Holidays just aren’t the holidays without some decadent goodies! If you’re not the baking type, or just don’t have time in this busy season, here are a couple local spots that will keep the sweets in your season.
117 E. Branch St., Arroyo Grande 481-7654, eclairbakery.com | Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
This charming spot in the Village of Arroyo Grande isn’t showy from the outside, but it’s definitely bursting with flavor on the inside.
Owner and pastry chef Jeremy Davenport took over the existing establishment in 2006, equipped with a degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and apprentice experience at the upscale Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara.
Since then, he’s rolled out his own touch to the bakery, from his European-style pastries to personalized creations for special occasions, all of them crafted with a commitment to “using allnatural ingredients such as real butter and eggs, and high-quality flour.”
Everyday temptations in the alluring display cases typically range from fruit turnovers and cheese Danishes, to chocolate chip cookies and vegan cupcakes , to just-sweet-enough scones and crusty baguettes.
For the holidays, that list expands to include deepdish pumpkin, pecan, apple, cherry and blueberry pies, as well as time-honored classics such as Red Velvet cake and Bûche de Nöel (yule log).
“Any special orders are certainly always welcome,” said Davenport, adding that it’s “never too early to get your holiday orders in.”
Colby Jack Café & Bakery featuring Cassie’s Custom Cakes
6005 El Camino Real, Atascadero 462-CAKE (2253), http://www.cassiescustomcakes.com | Hours: Tuesday-Friday 7 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday-Monday 7 a.m.-noon.
Two of Atascadero’s tastiest spots are now under one roof as “Colby Jack Café & Bakery featuring Cassie’s Custom Cakes.” It’s a mouthful to say, but your sweet tooth will thank you after a visit to their Carlton Hotel location.
Colby Jack (owned by Jack and Natalie Dorris) had already made the move from another El Camino Real location in November 2011; Cassie Hunt joined them in February.
Both businesses brought with them a reputation for tempting treats, and their combined lineup runs the full gamut from savory to sweet. Choose from croissants to dinner rolls, from muffins to bear claws, or order custom cakes and cupcakes for any occasion.
Though they’re also available throughout the year, the bakery’s pies really take center stage at this time of year. (Many will be on hand daily, but advance orders are always recommended.)
Made by Hunt’s mother, Virginia Griffard, the 9-inch deep-dish delights include all the usual holiday offerings such as pumpkin, pecan and apple, plus flavors such as custard, banana crème and lemon meringue.
“The crust is an old family recipe,” said Hunt, “and they’re all rolled out by hand — they’re really made with love.”
Vina Robles Chocolate Festival
If you need a personal chocolate fix before the holidays arrive, check out the Chocolate Festival on Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Vina Robles Winery hospitality center.
Local wineries, restaurants and chocolate vendors will be on hand to share an array of chocolate and chocolate-related items. Tickets are $25/per person; $20 for Wine Club members. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Project Hope & Fairness, a San Luis Obispo-based nonprofit that works with cocoa farmers to promote sustainability and adopt fair trade cocoa practices.
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at email@example.com.