This August step outside your comfort zone when it comes to your comfort food. We all grew up loving our mom’s baking, but what if we had the opportunity to try other moms’ baking from around the world? Denver has become quite the cultural hub for food and it doesn’t stop at dessert. Check out these ethnic bakeries around town to reignite your sweet tooth and get acquainted with global goodies.
1Ana’s Norwegian Bakeri
Looking to have a “koselig” time? “Koselig” is a Norwegian word deeply rooted in their tradition and refers to a feeling of coziness and being deeply comfortable. At Ana’s, they are baking with a nostalgic heart for home and encourage others to dive into their culture. Around the shop, you will hear Ana Fanakrå and others speaking Norwegian as the bakery is a popular meet-up for Denver transplants from Norway to dine and indulge in their home dialect. The bakery specializes in Norwegian-style Boller (sweet rolls), Solskinnsboller (cinnamon rolls) and Rosin Brød (raisin bread). They also serve baked breads and cakes. But unlike American pastries, they do not use much sugar. Instead, Norwegian pastries rely heavily on cardamon for flavor. Order online or stop by today.
2Banh and Butter Bakery Café
Brand new to the city this April, Pastry Chef Thoa Nguyen has opened a Vietnamese bakery serving Asian-French-inspired croissants, pastries, mille-crepe cakes, a selection of Banh Mi sandwiches, milk teas and specialty drinks such as Flan Coffee, Egg Coffee and Ube Cold Brew. The shop is quickly becoming known for their Cruffins, a mix between a croissant and muffin, in a variety of flavors like Vanilla Brulee, Strawberry, Matcha, Raspberry Lemon Meringue and Saigon Cinnamon Churro. Their cake flavors offer something a little different than a traditional American bakery—Tasty Thai Tea, Pandan Coconut, Death by Chocolate, Lemon Blueberry, Flan Cupcakes and a seasonal special. The bakery in Aurora is already getting to know locals, hanging a rotation of local artists’ work for sale as decoration for its walls. Stop into their airy, open and peaceful store today to get Banh and Butter.
3Istanbul Café and Bakery
Taste traditional Turkish pastries like Baklava, famous for its fantastic flaky texture. The bakery’s pistachio desserts are made with original, world-renowned Antep pistachios. Whenever possible, Istanbul Café uses local farms and Colorado-made products. If it isn’t Colorado-made though, they go straight to the original source—importing their Baklava straight from the city of Gaziantep, one of the oldest cities on Earth where Anteps are grown. In the bakery, you are likely to hear English, Turkish, Russian and a smorgasbord of other Eastern European languages. Although the food is only Turkish, abiding by centuries-old recipes, the palette is similar to other cuisines as well: Bulgarian, Georgian, Bosnian, Herzegovinian and others. Try any of their pistachio or baklava desserts, a Simit (Turkish bagel), a Börok (filo dough sheets soaked in egg, olive oil, milk and water mixture, then baked), or the bakery’s savory offerings like Tost and Doner. The café is open seven days a week and offers free delivery on orders over $75 so head there now or place your order online to take your tastebuds on a Turkish vacation today.
One bite into these French pastries and you will be dreaming of romantically strolling along the Champs-Élysées. The authentic French flavor is thanks to expert dessert chef Julien Renaut who trained classically in France before finding himself in Denver. Originally, his baking was only for local hotels and restaurants. Perhaps you tried his pastries without knowing it at Denver’s La French, Capital One Café, Le Bilboquet, Boulder’s Brewing Market or Loveland’s Dark Heart Coffee. But in 2020 when business slowed down with the onset of the pandemic, he opened up to the public. Now, anyone can place their order online for croissants, baguettes, éclairs, sponge cakes, scones, muffins and plenty of gluten-free options. A handful of pastries are made fresh daily, but most are frozen right after baking. Simply thaw and enjoy fresh pastries whenever.
5Tokyo Premium Bakery
When most people think of Japanese food, they think of sushi and teriyaki. But what about dessert? Manri Nakayama is serving up fresh bakery items daily at Tokyo Premium Bakery. There are two pastry menus—sweet and savory. If you are looking to sample something sweet, try the Almond Croissant, Custard Donut, Mixed Berries Danish, Red Bean Donut or Fruits Sandwich made with Shokupan bread. Tokyo Premium Bakery is known for its Shokupan, a fluffy milk bread made from scratch daily and available for purchase by the loaf. But, be sure to order ahead of time as this is very popular. If you are looking to dig into some savory bakery, order their Beef Curry Wrapped in Dough, Bacon and Egg Brioche Bite, Bacon Epi, Sausage Wrapped in Brioche or the Tuna and Egg Sandwich. They also make coffee to complete your bakery experience. Try their Japanese specialties like the Houjicha Latte or the Matcha Super Green Tea.