Friday, April 10, 2009

SwissBäkers: A New Bakery in Reading

I feel like I recently visited Zurich, Switzerland though I never left Massachusetts. You might feel the same way if you stop by the new SwissBäkers in Reading. This small bakery, located inside the Reading Depot, opened last month and I am very pleased about that. It sells an assortment of delectable and authentic Swiss baked goods and I highly recommend that you stop by and try their wares.

The owners and bakers, Thomas and Helene Stohr, were both born in Switzerland. I had the opportunity to meet both of them, and chat for a time with Thomas. As a small child, Thomas grew up in a bakery and was even put to work there, carrying wood. Much of his adult life was spent working in restaurants and hotels, most recently at the Rain Forest Café. Helene too has plenty of similar experience. So, they both bring much skill and knowledge to this endeavor.

For a time, their baked goods were only available at farmer's markets, supermarkets like Whole Food's, and other small outlets. They also did some catering, including for the Swiss Consulate. But they desired a retail outlet as well and eventually settled on the Reading location. It is certainly easy to find and there is parking right in front of the store.

Their baking philosophy is simple and compelling: Authentic, fresh, and natural. All of their recipes are authentic Swiss, including some recipes gotten from their families. Everything you can buy at the store is fresh, baked that same day. They don't sell any leftovers. They use only natural ingredients without any additives or artifical items. Some of their ingredients include unbleached and unbromated flour, organic sugar, and cage-free eggs. All of their jams and jellies are made with sugar and not corn syrup. Just taste their baked goods and you will know they are fresh and made from quality ingredients.

Their baking philosophy seems to extend beyond baking and into their personal lives as well. I felt that Thomas was authentic and sincere, a man of passion who does something he truly loves. And his desire for a natural life extends beyond just his food. For example, their uniforms are made from organic cotton and they give away large, reusable bags to save on paper. And when you return to the bakery with your bag, they give you a special treat. This is how he was raised in Switzerland. The philosophy is not a gimmick or marketing ploy. It is a cherished belief held by the Stohrs.

Though it is a small store, like many bakeries, they have plenty of different baked goods to select. On my first trip here, I bought an assortment of baked goods and they looked very appealing. I shared them with a group of my friends and they ravenously devoured everything, with many compliments about the taste. I too thoroughly enjoyed all of the items I had bought.

On my second visit, I bumped into one of my friends who had loved the food so much that he had stop in to buy a bunch of items. I have become a regular customer now, telling everyone about this fine bakery. I have yet to hear a single complaint from anyone I have referred there.

What really satisifies me is the freshness of the items plus their delicious taste. I thought the flavors were generally well-balanced, nothing being overly sweet. They sell items including breads, cookies, croissants, pretzels, chocolates and other Swiss baked goods.

They have soft pretzels, in two sizes, and I really liked them. Soft with good flavor and a bit of salt. You can even get a pretzel baguette, a small loaf of bread. You can try a Pajazzo (the Italian word for "clown"), which is an oddly shaped bread that is crisper and lasts longer than a baguette. The Pajazzo also comes With Seeds or as a Dark Pajazzo. There is the Rustico, a multigrain bread, and the Swiss Challah. Maybe my favorite bread is their Zopf, a soft braided bread that is traditionally served on Sundays. It was very tasty, especially if you can get it when it is still warm.

Got a sweet tooth? You have plenty of delicious options. Try a Berliner, which is kind of like a Swiss donut. It is made from a light bread dough which is lightly fried, usually filled, and topped with powdered sugar. The fillings include apple, apricot, blueberry, chocolate, and raspberry. They even have a non-filled, cinammon Berliner (which I really enjoyed). The apple one is filled with a homemade apple sauce which was also quite good.

You can try the Choco Weggli, a roll made from chocolate chips, butter and sugar. This was another item that I really enjoyed, that had just right balance of flavors. It is essentially a chocolate chip roll and should appeal to many. The bakery also has a variety of croissants, including butter, chocolate, raspberry, almond, and ham & cheese. The ham & cheese is flaky, with a very buttery flavor. Another of my favorite items is the Swiss Sin, a soft butter roll with cinnamon and snow sugar. It had just the right amount of sweetness and was absolutely delicious and addictive.

They also have cookies including Leckerli (Swiss honey cookie), Leckerli with chocolate, Swiss Almond Tarte, Swiss Linzer, Swiss Nestli and Coconut Macaroons. The Macaroons were very interesting, and somewhat different from what I usually see. They had almost a flaky exterior, like a meringue, but with a rich and moist interior.

For lunch or dinner, there are other savory options such as sandwiches, soup and quiche. Sandwiches includes salami, swiss cheese, tomato & mozzarella, and tuna salad. Besides this retail, they also do catering for breakfast, midday snacks and lunch.

The store is open Monday-Friday, from 5:30am-7pm and Saturday, from 7am-11am. They are closed on Sunday so the owners have some free time to catch up on all their work. Prices are reasonable for a high quality bakery and you won't be disappointed with whatever you buy. Stop by this bakery and get a taste of Swiss bliss and I bet you will return time and time again.

Reading Train Depot
35 Lincoln St.
Reading, MA
Phone: (781) 354-1155 or 781-354-6989

SwissBäkers on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

adele said...

Mmm... Berliner.

Reading's a bit of a trek from Allston, but maybe if I have time on a weekend, I'll make a trip out there. :)