Bouchon Bakery Donuts — For Early-Risers Only

I’d known about these elusive donuts for awhile. I just never managed to get to Bouchon Bakery in Yountville early enough to snag any.

Until last Sunday.

You see, in addition to the usual variety of baguettes, nutter butter cookie sandwiches, and flaky-beyond-belief croissants, the bakery makes a limited quantity of donuts only on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It amounts to a mere couple dozen of each type of donut offered each day.

They are made in the fryer at next-door Bouchon Bistro before it opens for lunch. Once the doors to the bistro open, the fryer is tied up with orders of irresistible frites instead.

When I arrived at the bakery about 9:40 a.m. last Sunday, there were already about half a dozen people in line, and another half dozen sitting at outside tables, sipping coffee and noshing on brioche and macaroons.

As I inched my way through the doorway, I spotted them — three different types of donuts on the wooden back shelf where all the bread was. There were only about nine donuts left. My heart sank, thinking the people in front of me might buy them all.

But when I got to the front of the line, they were still there, so I ordered one of each of the three kinds available: raspberry jelly, apple butter, and chocolate. Then, I raced home with my rare loot.

At $3 each, these are probably the most expensive donuts I’ve ever bought. My first impression was the texture — not fluffy and airy like so many standard donut shops’ versions, but heavier, butterier, richer, almost like brioche.

The raspberry jelly was not cloyingly sweet, but rather tasted of jammy berries. The apple butter one was autumn in a donut. The apple butter itself tasted like exceptional homemade applesauce. You could really taste the winey-flavor of fresh apples. This donut also reminded me a little of coffee cake with its crown of cinnamon sugar.

It was the chocolate one that sent me over the top, though. Oh my, a ganache-like filling, and a shmear of thick dark chocolate on top plus a shower of tiny dark-chocolate rice krispie-like balls. As my hubby said, it was like a gourmet Nestle’s Crunch Bar.

Definitely the poshest donuts around. And definitely worth getting in line for on an early weekend morning.

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  • Woo, thanks for sharing this, Carolyn. Can’t wait to try these sometime if I’m ever staying up in wine country. Anything that comes out of the Bouchon fryer is pure gold 🙂 The little drupelets of chocolate look gorgeous in that photo.

  • I never get to Napa early enough to check out Bouchon, although like you I’ve heard so much about it. That chocolate doughnut has this weird but enticing look to it. Part freaky, part intriguing. But I guess it’s the taste that matters huh? I hope you did something else in Napa and didn’t just drive all the way from San Jose to Napa just for the doughnuts, because if you did, then you are, indeed, a foodie-crazy-lover. 😉

  • No worries, Single Guy, I may do a lot in the name of good food, but I didn’t drive from San Jose to Napa just for the donuts. Hah! No, I was in St. Helena for the three-day “Worlds of Flavor International Conference” at the CIA at Greystone campus. You’ll see more on that on the blog tomorrow and the coming days.

  • Hey I was at Bouchon Bakery last Sunday too, though not as early to get a taste of the donutty goodness! 🙂

  • YUM. We just were at Bouchon Bakery for the first time. I was infinitely impressed. I was captivated watching from my side of the big window into the oven room.

    While we were there, they were mostly pulling out dozen after dozen of dinner rolls & stacking them WAY too neatly into a big wicker basket. Running them next door for dinner service, I guess. They were also pulling out some amazing looking pizzas, though I think I heard it was staff meal. Lucky staff – they looked incredible. Full sheet pans full to the edges of what looked like focaccia pizza with all sorts of great toppings.

  • I totally thought that one was a caviar donut for a second there!

  • Alejandra, you weren’t the only one. Single Guy Chef was laughing that he thought they were fish-egg donuts, too!

    And Tony, I think we should start a petition to sway Bouchon Bakery to start selling that pizza. Otherwise, they torture us behind glass with it — we can see it, but we can’t have it. Oh, the pain, the agony, the grumbling tummy….

  • so, are they fried in duck fat then? I know that’s what they use for the french fries at the bistro.

  • Great pic, Carolyn. My mouth is watering . . .

  • These donuts look so delicious…makes me want one…Too bad the only donut shop nearby is a Dunkin’ Donuts Shop. Not exactly of the same quality…

  • Hi Mary Ellen: Even though I think the apple butter donut might actually be pretty awesome fried in duck fat, I checked with the folks at Bouchon and they confirm that they fry both the donuts and their french fries in peanut oil.

  • That looks so decadent and heavenly!

  • I had these doughnuts this weekend, both on Saturday AND on Sunday. I have a feeling they’re easier to come by in the winter, when tourists are kept at bay.
    WOW. The Saturday splurge had to be continued on Sunday at any cost. We were staying close to SF and made a 40-minute journey to Yountville just to taste these doughnuts again. Chocolate was my favorite, followed by the uber-buttery Apple Butter, and lastly the Raspberry jelly. Each one was amazing in its own right.

  • …even the $3 price tag isn’t a deterrent.

  • Whoa, you drove 40-minutes AGAIN just to get more donuts? That’s saying a lot! But then again, I totally agree with you that the chocolate donut absolutely rocks. It’s a good thing I don’t live that close to Yountville or else I’d be eating these beauties all the time.

  • Made it up to the bakery a few weekends ago – tried the raspberry filled donut (chocolate was also on offer but I’m not a real chocolate fan, go figure). I liked the fact it wasn’t terribly sweet. I rarely eat donuts and these are nothing like the usual cheapos from Krispy Kreme and the like. I’d eat this again.

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