Chocolate (left) and halva (right) babkas by Babka by Ayelet.
If you think babka is just a sweet yeasted bread swirled with chocolate or cinnamon, then get ready to have your mind — and palate — blown.
After months of delays, Babka by Ayelet finally opened its doors two weeks ago at Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village to serve up babka in a variety of flavors, both sweet and savory.
Made by Israeli-born Ayelet Turgeman Nuchi, a former private chef on the Peninsula, this Eastern European specialty bread has been transformed.
Impeccable pastries at La Fournee.
I have Deborah Kwan to thank for the added inches on my waist.
You see, the former pastry cook turned restaurant publicist, recently went on a bakery crawl around the East Bay, posting photos on Facebook along the way. When she got to La Fournee in Berkeley, I was so overcome with longing for the glorious pastries she showed, that I knew I had to make a beeline there the next time I was up that way. Thankfully, that came last Thursday.
La Fournee has been around since 2013. It was started by Pastry Chef Frank Sally, who used to teach at the San Francisco Baking Institute. It’s a little slip of a bakery, not far from the Claremont Club & Spa.
Like a little slice of France in Berkeley.
Walk inside and it’ll be as toasty as a fresh-baked loaf, owing to the fact that the ovens are only a few yards away from the entrance.
Feast your eyes on the butterscotch-lime croissant at Butterscots.
If you’re a baked-good fiend like I am, Butterscots Bakery in St. Helena is definitely worth a stop when you’re in Wine Country.
It’s part of the Cairdean Estate, which took over and repurposed the old St. Helena Outlet mall. When I dined at the wonderful The Farmer & The Fox restaurant on-site a few months ago, my only regret was that I was there in the evening, when Butterscotts Bakery had already closed.
On a recent trip to Napa, I made up for that by making a beeline to the bakery to buy a couple of goodies. The bakery is overseen by Joseph Humphrey, who is also the executive chef of The Farmer & The Fox. Humphrey, who earned two Michelin stars at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, knows his baked goods. His popovers at the restaurant are the stuff of dreams.