With each tidal wave of fallen leaves, I see winter rapidly approaching. The temperature drops. I shiver in my bathrobe and imagine a warmer, kinder land. What is to be done in such frigid conditions? Shall we simply give into the season and—like the mighty bear which dwells in my backyard—hibernate until Spring?
I say no. There are better things to do, especially in Asheville, the Paris of The South. What I propose is a multi-step plan, formulated by the top Winterology experts, guaranteed to make the most out of your visit to the mountains in these cold times. Step one: carb loading. To that end I have collected my extensive knowledge of bakeries in Asheville, for your reading pleasure.
Smallcakes lies in South Asheville’s Biltmore Park shopping district, at the crossroads of some of the best restaurants and retailers in the area. Their selections are laser-focused: cupcakes and ice cream. Rumor tells though of a cupcake containing ice cream. Surely, such a creation is too sweet for this world.
So far as I know, out of all the bakeries in Asheville, only Smallcakes lies in proximity to both the local Regal Crown Cinema and Luella’s, my personal go-to for barbecue. And while it may be the wrong season for ice cream, little beats going out for a late-autumn movie followed by a half-dozen cupcakes.
My Pick: A red velvet cupcake. Some say red velvet is simply discolored chocolate. This is incorrect. Red has a flavor all its own.
Located in Biltmore Village—a cluster of turn-of-the-century construction south of downtown—this bakery integrates splendidly into its charming surroundings. It is the perfect stop for some fresh-air coffee following afternoon shopping.
That’s not even to mention the deserts. From crème brulee to macaroons, Well-Bred hits every mark one looks for in bakeries in Asheville. And at impressive portions at that.
My Pick: The mountain éclair, so named because it rivals the Blue Ridge in stature. I’m serious: it’s a big eclair. I’m fond of plotting out my hiking trips on its shiny, chocolate shell.
Speaking as the victor in a small-time pie-baking contest, I can tell you that Baked knows its pies. Much like the beloved pizza-pie, dessert-pies are the vehicle for every manner of intriguing ingredients, so its no wonder the bakeries in Asheville needed a member dedicated thereto.
My suggestion is to gather as many of your accomplices as are willing and to order an egregious number of pie-flights. In the sharing of these flights, you will experience such a delicious sonata of pie-flesh that—dare I say it—your taste buds may never be the same again.
Finally, I suggest pairing your pie with coffee. It widens every flavor.
My Pick: Mixed berry. Then again, I would happily pick blind. I’ve never met a pie that I didn’t like, especially from Baked.
Be not deceived by this bakery’s slender sitting room. It is an absolute powerhouse of edible art. And with their addition of outdoor seating, one can now enjoy OWL’s plethora of continental delights (soft-boiled eggs, croque-monsieurs, croissants) alongside Asheville’s invigorating weather.
On top of all that, their beverage menu includes espresso, fine wine, and vinegary seasonal shrubs. Suffice to say OWL has something for every palette and its top-notch execution makes it one of my favorite bakeries in Asheville.
My Pick: A chocolate spiced bun. That is all.
Nestled in downtown’s beating heart, this café’s storefront is slim enough you may miss it. What a shame that would be. Its confines may be rather confining, possibly leading to inadvertent kicks under the table, I consider this a contributor to its charm.
And to be frank, I would put up with any manner of discomfort for just a taste of their Hungarian-inspired desserts. Every time I visit it seems I discover a new and fascinating manner of pastry. Such variety, they say, is the spice of life, and out of all the bakeries in Asheville, Old Europe brings the spice.
My Pick: A pot de crème and a steaming Americano. The cream brings out the subtilties of the espresso.
33 Town Square Blvd U130, Asheville, NC 28803
Well-Bred Bakery and Café (Biltmore Village)
6 Boston Way, Asheville, NC 28803
Baked Pie Company (South Asheville)
4 Long Shoals Rd Suite A, Arden, NC 28704
295 Haywood Rd #4545, Asheville, NC 28806
Old Europe Pastries
13 Broadway St, Asheville, NC 28801