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Season's Eatings

Dec 19, 2016 12:01AM, Published by John Lehndorff, Categories: Lifestyle




It is the week before Christmas and all through my house it’s beginning to feel festive. For some folks, colorful lights matter. Others insist on constant carols, poinsettias, nonstop Lifetime Channel movies, frequent Chia Pet ads, and a decorated potted organic rosemary bush.

I follow seasonal traditions that are good for the soul and the taste buds. Each year a few days before the big day I ritually head out on The Bakery Run. I take my supplements, do some stretches, and hit the road to visit bakeries and markets in the Denver area.

I look forward to good fruitcake (not an oxymoron), mincemeat cookies, and stollen, a buttery fruit bread in a powdered sugar blanket. The actual flavor of these treats is beside the point. They taste to me like December in the early 1960s in the house where I grew up, and the aromas take the expressway to my brain’s pleasure centers. The only thing infusing these baked goods is a high concentration of butter and sugar.

I love that happy-frantic energy of independent bakeries right before the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. My run gives me holiday carte blanche to drink coffee and eat pastries on the way to the next bakery. Nothing beats back the solstice darkness like a flaky chocolate croissant. I pick up treats for Christmas Eve wrapping plus panettone (a yeasted sweet bread) and pastries for Christmas morning along with heavy, dark, chewy Slavic bread because, you know, fiber. At the shops, I keep an eye out for edible ornaments, cool stocking stuffers, and unidentifiable wrapped Russian chocolates. I do this drive with a calm mind, full tank, an empty stomach, and the firm knowledge that I will have to swim laps for a month to compensate.

Bless you if you uphold a tradition of baking certain holiday treats from scratch. We all do our best, but many of us don’t have enough time to do the laundry, never mind bake anything but cookies. If you would like to start your own Bakery Run tradition, here are a few of my favorite holiday baked goods and a few favorite places to find them in the Denver metro area.

{ 1 } The Bagel Store

WHAT TO GET: Pumpkin cake; Rugelach (sweet dough rolled around fillings such as apricot); Almond mandelbrot (dunkable like biscotti); Challah rolls. 942 S. MONACO PKWY., DENVER // 303-388-2648 DENVERBAGELSTORE.COM

{ 2 } City Bakery

WHAT TO GET: Yule logs; Challah rolls; Gingerbread persons; Cranberry orange tea bread; Stollen with rum-soaked fruit and almond paste dipped in butter and sugar. 726 LINCOLN ST., DENVER // 303-292-3989 CITYBAKERYDENVER.COM

{ 3 } Denver Bread Company

WHAT TO GET: Cherry walnut bread; Chewy cookies with crystallized ginger; Salty maple pecan shortbread; Diablo cookies (dark chocolate, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper). 3200 IRVING ST., DENVER // 303-455-7194 THEDENVERBREADCOMPANY.COM

{ 4 } Dolce Sicilia Italian Bakery

WHAT TO GET: Italian cookies (including pignoli); Biscotti; Panettone; Ricotta pie; Sfogliatelle (layered, filled, fried sweet pastry). 3210 WADSWORTH BLVD., WHEAT RIDGE // 303-233-3755 DOLCESICILIABAKERY.COM

{ 5} Gateaux

WHAT TO GET: Frosted butter tea cookies; Bûche de Noël; Gingerbread houses; Snowman cupcakes. 1160 SPEER BLVD., DENVER // 303-376-0070 GATEAUXPASTRIES.COM

{6} Hi Rise Bakery

WHAT TO GET: Gingerbread persons; Gingered Irish soda bread; Sticky toffee pudding with dates and walnuts — also a Sweet Action Ice Cream seasonal flavor; Challah; Bialys. 2162 LARIMER ST., DENVER // 303-296-3656 HIRISEDENVER.COM

{ 7} Izzio Bakery

WHAT TO GET: Panettone; Peppermint cake; Dinner rolls. CENTRAL MARKET, 2669 LARIMER ST., DENVER // 303-657-6111 ETAISCAFE.COM

{ 8} Lucky’s Bakehouse

WHAT TO GET: Italian cheesecake; Frosted holiday cookies; Salted maple chocolate chunk pecan pie; Gluten-free pumpkin cake with meringue and whipped cream. 3960 BROADWAY, BOULDER // 720-596-4905 LUCKYSMARKET.COM

{9} Marczyk Fine Foods

WHAT TO GET: Pecan pie with a lard-butter crust; Baked tree ornaments; Stollen 5100 E. COLFAX AVE., DENVER // 303-243-3355 // 770 E. 17TH AVE., DENVER // 303-894-9499 MARCZYKFINEFOODS.COM

{ 10} Moxie Bread Co.

WHAT TO GET: Kouign-amann pastries with persimmon, mincemeat, and sticky toffee fillings; Panettone; Blue cheese and walnut bread. 641 MAIN ST., LOUISVILLE // 720-350-4710 MOXIEBREADCO.COM

{ 11 } Omononia Bakery

WHAT TO GET: Kourambiedes (powdered sugarcoated cookies); Baklava; Honey cookies.
2813 E. COLFAX AVE., DENVER // 303-394-9333

{ 12} Rheinlander Bakery
WHAT TO GET: Pfeffernuesse cookies (allspice, anise, black pepper); Stollen; Yule logs; Kringle (pastry); Fruit-filled strudel; Springele (anise) cookies; Gluten-free and sugar-free cookies and pastries 5721 OLDE WADSWORTH BLVD., ARVADA // 303-467-1810 RHEINLANDERBAKERY.COM

{ 13} Royal Bakery

WHAT TO GET:
Russian tea cookies; Hungarian-style cheesecake; Poppy seed cake with coffee buttercream; Rum balls; Sweet yeast buns; Babka coffee cake with raisins. 9606 RALSTON RD., ARVADA // 303-940-2065 ROYALBAKERYCO.COM

{ 14 } Taste of Denmark Bakery

WHAT TO GET:
Almond croissant; Coconut macaroons; Kringle; Fruit-filled strudel; Swedish Limpa rye bread with fennel seeds and orange peel. 1901 S. KIPLING ST., LAKEWOOD // 303-987-8283 TASTEOFDENMARK.NET

{ 15} Trompeau Bakery
WHAT TO GET: Bûche de Noël; Cranberry walnutboule; Pear chocolate croissant. 2950 S. BROADWAY, ENGLEWOOD // 303-777-7222  TROMPEAU-BAKERY.COM

//
JOHN LEHNDORFF is the former Dining Critic of the Rocky Mountain News. He hosts Radio Nibbles on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, NEWS.KGNU.ORG/CATEGORY/RADIO-NIBBLES).


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