Croissant Cultural Experience: Six International Bakeries to Try in Greater Seattle
By Jackie Friedman Mighdoll
When my kids were really little, we didn’t give them much sugar. But I have a sweet tooth and a weak spot for bakeries. My kids have caught on, and in the last few years, I’ve had fun sharing this joy with them. Recently, we've been doing a mini world tour of our favorite local bakeries -- after all, there’s nothing like a good treat to inspire some language learning.
1. For French pastries, we have so many amazing places to choose from. My first stop is Ines Patisserie in Madison Valley. It has the feel of a small neighborhood with Nora, the owner, behind the counter and baking up authentically buttery croissants and French macaroons.
2. For a bigger bakery, head over to West Seattle to Bakery Nouveau and pick up award-winning baguettes and a double-baked almond croissant that I recommend sharing.
3. If you’re at Pike Place Market, you can sample a Russian treat at Piroshky Piroshky. It’s a couple doors down from the original Starbucks — and you’ll smell their pastry as soon as you get near. I like the smoked salmon-pate versions, but I’ve seen people agog over the cinnamon apple ones.
4. Dessert isn’t a traditional part of Chinese dinner, but Hong Kong bakeries are masters of the not-too-sweet cake. The cake is light and spongy and often topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. My favorite place for strong English milk tea and Hong-Kong-style cake is Regent Bakery and Cafe in Bellevue. My kids recommend having their fried rice first and then spending time at the counter making the critical cake decisions.
5. Japanese bakeries take the best of the French and improvise creating flavor combinations to swoon over. Think dark chocolate and green tea — and make your way to Fuji Bakery in the International District. One of my many favorites is the chestnut levain. If you go on a Friday or Saturday, they also have special weekend breads that are a bit pricey but a delicious splurge.
6. For those who would like a place to practice their Spanish, the Salvadorean Bakery in West Seattle is a great destination. You can have a full meal there. Start with their pupusas and finish with tres leches cake. ¡Qué rico!
I’d love to find other places to explore. Anyone have a favorite German or Swedish bakery to recommend? Do tell!
Jackie Friedman Mighdoll is the founder of Sponge, which offers language classes for young children from newborn through elementary school. She and her family also love reading and eating their way around the world.