Sonoma County's bakeries and patisseries are known for crafting delicious baked goods. Enjoy your coffee with fresh pastries, cakes, pies, tarts, or savory baguettes at one of these wonderful cafes in wine country. You'll also find outdoor patios with great views.
“A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Thou.” That pretty phrase was made famous by Persian poet Omar Khayyám in the 12th century, as an idea of what the perfect life could include. Well, Sonoma County certainly has the wine. And here are some of our favorite places for a beautiful loaf of bread. Now, all we need is thou.
You can smell the fragrant aromas of fresh-from-the-oven breads as soon as you approach the gleaming glass doors. It’s a little taste of Scandinavia, with hard-to-find-anywhere-else specialties like Volkenbrot (whole rye bread), dinkelbrot (spelt bread), and kernebrod (traditional Danish rye).
But melt-in-your-mouth croissants are superb in any language, as are seeded baguettes, French country wheat, Pane Franchese, sourdough flutes, and seeded sourdough.
On the sweeter side, the kitchen adds a treasure trove of spices, baked right in, for cookies, cakes (German chocolate is the bomb), scones (we love the ginger flavor), and breads like sinful cinnamon raisin. Fancier bites include Framboise chocolate cake slathered in raspberry sauce, and in a nod to modern tastes, you can request gluten-free and vegan recipes, too.
Details: 6760 McKinley St. (in The Barlow), Sebastopol, 707-829-8101. Also at 1445 Town and Country Drive, Santa Rosa, 707-527-7654 .
A Healdsburg institution since 1923, the European-style bakery specializes in sourdough, rustic batards, and sweet French bread, plus crunchy-crust ciabatta, multigrain loaves fermented with a touch of molasses, and many other recipes that take 24 to 48 hours to craft.
Many people eat the bread plain or simply smeared with creamery butter, but you can also get the slices as sandwiches, like salami, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese and aioli, or as part of an all-day breakfast, where all plates include a bottomless Costeaux toast basket tempting with a variety of specialty breads.
Don’t miss the gorgeous sweets, either – graceful fondant cakes finished in buttercream swirls and chocolate flowers, seasonal fruit tarts, gooey éclairs, cookies, and house-made candies. This is a wonderful place to sit on the patio, too.
Details: 417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-1913.
The recipes here have been family treasures since 1956, and have survived in their delicious glory even as the café has changed hands over the years.
What keeps everyone coming back for more are the original sourdough and sweet French breads, the decadent pastries, and signatures like nearly two dozen flavors of croissants.
Moon pie Danish is magical, as are cranberry scones, apple strudel and apricot buttercream coffee cake. Linger over all-day breakfast like crepes, lunch like croquet monsieur, and be sure to order a treat for your pup on the dog-friendly patio.
Details: 460 First St. E., Sonoma, 707-935-7687.
Yes, it’s that Boudin, of San Francisco sourdough fame, and now there’s an outlet in Santa Rosa, too. The Montgomery Village location keeps the classics, like that famous sourdough fashioned into a bowl and brimming with clam chowder, tomato, or butternut squash soup, or beef chili. You can get burgers on a baguette, pizza on sourdough crust, sandwiches of all kinds on fresh baked breads, and overstuffed grilled cheese combos like brie with apples and fig jam. Patio seating is peaceful, and a great way to start the day with an al fresco breakfast of sourdough French toast.
Details: 2345 Midway Drive, Santa Rosa, 707-303-4100.
We might start simply with how to find this bakery. Follow Highway 12 about five miles past Sebastopol toward Bodega Bay, then journey up a steep hill after which you will descend into a beautiful valley. Turn right on Bohemian Highway and follow your nose to the wood-fired brick oven where bread master Jed Wallach churns out a dozen different kinds of organic, sourdough-based breads daily along with whipping crème scones, sticky buns, cheese fougasse, goat cheese flat bread, the Bohemian loaf (apricot, orange and pecan), the Egyptian loaf (pear, fig and candied ginger) and biscotti.
Relax and munch awhile in the lovely organic garden next to the open fields and barns, sipping a delicious coffee drink. Then, when something smells wonderful (it will), simply venture back into the bakery, to work your way through free samples and decide which delight you’ll buy next.
