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Does anyone realize that North Carolina and other states take children away from parents who are charged with doing...

Duck Donuts unveils its spring assortment

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Duck Donuts' spring assortment.

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Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Duck Donuts, 420 E. Arlington Blvd., is a hot spot for those with a sweet tooth. Nestled in Arlington Shoppes next to Baby Bump, this sweet-smelling store cranks out an average of 8,000 doughnuts a week.

The first store opened 12 years ago in Duck, hence the name. There are now more than 15 stores in North Carolina, including five along the Outer Banks, and additional locations up and down the East Coast.

Walk into the Greenville store on any given day and breathe in the aroma of sizzling hot, fresh doughnuts, coffee brewing and all the sweet smells you can imagine. Doughnuts are one of those foods that we flock to to help change our moods. If you need a pick-me-up, eat a doughnut. If you are sad or had a bad day, a doughnut turns that frown upside down. Celebrating? Doughnuts for everyone.

Store Manager Maranda Long has been the head of this doughnut shop for more than two years and has enjoyed the fun that goes into working in an environment that serves up treats and smiles on a daily basis.

The basic Duck doughnut is a cake style with a denser middle. Pick from 12 coatings including powdered sugar, chocolate, maple, strawberry, lemon, blueberry, peanut butter, glazed, powdered sugar, vanilla or a seasonal flavor. Next, choose your topping. There are rainbow sprinkles, chocolate, shredded coconut, crushed graham cracker, chopped peanuts, Oreo crumbles, chopped bacon or a seasonal topping. The final step is the top drizzle. Choose from raspberry, blackberry, salted caramel, marshmallow, hot fudge or the seasonal drizzle.

Here is my favorite part. You don’t have to pick just one of each. You can have your cake doughnut the way you want with all the glitz, glamour and flavors you’re craving. Add multiple coatings, drizzles and toppings and pay no additional fee. I asked Maranda how many combinations you can put together and she said “the possibilities are endless.”

Customer favorites include the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts with vanilla icing dusted with cinnamon sugar, or maybe the lemon iced doughnuts with raspberry drizzle, or the vanilla iced with crushed Oreos and hot fudge drizzle. There also is a visual menu of 12 signature doughnuts in an easy size to drool over. Some additional ones include the Beach Ball with vanilla icing, chocolate drizzle and rainbow sprinkles; and the French Toast with maple icing, cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar.

Single doughnuts cost $1.40, a half dozen is $7.50 and a dozen is $13.50. You can also choose a bucketload of 18 for $21. OK, so they’re not actually served in a bucket. That was the initial idea, to serve 18 in a bucket. There was not a bucket that worked, but the name stuck.

Duck Donuts has unveiled its spring assortment, just in time for the season. There are some jazzy, fruity and fancy combinations with colored spring sprinkles at the core. Choose from 12 fun-named combinations. One seasonal icing is the Key lime, which is tart and luscious, or try the gooey chocolate iced doughnut topped with pastel sprinkles. The sprinkles are not just the small sugar-based kind; they are round, hollow, candy-coated sprinkles that break open like a malted milk ball. For my food-tasting extravaganza, I sampled three doughnuts from the spring assortment.

First, I tried the Key lime with graham cracker crumbles. The Key lime icing is bright green, tart and tangy and you get a nice buttery crunch from the graham cracker crumbs. It tasted just like a piece of Key lime pie. Duck Donuts uses fresh fruit juices in all its icings, so you are getting that bright, authentic taste.

The next option I sampled was the maple with bacon. This is one of the most popular doughnuts, and there is no doubt it’s because it has bacon on it. Mixing maple and bacon is a win-win in any food book. This combination just works, and it’s a perfect choice for your sweet breakfast treat, tasting just like soft French toast drizzled with warm maple syrup mixed with a smokey bacon flavor.

The last doughnut I sampled was the lemon iced topped with shredded coconut. This combination was as pretty as was it tasty. Coconut is probably one of the most underrated food items on the planet, but it’s snowy and light with a nice wet chew to it. The lemon icing is a soft yellow made with pure lemon juice and was also tart and dreamy. This one got my top honors. I suggest adding some raspberry drizzle to give your taste buds a spring treat.

Duck Donuts also serves a variety of coffees and espresso-based lattes that go great with the food. There is fresh ground light and dark roasted coffee as well as decaf, plus a seasonal roast. The current seasonal roast is medium-bodied Papua New Guinea coffee with hints of fruit. You can also select from various lattes including vanilla and white chocolate.

Feeling a little saucy? Choose the chocolate hazelnut mocha with dark chocolate sauce, hazelnut syrup, two shots of espresso and 12 ounces of steamed milk. It was sweet, creamy and warm all over with great chocolate flavor. Feeling a little nutty? Choose the caramel nut latte with three pumps of caramel syrup, toffee nut syrup, two shots of espresso and 12 ounces of steamed milk. It was silky, smooth and had a complex buttery flavor that was rich and rewarding. The honey cinnamon latte with honey sweetener, cinnamon sugar, two shots of espresso and 12 ounces of steamed milk was warm and inviting. Like a cozy hug wrapped in sweet honey and sugar, this one is Winnie the Pooh approved! Coffees and lattes cost $4.25 for a regular and $4.75 for a large.

Duck Donuts is open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. Duck Donuts is available to cater your next event, or choose it for your wedding and serve doughnuts instead of cake. There is an expansive catering menu that includes Little Duckling doughnut holes and coffee by the bucket. For more information, visit www.duckdonuts.com or call 689-6305.

Bone Appetit

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina (HSEC) will host a Bone Appetit fundraising event from 4-9 p.m. March 21 at Villa Verde, 2601 E. 10th St. Ten percent of all food and drink sales will be donated to HSEC. Write “for HSEC” on the receipt and alert the server.

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