Edited by Multimedia Producers Sara Hayden and Cecilia Wong

As a college town, Berkeley has (dare we say it) almost too many pastry places. We decided to, um … take one for the team and check a few of them out for those who are pastry-inclined.

Nabolom

Located on College Avenue, “just as you start getting into the cute part of the neighborhood” quipped Clogger Jillian Wertheim, Nabolom is a co-op bakery which is certified as one of the greenest food-industry business. As their eco-friendly nature suggests, they also have many options that are vegan, wheat-free or gluten-free. They offer an assortment of croissants, danishes, cookies and something called the “brown sugar snail,” which is a must-have for next time. Not only can you get day-old discounted pastries (though they might be a bit stale), they also have a pretty bad*** name: Nabolom actually means “House of the Jaguar” in a Mayan language.

We tried:
- The “Famous Cinnamon Twist”
Described by Jillian as having the “perfect balance of sugar and spice” (and presumably everything nice), the pastry was loaded with “indulgent” — a.k.a. unhealthy — amounts of butter.

Crixa Cakes

A rather unique bakery which focuses on European desserts, Crixa Cakes is located on Adeline Street near Shattuck Avenue. Jillian helpfully described some of the complicated sounding desserts for us, such as “bulochki—russian tea buns, plum kifli—a jam-filled Hungarian pastry, [and] vatroushka—a russian version of cheesecake.” If you don’t have an insatiable sweet tooth like we do, you can always enjoy a savory pirog or khachapuri. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, they also have snickerdoodles and Boston cream pie.

We tried:
- The almond cake with raspberry
The cake was “light” and “fluffy” while the raspberry jam served as the perfect accent to round off this tasty bite, or as Jillian admitted, “Okay, maybe it’s enough for two or three bites—four if you’re really savoring it.”

Virginia Bakery
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Virginia Bakery is located in North Berkeley on Shattuck. As we walked towards the door, the bakery was emanating this enticingly sweet (possibly cinnamon) smell. There’s not much in the bakery itself — just two small tables in the corner. But what it lacks in furniture, it makes up for in treats. It has all your basic pastry needs, ranging from fruit tarts to danishes, and they all look divine.

We tried:
- The chocolate croissant
Surprisingly good, it definitely surpassed your basic croissant. The chocolate was much richer, almost fudge-like, providing it with a distinct and delicious taste. It didn’t hurt that it was practically oozing with chocolate, unlike most chocolate croissants which have only two small pieces in the middle. Overall, a great execution of a classic pastry.

Sconehenge

All the way over on Shattuck and Stuart Street, Sconehenge doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you go in it’s pretty cozy. It’s a café, so it has a full breakfast and lunch menu, but if you stick with the scones, you can buy a pack of four at select Whole Foods if you end up enjoying them. And of course: the name. If you’ve read the Clog, you know how in love with puns we are, so it should be obvious why this place is automatically awesome.

We tried:
- The blueberry scone
The scone, unlike most of its brother scones, did not have the unfortunate problem of being too dry. It had great flavor, though the texture (it wasn’t very flaky) was a bit different than we have previously experienced.

- The carrot zucchini muffin
The muffin was very moist, and they didn’t skimp out on the carrot and zucchini — you can actually see chunks of them in the muffin.

La Farine Bakery

This “quaint” bakery located on College and Alcatraz Avenue is wonderfully decorated with a lovely dining room table. They don’t limit themselves either; they feature a wide variety of treats ranging from baguettes to fruit tarts to cupcakes. But let’s get to the good stuff.

We tried:
- The morning bun
Described succinctly by Ricardo Barton as “a-freakin-mazing,” the morning bun was a “divine” sugar-coated pastry filled with “cinnamony goodness.”

- The coffee cake
An interesting twist on the classic coffee cake, La Farine’s sweet interpretation featured blueberries on top.

- The croissant
“Flaky and buttery and sinful and deelish.” All the things that a croissant should be.

The Clog Adventures: Pastry Crawl [YouTube]
Earlier: The Parks and Recreation Edition



Comments:
Michelle said:
Jul 15, 2011 at 10:54 am

You left out some very big places of pastry (plus I disagree Berkeley has a lot of pastry places–most of them are in coffee shops and from the same baking companies). What about Sweet Adeline or Masse, or even The Bread Workshop on University?



Diana Newby said:
Jul 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Thanks for the tips, Michelle. Sweet Adeline is indeed worth a visit; and we actually stopped by Masse for our crawl but were asked not to write about the shop. It was implied that the Clog wasn’t worthy of covering their goods.



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