Bouchon Bakery - Proof Heaven Really Exists

The first order of business after arriving in a destination is to scope out the best spot for my morning - and sometimes afternoon - iced coffee and pastry. Some of the smallest, yet most enjoyable, moments from each trip are my early morning strolls to these gems while most of the city is still asleep. In Atlanta it's Highland Bakery, in San Francisco there's La Boulange, and Las Vegas is home to the former all time favorite, Jean Philippe Patisserie. I use the word "former" because it was recently unseated from it's perch by Bouchon Bakery in tiny Yountville, California.

Bouchon Bakery is the patisserie spin off of Thomas Keller's famed French bistro by the same name. It also happened to be the #1 thing I was looking forward to about our visit to Yountville. During our first walk through town, I popped into the bakery for an afternoon snack, and two months of anticipation proved to be totally worthwhile.

I'm a bit of a donut addict, so the natural choice was the chocolate eclair, topped with a pinch of gold leaf. I also am a creature of habit, and proceeded to start each of the next three mornings in Yountville the very same way...

Sure, there are other delectable treats to enjoy at Bouchon Bakery, like macarons, chocolates, and croissants that likely melt in your mouth, but when there's something I like, I usually stick with it. I even opted out of the dessert menu during dinner at Bouchon Bistro, and asked our server if there were any leftover eclairs next door. A few minutes later, two arrived on a plate...

And so it went for the next few days.... An early morning stroll through the town of Yountville, followed by an eclair and iced coffee on the balcony of my hotel room. That is, until my final visit, which came as we were driving back to San Francisco for our flight home. On this morning, an incredible work of art appeared that I had not seen during any of my six other visits to the bakery - 6 visits, 4 days, you do the math - but one that I knew would bring a better understanding of the meaning of life.
Credit: Scott Walnofer

How the Doughnut au Chocolat alluded me for nearly four days is still a mystery, but I truly believe it was fate that steered me to Bouchon Bakery one last time, rather than grabbing breakfast in the airport as originally planned. With the first incredible bite, I knew that no other donut would ever come close to matching this one. In fact, if I had access to a time machine, I'd go back to replace the shout out to Entenmann's with Bouchon Bakery in my wedding vows.

Thankfully, those looking to experience this trip to nirvana don't have to travel to Yountville in order to have it. Bouchon Bakery has expanded to 5 locations, with high hopes for more on the way. In fact, regular watchers of the Today Show might have noticed the former Dean and Deluca on the plaza is the newest outpost in New York City. As if spotting Matt and Savannah wasn't reason enough to head to Rock Center in the mornings...

Enjoy Your Stay

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