Last night I attended a preview event at the new Krispy Kreme store at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. This store represents the doughnut manufacturers first venture in the north of the country (I believe), as until now you have had to travel south to enjoy one of these glazed treats.
I found a rather swanky affair in full swing upon arrival with my family, largely because traffic between work and the store had meant more than two hours stuck on the motorway. Lots of guests, smiling staff, free doughnuts, free drinks – both alcoholic and not… what more could you ask of a Wednesday evening in the north-west of England.
We enjoyed a guided tour around the kitchen area and got the chance to make our own chocolate-smeared sprinkle-smothered ring doughnuts. The tour took us from first principles, through raw ingredients, mixing, proving, shallow frying, glazing and packing. My wife and I got a little disturbed at the pre-glazing and packing stages, as it appeared a sort of baked eugenics program meant a sudden end for any doughnut failing to achieve a certain degree of agreeable ringedness. The conveyor at the end of process carried doughnuts before the packers who selected and boxed most, but left the remainder to reach the end and fall into a black bin. In these lean times with environmental concerns, this seemed like a monumental waste.
Plagued with doubts, we stood on a knife edge torn between the taste of doughnuts and this apparent wastefulness. The owner, however, set our mind at ease. A congenial host, keen to engage with the gathering of invite-only guests and VIPs, he explained that doughnuts rejected from the process would normally be packed up and handed over to charities, who could then distribute the mishapes amongst the hungry and the homeless. I certainly intend to keep an eye on this, as if a preview evening can generate a bin load of sub-standard doughnuts, who knows how many might go to waste on an average weekend of full opening.
I enjoyed a beer, a coffee, something fruity and non-alcoholic and… e-hem… three doughnuts, before we all decided to head home for the evening. Collecting our coats, we walked away with three-dozen free glazed doughnuts (with the offer of another box that would have made it a dozen each) and a good feeling about the store. The people had smiles throughout and I enjoyed the food, so I’m sure we’ll be back again in the future when the Trafford Centre has fewer cars and Christmas shoppers in it.