I was going to write a little eulogy to my favorite Au Bon Pain product, which is the chocolate-orange-pecan scone. These chocolate-frosted beauties are delicious, but a store manager told me they are soon to be discontinued. This was after I hit three different shops in Cambridge this afternoon, hoping to snag one. All were sold out of this flavor (why discontinue the popular one?) and I'm not interested in the others.
I just went to the Au Bon Pain Web site, to see if I could find any news. I couldn't, so I decided to take a look at the nutrition facts.
Oh. My. God. One scone has 580 calories and 28 grams of fat. That's a lot, especially when you consider that a scone is really more of a dry, serious, breakfast-y food than a decadent dessert. I started eating them because I believed they were healthier and less fattening than muffins. Wrong! A chocolate-chip muffin has 580 calories and 23 grams of fat. A "healthier" raisin-bran muffin has 480 calories and 11 grams of fat.
I'd be better off with one of their chocolate-toffee cookies, at 250 calories and 14 grams of fat. Heck, I could have two! Or a chocolate-chip brownie, for heaven's sake (510 calories, 19 grams of fat). What a fool I've been.
To look at this another way, a chocolate-orange-pecan scone has more calories and fat than a Burger King Whopper Jr. (340 calories and 20 grams of fat). I guess Au Bon Pain, for all its wholesome good looks is squarely in the realm of fast food, in that it's packed with unhealthy ingredients that make stuff look and taste good (not that I consider most fast food edible). So, the same common sense that prevents me from setting foot into Burger King, Wendy's McDonald's, KFC, Arby's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts, and all such places ought to keep me out of Au Bon Pain, too. (And Starbuck's, while I'm at it, I suppose.)
Still, I wish I'd managed to get one last scone before I was enlightened.