While bakeries in the Green Mountain State vary greatly in approach, location, and facilities there is a pervasive and lasting theme among them all. Menus featuring fresh-baked, house-made items crafted with high-quality, local ingredients by talented artisans is clearly a recipe for success. Oh, and serving rich, delicious coffee doesn’t hurt, either.
King Arthur Flour is well-known as a baking supply go-to, but, if you haven’t been by their mid-state brick-&-mortar outpost since 2012, you have got to check them out. Their $10 million expansion features a state of the art bakery, café, and an adjacent retail store. With an emphasis on fresh, from flour to sausage, King Arthur Bakery has some of the best chow around.
Alison Lane and Andrew Silva, graduates of the New England Culinary Institute, have both trained around the world, including places like Boston, Dallas, Reims, France, Newport Beach, California, and London, England. Eventually, they returned to the tranquil rolling hills of the Green Mountain State and Vermont’s Queen City to open Mirabelles in 1990. Breakfast includes brioche French toast, homemade biscuits and popovers, and smokehouse maple-cured bacon.
La Brioche is Vermont's capital city at the New England Culinary Institute. A European-style cafe, La Brioche is, or course, known for their pastries, but, as you may expect from the New England Culinary Institute, they have all the fancy coffee equipment of a large food-based institution, too, and they are not afraid to use it. You can also watch your order being prepared right before your eyes, as you can see student chefs in action through glass as you walk in.
Established 2010, Sticky Fingers Bakery offers fresh, daily-made pastries, ice cream, cookies, bread—like Challah bread or crusty Italian. With a cornucopia of breakfast pastries, all made-from-scratch every morning, you’ll have a hard time choosing just one. On top of that, Sticky Fingers offers a dessert section that will make your jaw drop, featuring delectable cakes and tarts at the base of Mount Snow.
Baba À Louis is perhaps best known for its freshly-baked breads, and the smell said bread baking in brick ovens is pervasive the second you walk in the door. But the bakery also offers an array of pastries—the chocolate croissant is to die for—cakes, quiches, soups, sandwiches, Sunday brunch, and Friday evening pizza. Baba makes its home in a wonderfully restored old barn off Vermont Route 11 that is flooded with natural light and designed by the owner. The bakery’s founder, John Louis McLure opened his establishment in 1977 and later, in 1993, wrote “Baba À Louis Bakery Bread Book,” containing all his original recipes. The official business name, hence, is in homage to John, his original bakery, and his French heritage, as Baba À Louis is French for “Cake by Louis.”
At Klinger’s, they know bread, and their exclusive and unique starter is a closely guarded secret. It reportedly takes up to 18 hours alone just to ferment and 30 hours from starter to crusty bread. The upshot is a chewy crust with powerful flavors, and spicy, biscuit aromas. Moreover, there are never any oils, dairy, additives or preservatives used in the making of their award-winning crusty bread. You can try their bread, pastries, cakes and more at their café, or you can order online and have that crusty goodness shipped right to your door.
Everything at Amy’s is made from scratch, which, if you haven’t noticed, is kind of a theme with great bakeries. Offering a plethora of European-style pastries, cake, and artisan bread, like sourdough, baguettes, and ciabatta, Amy's has got something for everyone, including fresh salads and sandwiches, as well as vegetarian offerings.
Like so many bakeries in the bucolic Green Mountain State, Red Hen believes in pure, uncomplicated ingredients transformed by skilled artisans. Established In 1999 on Vermont Route 100 in the Mad River Valley of Vermont, Red Hen is owned by Randy George, a baker by trade, and Eliza Cain. Originally a fresh bread baking and delivery business out of Duxbury, Red Hen recently moved to the neighboring town of Middlesex and a newly constructed facility with an attached café. Banking on its bread fame, which includes a staggering list that includes the following: Dark rye, seeded baguette, ciabatta, olive bread, pain au levain, and more.
For over a decade, every morning the smell of fresh bagels, delicate sweets, and steamy, fresh-roasted coffee floods Cottage Street. Quiche, Danish, cheesecake, and macaroons all tempt Barre's early morning risers and, the bakery also makes cakes and desserts made to order. For the savory lover, take-away meals include lasagna, whole roasted chicken, pot roast, meatloaf, eggplant parmesan, roast pork and shepherd's pie, and about 15 other selections.
Husband and wife team Ben and Sarah Wood are the purveyors of freshly roasted coffee and sweet and savory smells in this small, quintessential New England town. Toward noon, the scent in the air shifts to baking bread and roasted meats and vegetables. A small-batch, craft bakery, the focus is cakes and pastries with locally sourced ingredients. The kitchen, offering soups, sandwiches, and house-made condiments, dressings, and sauces, sticks to the same mantra: “If you want to know what’s in it just ask—we make it all in house.”
While bakeries in the Green Mountain State vary greatly in approach, location, and facility, clearly there is no compromise on ingredients and artisanal craftsmanship. So, use this top 10 list to get out and try some of Vermont’s finest bakeries today, or make your own list. Just beware, you might keep coming back.