If you’re flying through United Airlines’ Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport, there’s now a very sweet and buttery reason to arrive at the airport hungry.
As part of a $120 million “re-imagining” of EWR’s Terminal C, United and OTG (the company that created tablet-enhanced dining venues in about a dozen airports) is putting finishing touches on 55 new restaurants, bars and food markets, including the Mélange Bakery Café (by Gates 90-91), which is likely the first 24-hour production bakery inside an airport terminal.
Created with master pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres (aka “Mr. Chocolate”), the staff of two executive pastry chefs and 27 round-the-clock bakers and chocolate makers at Mélange is charged with creating croissants, macarons, gourmet chocolates, bagels (including trendy rainbow bagels), doughnuts and other pastries not only for the café, but for all the food outlets in the terminal. (Breads are locally sourced from New York’s Balthazar Bakery.)
It’s a tall order and during an aprons-on, croissant-making press tour of the 1,400-square-foot Mélange facilities, Torres admitted that when he was first approached about the project he didn’t think it made sense, or was even possible.
“I was skeptical,” said Torres. “But they [OTG] said they really wanted to do it. And it works. No one would believe that everything is made here, but believe me, it is. It’s unusual for an airport, but the beauty is that everything goes from the oven to the cafés and the store, just like the bakeries in France.”
Here’s what Mélange can bake each day: more than 1,000 croissants, assorted pastries and buns; more than 1,200 hand-rolled New York-style bagels; 600+ muffins; 200+ hand-crafted chocolate bars; 12 types of macaroons; 10 varieties of doughnuts, such as passion fruit and maple bacon, six varieties of sweet and savory eclairs; and dozens of cupcakes.
In addition to Chef Torres, OTG partnered with Valrhona Chocolates, which helped train the staff to make handcrafted chocolates and bonbons with only the best ingredients. On the baked goods side, only French butter — which arrives in 2-kilo (4.4 pound) blocks — is used.
“There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked goods coming out of the oven to bring a smile to your face,” said Gavin Molloy, United’s vice president of corporate real estate, in a statement. “Our Newark customers…