It’s a centerpiece of the holidays: that intoxicating aroma and flavor of something fresh-baked, be it cookies, cake, bread or a pie. Fortunately for those of us not so handy around the oven, Wine Country region brims with fantastic bakeries, guaranteed to do your table proud.
Sweetie Pies, Napa
The glass display cases practically groan with more than 100 different confections, such as coffeecakes, quick breads, cheesecakes, cookies and elaborate tiered cakes enveloped in ganache, crowned in fondant flowers, piped in butter cream, and capped in chocolate-dipped cookies.
520 Main St., Napa, 707-257-7280, sweetiepies.com.
Model Bakery, St. Helena and Napa
After nearly 90 years in the bread business, it’s clear this bakery knows its dough. Part of the secret is in the ingredients, including 100 percent organic flour. That’s why you’ll find its mouthwatering loaves and rolls and pastries on the menus of many of California’s best restaurants.
1357 Main Street, St. Helena, 707-963-8192. Also 644 1st Street, Napa, 707-259-1128, themodelbakery.com.
Wild Flour Bread, Freestone
Bread master Jed Wallach and his wood fired brick oven turn out a dozen different kinds of organic, sourdough-based breads daily along with whipping crème scones, sticky buns, cheese fougasse, goat cheese flat bread, the Bohemian loaf (apricot, orange and pecan), the Egyptian loaf (pear, fig and candied ginger) and biscotti.
140 Bohemian Hwy., Freestone, 707-874-2938, wildflourbread.com.
The Pink Box Baking Company, Santa Rosa
Owner Stacy Willis is the former pastry chef for The French Garden in Sebastopol and a graduate of the San Diego Culinary Institute’s Baking and Pastry Arts program, and is this tiny bakery, she shows her skills with tasty pastries, cakes, cookies, brownies, scones, tea cakes and sweet bars.
2700 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-331-3453, thepinkboxbakingcompany.com.
Raymond’s Bakery, Cazadero
Blink, and you’ll miss the little bakery hidden amid the redwoods on the Russian River, but just follow the aroma of fresh-baked-daily breads like rustic baguettes, traditional French, Pugliese, seeded sourdough and French sourdough. Baker-owners Mark and Elizabeth Weiss love to create delicious flavors, so there may also be garlic-rosemary and kalamata olive-rosemary loaves, Parmesan focaccia, New York deli rye, 9–grain whole wheat, Italian ciabatta, onion rolls, or breads like buttermilk potato, semolina raisin, pumpernickel rye and cinnamon-raisin swirl. Don’t miss the muffins, cinnamon rolls, buttermilk blueberry scones, croissants, lemon bars, apple coffeecake, cookies, fruit tarts, turnovers, fougasse, double chocolate brownies, biscotti, palmiers, Danish or… well, you get the idea.
5400 Cazadero Hwy., Cazadero, 707-632-5335, raymonds-bakery.com.
Village Bakery, Sebastopol
Craving Scandinavian? You’ll find it here, authentically spiced in cookies, cakes, scones and breads (mmm, cinnamon raisin). Fancier bites include Framboise chocolate cake slathered in raspberry sauce, but we swear by the standards, like melt-in-your-mouth croissants, and hard-to-find-anywhere-else specialties like Volkenbrot (whole rye bread), dinkelbrot (spelt bread) and kernebrod (traditional Danish rye). In a nod to modern tastes, you can request gluten-free and vegan recipes, too.
7225 Healdsburg Ave., Sebastopol, 707-829-8101. Also 1445 Town and Country Dr.,
Santa Rosa, 707-527-7654.
Tip: Here’s a fun holiday idea! Be your own Santa, with a Pure Luxury limousine as your sleigh. Fill the limo with bakery gift and sip sparkling wine as you ride to all your friends’ and family’s homes to deliver lovin’ from the oven.