Bouchon Bakery is Thomas Keller's most casual concept in Yountville.
Over his storied career, with restaurants like The French Laundry and Per Se, Thomas Keller has gained a reputation as America’s grand master of high-end cuisine. Thankfully for food lovers, Mr. Keller is also a proponent of simpler culinary pleasures, so not everybody has to spend hundreds to experience his offerings. In Yountville alone, he has the Lyonnaise style bistro, Bouchon, and his latest simple triumph, Ad Hoc. In 2003, he treated Napa Valley residents (and curious gastrotourists) to Bouchon Bakery, offering an array of baked delights. Here’s a shot of the bakery’s exterior, the sun still low in the eastern sky.
Bouchon Bakery fills their pastry counter with gorgeous stacks of croissants, bear claws, scones, muffins, cookies and more. With so many tantalizing choices, it took awhile to decide.
The bakery’s back wall touts several bread varieties: baguettes, loaves, rings and rolls.
This swath of counter space hosted mammoth triangles of quiche Florentine, chocolate-filled chocolate-glazed donuts and the bakery’s signature pastry, a cork-shaped brownie-like bouchon.
Bouchon Bakery houses no tables, but an outside patio is perfect for a morning pastry and coffee or chai. Don’t worry about spilling crumbs. There are always plenty of birds on hand for easy clean-up.
A feathery citrus pistachio brioche came flecked with nuggets of candied citrus.
A sensational almond chocolate croissant lined with shaved almonds featured a luscious marzipan core. A chocolate bouchon, sported a thin crust and velvety interior.
The bakery’s take on the Nutter Butter was about three times the size of the original, with a nice chew.
The cheese danish and coffee cake yielded mixed results. A flaky pastry cradle for lemon cream cheese and studs of crystallized orange highlighted the danish. The coffee cake was a little dry, but had surprising chocolate ribbons and a flavorful streusel top.
The moist pecan sticky bun featured a light caramel glaze. The cornmeal financier was like a good cornbread muffin, with a slightly sweet, partially caramelized cap.
I was happy with the pastries at Bouchon Bakery, and with so many more options, I never even got to the breads, macaroons, tarts or sandwiches. Everything I ate was good to great, except for the leaden coffee cake, and I would happily return two more days straight on my next visit to Napa Valley.