Let’s play a game called “Pick Your Favorite Austrian.” Let me guess: you’ve gone with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wolfgang Puck, or maybe even Mozart (you’re so classy). Me? I’m going with August Zang.
You see, without Auggie Z., we wouldn’t have croissants and all the other delicious viennoiserie. And then life wouldn’t be worth living.
Long story short, Zang was an Austrian entrepreneur who opened a bakery in Paris in the mid-1830s, introducing them to the kipfel—an Austrian baked good, made with laminated dough. The French, thoroughly impressed by this flakey treat and his steam oven, decided that the best course of action was to add more butter, more sugar, then a little more butter. The croissant was born, and the world was instantly a better place.
St. Louis may not be Paris, but we are in the midst of a pastry renaissance! I’d like to talk to you about four of my favorite St. Louis pastry shops. Welcome to my TED Talk.
And so the St. Louis pastry adventure begins
If you’re looking for a modern French bakery, look no further than La Patisserie Chouquette. You can find the classics—croissants, bostock, macarons—but expect the unexpected, as well. Seasonal flavors make revisits a requirement, and sometimes you’ll find the entire shop has picked a theme for the month. September often has Japanese-inspired goodies, like a matcha and strawberry mille crepe, while October celebrates Harry Potter’s birthday with Golden Snitches and Butterbeer.
Pint Size Bakery focuses more on American-style treats, like cookies, cupcakes, and brownies (plus much more). I just can’t leave without at least one, but preferably twelve, of their oaties—oatmeal creme pies with a marshmallow fluff buttercream. Also, on Saturday mornings, they serve salted caramel croissants (basically a Kouign Amann) and they will melt your mind.
Speaking of Kouign Amann, we need to talk about Nathaniel Reid Bakery. I am in love with this place. This high end French bakery sells everything from macarons to jams to croissants to cakes to breads to sandwiches to…everything. If it’s baked, they probably have it. Don’t let the strip mall location throw you off: one bite of their almond croissant and your day will instantly be ten times better. Maybe even more.
Finally, I need to give a shout out to Kim’s Bakery, St. Louis’ only Korean bakery. Everything they touch is pure gold. Like a traditional Korean bakery, almost all the goods are individually wrapped and set out, so you can just grab a basket and LOAD UP. The whipped cream bun with red bean is an all star, and I also highly recommend you check out the ‘fistbread’ in the display by the register. It’s like a cinnamon roll/bread pudding baby.
For the rest of my pastry picks, check out this list.