Details: 140 Bohemian Highway, Freestone, 707-874-2938.
This little hideaway amid the majestic old growth redwoods on the Russian River is one of West County’s best-kept secrets.
It’s an Inn, but also an enclave of great baking, turning out a jaw-dropping, mouthwatering array of baked-fresh-daily breads like rustic baguettes, traditional French, Pugliese, seeded sourdough, and French sourdough.
Depending on the whims of the baker-owners Mark and Elizabeth Weiss, there may be garlic-rosemary and kalamata olive-rosemary loaves, Parmesan focaccia, New York deli rye, 9–grain whole wheat, Italian ciabatta, onion rolls, or breads like buttermilk potato, semolina raisin, pumpernickel rye, and cinnamon-raisin swirl.
Then, there are lavish temptations of muffins, cinnamon rolls, buttermilk blueberry scones, croissants, lemon bars, apple coffeecake, cookies, fruit tarts, turnovers, fougasse, double chocolate brownies, biscotti, palmiers, Danish and so much more that your belly is guaranteed to rumble just thinking about it.
Sit outside and soak in the amazing beauty — it’s true the great outdoors makes everything taste even better.
Details: 5400 Cazadero Highway, Cazadero, 707-872-7323.
You know you need a towering, multi-tiered cake in shocking hues of lime green frosting, perhaps decorated with Day of the Dead characters. Or maybe a gold leaf wedding cake, or a cake shaped like a hot rod sports car and finished in cherry red ganache.
Fortunately for you, bakery owner and cake god Javier Lopez can deliver. His shop specializes in Mexican-inspired fantasies, not just whimsical-to-ravishing cakes, but also breads, pastries, cookies, and more, waiting to be plucked up from the display case with tongs and taken home to be cherished with coffee or chocolate caliente (hot chocolate).
Details: 18981 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, 707-996-8600.
Whether it's traditional Western and Asian baked goods or the new and innovative tastes that owners Doug Quick and Tony Tam have developed, the emphasis at East Wind Bakery is on using quality ingredients to create tasty, satisfying delights.
Just a few of the choices include Japanese-style milk bread, the highly popular Chinese BBQ pork Kim Chi croissants, garam masala-spiced sweet buns, or conventional western cupcakes.
East Wind serves breakfast and lunch, with sandwiches served on their house made breads and croissants. Choose from a selection of coffees, teas, and other beverages from around the world; the Sea Foam Coffee includes Asian spices and a sweet-salty whipped cream.
Details: 3851 Sebastopol Road #109, Santa Rosa, 707-709-6098.
Enjoy slow-cooked steak and cheese pie, sausage rolls, and other traditional New Zealand baked goods at the BurtoNZ Bakery in Windsor. Owners Warren and Bobbi Burton advertise it as Windsor's first and only New Zealand-style artisanal bakery.
The menu includes savory items, like steak pie topped with mashed potatoes or a breakfast pie stuffed with bacon and eggs. Or, munch on sweets such as pastry-encased custard squares topped with icing, cream-stuffed baked donuts, or lamingtons — little sponge cakes coated in chocolate, then dipped in coconut.
A native of New Zealand, Warren Burton met his wife Bobbi in Sonoma County. They married in New Zealand, and ran a bakery there before moving back to California in 2001. They opened BurtoNZ Bakery in December 2014.
Details: 9076 Brooks Road S., Windsor, 707-687-5455
People come from all over to visit this artisan bakery and European style café, housed in the circa-1860 U.S. Bakery Building in downtown Petaluma. The name Della Fattoria means “of the farm,” and their breads, pastries, and all of their foods have roots in the soil of their farm on the west side of Petaluma. The bakers pride themselves on good, slow food that honors “place” and the surrounding culture and culinary bounty.
For breakfast, try the Ranch Gordo beans on toast (puréed cannellini beans, chevre, roasted garlic, olives, and olive oil on rosemary Meyer-lemon toast). If you prefer a more traditional start, try the corned beef hash and eggs, or a breakfast sandwich with a poached farm egg, cheddar cheese, ham, and mayo on fresh-made bread.
Details: 141 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, 707-763-0161.
Find more info about restaurants in Sonoma County.