Julia Child once said, "People who love to eat are always the best people." Whether you prefer sweet or savory, here are the 12 bakeries around the world you have to visit.
1. ARISTON // ATHENS, GREECE
Ariston, tucked behind Athens’ famous Syntagma Square, has been serving up Greek pies since 1910, so you know they’re doing something right. Their specialty is kourou, a flaky, buttery half moon-shaped pastry filled with feta cheese, though other pies filled with veggies like zucchini, peppers, spinach, and mushrooms are also available.
2. TAI CHEONG // HONG KONG, CHINA
Hong Kong bakeries are known for their egg tarts, a baked confection that pairs egg custard with a small, light pastry shell. Some of the best are found at Tai Cheong, which famously counts Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last British governor, amongst its biggest fans.
3. LADURÉE // PARIS, FRANCE
There are many bakeries to choose from in Paris, but one of the grand dames of the City of Lights is Ladurée. Founded in 1862, the world-famous bakery keeps the 19th century vibe going with its old-fashioned, luxurious interior design. The food, though, is the main draw, with the some of the best-known macarons in France.
4. EL-ABD // CAIRO, EGYPT
One of Cairo’s most famous bakeries, El-Abd offers an assortment of local favorite treats, including roasted nuts, basbousa, kahk, and konafa. Also a huge draw: their ice cream, though note that you could be standing in line for a while to get a scoop.
5. MAISON CHRISTIAN FAURE // MONTREAL, CANADA
Montreal is practically bursting at the seams with bakeries, cafes and chocolate shops—as cities go, it’s one that poses a serious threat to one’s waistline. Located in picturesque Old Montreal, Maison Christian Faure is a French-style patisserie that offers pastries—their éclair Paris-Brest is the most popular item—alongside salads and sandwiches, for those who need something a little more filling. There’s also a pastry school, with classes geared toward aspiring professionals, “serious amateurs,” and “little bakers.”
6. JASON'S BAKERY // CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Jason Bakery’s founder Jason Lilley whets his loyal customers’ appetites by hopping on Instagram each Saturday to post pictures of the custom “Doughssant” (a donut and croissant hybrid) available that day. In the past, flavors have included chocolate crème and Kit Kat, Mojito, and cinnamon and vanilla sago pudding with apricot jam. Hop in line early, or you might miss out.
7. LILIHA BAKERY // HONOLULU
Hawaii’s Liliha Bakery has been churning out baked goods for locals and visitors since 1950, but in 1990, then-chief baker Kame Ikemura fiddled around with an existing recipe and created Liliha’s most beloved item: the coco puff. According to the official Liliha website, they sell between 4800 and 7200 of these chocolate-filled pastries every day, baking steadily from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m. just to keep up with demand. Who cares about a beach body when there’s chocolate to be eaten?
8. PANADERÍA ROSETTA // MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
The New York- and London-trained chef Elena Reygadas founded two of Mexico City’s best-loved culinary destinations: the Italian restaurant Rosetta and its companion bakery, Panadería Rosetta. In fact, the latter came from the former: Customers and local restaurateurs enjoyed Rosetta’s bread so much that they kept asking if they could buy it separately, and Panadería Rosetta was born. Their breads and pastries—including baguettes and cinnamon rolls alongside Mexican favorites like conchas and bollos—are artisanal and “entirely hand made—ovens and mixers are the sole machines that come into play.”
9. ESCRIBÀ // BARCELONA, SPAIN
Family-owned for four generations, Escribà went from being a modest operation founded by a former coal deliveryman to one of Barcelona’s finest bakeries. Now, with three locations across the city, Escribà boasts inventive cakes and chocolate sculptures courtesy of its owner and world-renowned pastry chef Christian Escribà. It’s not cheap, but it’s not every day a bakery can pull off exploding cakes and chocolate stilettos.
10. CAFE SPRÜNGLI // ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
“Chocolate” may be the first food that comes to mind when you think of Switzerland, but Zurich’s Café Sprüngli is known for its Luxemburgerli, a smaller, lighter variety of macaron. That doesn't mean they can't also nail Swiss chocolate. The Sprüngli family, in fact, is connected with one of the world’s most famous chocolate brands. Founder and chocolatier Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann, after his 1892 retirement, passed his chocolate empire down to his sons in two parts: David Robert got the stores, while Johann Rudolf got the chocolate factory, which he expanded by partnering with a chocolatier whose last name you probably know: Rodophe Lindt.
11. BISCOTTIFICIO INNOCENTI // ROME, ITALY
Rome’s Biscottificio Innocenti doesn’t have the variety of some of the other bakeries on the list, but what they do, they do well. And what they do is Italian cookies. (“Biscotti” is the general Italian word for cookies; it doesn’t refer to a single type, like it does elsewhere.) Founded in 1920, Biscottificio Innocenti sells 50 types of biscotti per day. Their most famous variety, however, is the oddly named “brutti ma buoni” (translation: “ugly but good”), which feature “lumpy mounds of nuts in a chewy meringue.”
12. CONFEITARIA COLOMBO // RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Downtown Rio de Janeiro’s Confeitaria Colombo isn’t just a bakery; it’s also an Historic and Artistic Heritage site and a “’belle époque’ symbol” of the city, and has been visited by Queen Elizabeth II of England, King Albert of Belgium, and a host of Brazilian presidents since its founding in 1892. Less royal customers can still nibble on tarts and pastries surrounded by massive Belgian mirrors with a giant stained-glass window up above.