you. Although I am disappointed I was not invited to butter myself as well.

    Ayami – oven? Donut? DOES NOT COMPUTE!! Where's the fried, oily goodness?

  9. Wish I could've made it, but 9 on a Saturday's a brutal hour for me. Bowman's are fresh, if you couldn't tell — they're just fresh in plastic instead of fresh in a bag or on a tray (the ones I got last time were still warm from the fryer!).

    So, if you had to rank them, how would they rank? (Especially on cider flavor — a lot of cider doughnuts just seem to taste like plain ol' doughnuts, it seems.)

  10. grace said:

    apple cider donuts, when done correctly, are unbeatable. what an awesome eating experiment.

  11. @KB – Based on the score sheets, in terms of cider flavor, the donuts ranked in the following order:

    1) Lakeside
    2) Tie: Indian Ladder & Altamont
    4) Bowman, but only 1 point behind
    5) Fo Castle

  12. I don't know if Golden Harvest in Valatie was part of the competition but you should really consider their donuts next year. Pillowy mounds of apple goodness with a slightly crusty exterior.

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