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Little Known Gems

L-A bakeries: a half-dozen favorites

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All photos provided by Heather’s Bakery. 

What was once a community fixture in most large neighborhoods in Maine is getting to be somewhat of a rarity: the local bakery.

Fortunately, that’s not the case in L-A. A good number of bakeries rise to the occasion with fresh-baked breads, pastries, donuts, and other calorie-climbers. L-A has a rich history of bakers, actually, as it is home to Country Kitchen and a number of donut shops that sold their goods wholesale to stores and restaurants statewide.

For sheer freshness, taste, and portion size, it’s hard to beat The Italian Bakery, located on Bartlett Street in Lewiston. The donuts are so fresh, it’s a challenge to hold one without leaving a squished dent. It’s all good here: pastries, breakfast breads, éclairs, and other treats are fabulous – and affordable.

Let’s cut to the chase to gourmet, shall we? Heather’s Bakery and Confection Shoppe is a bit hard to find on Center Street (past “auto row”) in Auburn, but well worth the search. Cannolis, fruit-filled turnovers, bombs (concoctions filled with creams, fruits, and other sweets), jelly donut muffins, filled croissants, specialty cakes, raspberry cream bars, coconut mud bars (I don’t know, but it’s got to be good), and on and on.

cake 2.jpgThe closest you’ll get to Parisian boulangerie fare in L-A can be found in Auburn at Dore’s Café. Dore’s, located on 20 Union Street, offers fresh sandwiches and lunches with creative fixings. But it’s the dessert that you must leave room for. Offerings include chocolate tortes, raspberry tarts, chocolate cream tarts, Crème de Mint brownies, and pumpkin whoopee pies (OK, whoopee pies are not particularly Parisian, but darned good anyway).

Labadie’s Bakery is one of the granddaddies of bakeries in town. Established in 1925 and now a 24-hour wholesale operation (their whoopee pies are sold nationally via the Internet and distributed to stores throughout New England), they still make their own donuts, cream horns, and other pastries for sale during normal operating hours. As for donuts, honey-dipped are still their specialty.

Grant’s Bakery (525 Sabattus Street in Lewiston) is another mainstay with a huge selection of pastries, breads, pies, cakes, and cookies. Consistent quality and great taste is an expectation. They also make dynamite pork pies (called tortieres in French), chicken pies, and baked beans (Saturdays only).

Speaking of good deals and generous portions, Governor’s Restaurant isn’t unique to L-A, but it does have a huge selection of baked goods. The size of their pastries, cookies, brownies, and other treats is hard to beat.

Man doesn’t live on bread alone – but if he did, he’d want to be in L-A.