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Andre Kreft Makes Olive Cookies, and Red Onion Cookies and Lavender Cookies, and More

Andre Kreft doesn't like cookies. But with Savor, his flavor-packed, imaginative line of shortbread cookies, he's created cookies even he can love.

"I wanted to challenge the status quo of people's perceptions of what a cookie is," Kreft says. "I wanted to surprise people with flavors."

Some of those surprising flavors include olive cookies made with bits of oil-cured Moroccan olives (let me interject right here that I was hooked after one bite of these rich, sweet-savory treats); roasted leek; smoked red onion; smoked yellow onion; Krakatoa — intense chocolate with hints of orange and cardamom; lavender; and ginger coconut. He makes gluten-free cookies as well.

Kreft started the company a year ago in July, baking the cookies in a rented restaurant kitchen in Watertown, with an office in Waterbury. In Fairfield County, the cookies are sold at Double L in Westport and 109 Cheese and Wine in Ridgefield, and Kreft sets up at the Westport Farmers Market every Thursday.

Kreft jokes that Savor is "kind of like a 10th career." An artist who worked as an arts administrator, he discovered he was no longer able to do the detail work required by his art as his vision "changed drastically" over the last 10 years. "I transferred and expanded my sensitivity to color to develop my taste buds even further," he says. Although he'd done a little baking in college, most of his food knowledge came from traveling and eating in California, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

Kreft says that as you eat Savor cookies, more flavor bursts forth. "I use very little salt," he says "but I love the burst of flavor from the flakes of sea salt." I first discovered Savor Cookies at Double L (730 Post Rd. E., Westport, (203) 557-4705), the natural and organic market filled with precious produce and artisan products. I was intrigued by Savor's simple packaging — clear bags filled with small, round shortbread cookies flecked with flavorings. The bags are tied with raffia, and have hand-stamped, old-fashioned manila labels. The suggested retail price for the 8-ounce bags is $8.

At Westport Farmers Market last week, I was happy to meet the man behind the cookie. As we talked, a woman and her daughter sampled a few. "I'd like to eat this while sipping a glass of wine," she said. Exactly! Chamard Vineyards in Clinton serves Savor cookies in their tasting room and sells them in the wine shop. "It's not a run-of-the-mill palate cleanser," says Lisa McDaniel, tasting room associate. "Rather than a bland cracker, it's got a unique flavor. The savory notes work well with the wines."

Savor cookies can also be found at Artisan Food Store in Southbury, The Smithy in New Preston, and The Pantry in Washington. Kreft appears at the Litchfield Farmers Market on Saturdays and Coventry Farmers Market on Sundays. Savorfinefoods.com, 64 Woodside Ave. Waterbury, (860) 274-9000.

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