Ready for tastes that are unconventional works of art for your mouth in the form of small, circular shortbread cookies? For André Kreft, every bite one takes should be a savored, artful celebration.
Kreft’s family emigrated from France, and he grew up a part of a community of people with stories of moving to this country. “My parents valued going back to our roots, foraging for food, for example. I recall gathering mussels on the coast in the winter. We’d have picnics, eating the mussels in the snow on the beach, and my parents would reflect on their past lives, spiritually connecting to their friends and family that were still across the ocean. I grew up as part of a community of people who had moved to this country, all appreciating the joy of being together and being alive. When I lived in Nigeria, you could cross the lawn and a cobra could bite you and you’d be dead, so I learned personal experiences and from the loss of my mother, husband, and cousin that we shouldn’t waste time focusing on trivial matters, dwelling on the past, or awaiting an uncertain future—now is what we have.”
For Kreft, food is an essential part of celebrating the moment. When he and his mother traveled to France before her death, he recalls a four-day party just to celebrate being alive. It included a ten-hour meal, the point of which was to be with each other, appreciating the joy and the magic that happens around a table with family and friends. “People would get up, maybe go have a cigarette, stretch their legs, and then return for more. For the moment, those that were there were there together. To me, these lengthy meals were part of an acknowledgment that only the moment is a given.”
How did these existential experiences translate into Kreft’s launch of Savor Cookies? Losing his husband and his mother in short term led him to bake his way through grieving.
“Here I was having lost the most important people in my life, and everything was changed. I considered following through with my husband’s and my plan to move to Hawaii, but then I decided maybe what I needed was to stay at home. From there, I moved forward with the idea to begin Savor. Before moving back to my hometown, I lived I San Francisco where I was a visual artist. Back then, it was very important for my art to travel with me. In the food I desired to create for others, I also wanted something durable, light, transportable.”
That he did and does, daring to combine and create buttery bites like Moka Ginger Savory Shortbread with Smoked Black Pepper; Coconut Ginger; and Nicasia Rosemary, Lemon & Smoked Salt. Kreft’s never-too-sweet little rounds of delight combine tantalizing flavors inspired by place and by phenomenon.
Inquiring about the small size of Kreft’s cookies, I uncovered even more probing thought and inspiration.
Apparently, he used to make them bigger, but without being too heavy-handed, wanted to communicate how we can get along just fine with less. "In our country, we have this tendency to over buy and waste and I want to take the opportunity to suggest a revision to that dynamic. There is truly no paucity unless we create it—this fear that there’s not going to be enough that is followed by snatching up much more than we need. Living in California, I learned that there’s enough for everyone. So I want to suggest that people consider this by judging for themselves if the tiny jewel of a cookie and a bit of goodness might actually completely satisfy them. Maybe it isn’t necessary to have gobs. Perhaps a little bit of sugar and some butter combined with other unexpected ingredients can help others let things go with grace, knowing there’s more to come. I wanted to offer an affordable luxury—this is something everyone can have, perhaps not every day, but also perhaps every day is not necessary to feel satisfied.”
All this in a bite!? There’s more . . .
“I knew that the most important thing to me was choosing something through which I could share joy and happiness. Part of that for me includes bridging gaps. Selling cookies provides surprising cultural and social experiences.” Kreft shared that Scandinavians love cardamom, the French do not generally care for cinnamon, older generations of English and South Africans don’t like birch flavor (because it reminds them of a tonic once used for the body), and most Americans are hesitant about lavender because they associate it with soap.
Kreft enjoys being the junction at which people come together to experience the same delights, and values sending customers away smiling. Order a bag of these tiny treasures today, and the corners of your mouth can’t help but turn up, knowing that their tastes and their meaning stretches far beyond the coin of shortbread melting inside.