Crosstown's reputation precedes them, as I'm sure nobody needs reminding, and so you will understand why your reviewer leapt 6 foot into the air with disbelief and mad determination when into my inbox slid the offer of a new “essentials” box from Crosstown (are doughnuts technically essential? Answer: yes, always) and a selection of esteemed fellow artisan producers, the newly formed “Crosstown Collective”.
My delivery arranged by Hype arrived 3 days earlier than requested, which led to a panicked rearranging of the fridge, but all was quickly forgiven and forgotten when lo and behold we found ourselves in possession of that hallowed prize which is a box of Crosstown doughnuts. With it, came a separate large fruit & veg box – a delicious seasonal selection by Ted’s Veg, farmed in Boston, Lincolnshire and grown without using chemicals. Ted Dawson’s family have been farming for over 4 generations, and are regular at London’s finest farmers markets. Beautiful wholesome produce. Our fridge was treated to two 2-litre bottles of semi-skimmed milk & a stick of butter fresh from the farm in Chew Valley, in the heart of the Bristol countryside, from Guernsey cows farmed sustainably on over 500 acres of idyllic Somerset pastures. Unbelievably rich and creamy, this milk has a shorter shelf life than its filtered and homogenized supermarket counterpart. This is the real deal folks, no over-processing, no mucking about, just fresh dairy goodness as nature intended. Rollagranola sent us their Awesome Almond oat granola. Absolutely no added sugar in sight, they’ve also kept it strictly gluten free and vegan, with a high-protein nut content of 30% - a sumptuously tasty breakfast treat without the guilt. We also unpacked a packet from the revered Caravan Coffee Roasters, a gorgeous box of 6 Cacklebean eggs which I’ve long believed to be among the finest varieties in the market, and a care package from Millers Bespoke Bakery of a spongy farmhouse loaf, a rustic campailou, a bag of ciabatta rolls and the most incredibly pillowy soft rosemary focaccia. Now, to business. The moment you’ve (we’d) all been waiting for. On the first day of half term, the table was lovingly arranged with flowers, silver cake forks, and our finest tea-set, as with great pomp and ceremony we lifted the lid on the Classic Selection box of Crosstown Doughnuts – the Rolls Royce of pastry treats. Zero shame here in admitting it only took 2 days to sample the lot. The 2 Cinnamon Scrolls (albeit more cinnamon roll than doughnut) were gooey spiced perfection, the 2 Chocolate Truffle unctuously gooey, and my personal favourite, 2 ringed Tongan Vanilla Bean Glaze, smattered with vanilla bean speckles, and lovingly adorned with the signature ‘X’. Everyone deserves a box of these in their lifetime, as a failsafe bringer of joy and delight. Even the box told me “You look nice today”. Veritably, my cup runneth over. Sealing the deal on a top-marks delivery was a heartfelt message from the founder thanking me for my purchase: “We know it might be a little strange for a doughnut brand to be delivering pantry essentials and fresh fruit & veg – but it is a necessary pivot to keep as many of our amazing staff working and we hope you enjoy it.” What we have here, ladies and gents, is an opportunity to sample a cross-section of some of the finest artisan produce in the market, whilst feeling happily virtuous in supporting these wonderful independent businesses and the hundreds of jobs within them. It’s a no-brainer.