Above all, we can thank Levain for starting the trend for giant, warm cookies that are tough on the inside and crispy on the outside. The popular bakery on Manhattan’s Upper West Side has inspired numerous other bakeries as well Imitators, but have now made it so that you can get your hands on an original Levain biscuit no matter where you are in the country. The bakery announced last summer that it would be selling pre-baked, frozen cookies in the Central Market in Texas, but this week nationwide expanded to include whole foods.
Whole Foods offers three flavors: Chocolate Chip Walnut, Two Chip Chocolate Chip, and Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, the dark chocolate option exclusive to Whole Foods. “Whether we meet customers in our bakeries or in the freezer section, we know they are having a real Levain Bakery experience,” founders Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald said in a statement. Levain “will only expand as fast as we can maintain the quality of the product,” said CEO Andy Taylor.
A priority for the bakery is to make sure the cookies stay frozen all the time before they reach the customer. Levain first experimented with a shelf-stable biscuit, which, however, did not have the same texture as the biscuits straight from the bakery. When the frozen biscuits take off, Levain hopes to add more items like cakes and brioche to the frozen aisle.
Taylor previously told reporters that Levain plans to open stationary locations across the country. There are currently seven locations in New York and one in Washington DC. The bakery is among the newest artisanal snack stores that once traded exclusively to expand into a national market with more stores or move into grocery stores. Milk Bar is now available in groceries nationwide, as is Jeni’s ice cream and Carbone pasta sauce. Usually these products cost more than a bag of Ahoy Chips or a glass of Prego, so the exclusivity is still there. But it does raise questions about accessibility (good!) Versus homogenizing food culture (strange!).
On the other hand, we shouldn’t be encouraging people to travel just yet, so enjoy the cookies.