I believe I was 10 when I first visited Napa Valley…and I haven’t returned since. However, within the last three years, I was introduced to Bouchon Bakery and The Model Bakery through the books authored by the owners, Thomas Keller and Karen and Sara Mitchell. Both books are beautiful, so I’ve been wanting to visit the shops for a while. I can now say that I recommend the following:
Pain aux raisins, Bouchon Bakery
I decided to do a little comparison between Thomas Keller’s PAR and the PAR from Flour Bakery, my favorite bakery in Boston. It’s a tie. I like TK’s croissant dough as the pain but enjoy the golden raisin from Flour Bakery more than the intense, dark raisins in TK’s. Overall, TK’s is sweet with a nice, flaky croissant dough, but his lacks pastry cream, which I consider one of the highlights.
TKO, Bouchon Bakery
It took me forever to figure out what TKO stood for: Thomas Keller Oreo. I didn’t know what to expect when I bit into the cookie, but I’ll tell you that I could have eaten more than one. The frosting isn’t really the highlight, like it is for the Oreo. Rather, the cream complements the super-intense dark chocolate cookie. Not crunchy, not soft, somewhere in between. Definitely would eat again.
Pain aux chocolat, Bouchon Bakery
I’m not a fan of PAC on principle because I prefer fruit in my pastry. Padre liked it, though, and that says something.
Strawberry Tart, Bouchon Bakery
I only ate the strawberries and cream, but those two alone sold me. The strawberries were bright, both in taste and color. Nothing like the usual fruity mush I hate in pastry. The pastry cream was SUPER good. TK should have thrown it into his PAR, if you ask me.
Lemon brûlé, The Model Bakery
Honestly, not my favorite. The lemon curd is too lemon-y, but that’s personal preference because I favor my pastry on the sugar-y side. The tart shell is good, though.
Blueberry scone, lemon bar, The Model Bakery
Hands down my new favorite bakery for scones. I think the scones are better than the ones at Flour! (Keep that on the DL.) Lemon bar was more my pace—plenty of sugar to balance out the tartness.
Raspberry croissant, The Model Bakery
My favorite way to eat this? tearing off the corners and dunking them into the personal pot of raspberry jam in the center 🙂
Happy eating, friends!