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Bohemian Bakery: A Master of Classic European Pastries in Vermont

By Marina I. Jokic

Nestled in the smallest capital city of the U.S., Bohemian Bakery is a jewel that has been discovered by many Montpelier residents. Sometimes an original recipe is too good to change. That's certainly the motto that Annie Bakst, co-owner of Bohemian, lives by. Adopting classic pastry recipes and using the choicest ingredients have set the bakery apart from its competition. Serving European favorites such as croissants, Danishes, tarts, and puff pastries alongside savory bites and expertly prepared coffee have made this café a local hot spot.

The short but robust selection of espresso beverages at Bohemian Bakery emulates the best of Italian and Parisian cafes. Roasting and blending their own coffee, the bakery makes an extra effort to deliver a punch with every sip.

Owners Annie Bakst and Robert Hunt met in the San Francisco area in 1996. Eventually the couple ended up in Vermont with the idea of opening a wood-fired bread bakery. They discovered the perfect location in the hills north of Montpelier, and that's how their business partnership took root in 2003.

They spent the next ten years baking delicious breads mostly for local co-ops eventually adding pastries and coffee to their menu once a week. Word got around and Bakst's and Hunt's creations became a hot commodity. Overworked, they decided to retire the bread oven in 2014 but press on with the pastries and coffees.

"Our cakes and pastries are made only from the finest ingredients and baked fresh each day; throughout the day, new hot items are coming out from the oven," Bakst said. "Our pastries are European style and are rustic, not sugary."

The savory selection at Bohemian features quiche, spinach and feta and ham and cheese croissants, soups, and sandwiches. Using farm fresh ingredients and making everything on their menu from scratch, Bohemian has earned a stellar reputation. Every morning, big sheets of focaccia are baked, later to be used for sandwiches and soups. There are always meat and vegetarian options.

On to the pastries, Bohemian's menu is a mélange of European specialties. Whether you are in the mood for Spandauer with custard and marzipan, Breton butter cake, or hazelnut cream tart topped with chocolate ganache, chances are this bakery will have all of them. The cakes are equally exquisite and decadent. The Chocolate Bombe, raspberry or strawberry cream cake, and the Metropolitan cake, a take on Tiramisu, are especially popular.

A far cry from the mainstream bakery serving sugar-infused and buttercream-drenched desserts or fondant cakes, Bohemian Bakery uses simple and fresh ingredients that achieve the right level of sweetness and do not wreak havoc on your blood sugar.

"We do not make cupcakes or muffins," Bakst said. "We specialize in fine laminated doughs [like] croissants, tarts and unusual cakes."

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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