Are you salivating yet? Wait for it….
1. Sweet Lady Jane
8360 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, California, USA
This upscale bakery makes some of the best lemon meringue tarts, flourless chocolate cake, and cheesebread in the U.S. The decorated cakes are both visual and culinary masterpieces. Grab a seat and enjoy a croissant and coffee, a sandwich, or a scone with a cup of tea.
2. Patisserie 46
4552 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Since establishing Patisserie 46 in 2010, John Kraus has brought sweet magic to Minneapolis, after learning the way of the pastry in Europe and then teaching it at Chicago’s French Pastry School for a decade. From baguette to canelé, from Earl Grey macaron to pain au chocolat, everything is wonderful. As one online reviewer put it, “Either go to Paris, or to Patisserie 46!”
449 Octavia Street, San Francisco, California, USA
This small pastry shop, which is inspired by the patisseries of Paris, packs a delectable wallop. With an emphasis on quality, Miette makes only limited amounts of its goods each day from local and organic ingredients. Some favorite items available here are Parisian macaroons, chocolate éclairs, gingerbread cupcakes, and scrumptious morning buns.
Via Merulana, 54, Rome, Italy
The Panella Bakery has been producing bread since 1920. The family owners make more than 80 varieties. Some of the breads and pastries take inspiration from the Far East and Arabia; others are based on old Roman, Greek, and Sicilian recipes. The bakery has expanded and now includes a café offering an excellent selection of sorbets and juices, as well as traditional pastries that are made nowhere else.
8 rue du Cherche-Midi, Paris, France
Poilâne hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1932. The beautiful loaves of bread decorated with simple designs of leaves and flowers will make you yearn for an all-but-vanished Paris. The apple tarts, butter cookies, and sourdough bread cooked in a wood-burning oven are just some of the heavenly items made here.
24-26 place de la Madeleine, Paris, France
Fauchon is a long-respected food emporium in Paris that is renowned for its high-quality gourmet foods. Its patisserie section surpasses all expectations. The classic Megève marries a satiny mousse with a crispy vanilla meringue. Toasted hazelnuts top lemon cream tarts. And as a pièce de résistance, the Douceur has no equal: It is a three-tiered confection of macerated cherries, mascarpone cream thickened with honey, and milk-chocolate spong cake flecked with nougat.
116 West Houston Street, New York, New York, USA
Pastry chef François Payard became one of the most famous dessert men in America when he opened his patisserie. Upper East Siders and tourists alike flock to sample the delectable confections — cakes, tarts, truffles, and more — in a Belle Epoque-inspired setting.
8. Gérard Mulot Patisserie
76, rue de Seine, Paris, France
The elegant Gérard Mulot Patisserie is as central to the life of the St.-Germain neighborhood as are the fabled cafés. Mulot bakes many of his pastries fresh every few hours, and regulars stop by as many as four times a day. The flaky pastries melt in your mouth, and the cakes and tarts are sinfully rich.
9. Le Grenier à Pain
Paris, France, and beyond
If you’re looking for the best baguette and tarte tatin in Montmartre, there is Le Grenier à Pain. The bakery is run by Michel Galloyer, a star of France’s Académie Culinaire. With an appealingly provincial decor, the breads and cakes are beautifully presented. The almond and apricot bread overwhelm the senses, and chocolate tarts are tastefully commanding.
10. La Brea Bakery
624 South La Brea Avenue Los Angeles,California, USA
Chef Nancy Silverton discovered there were no shortcuts to a tasty, dignified handmade loaf. Made from flour, water, and organic grapes, her starter became her prized possession, allowing her to develop breads with deep, complex flavors, chewy textures, and unique cream-colored interiors. Sold wholesale, La Brea breads can be found in markets all across the U.S., and in select stores in the U.K. and Ireland.
This list originally appeared in The 10 Best of Everything, written by Nathaniel Lande & Andrew Lande for National Geographic Books.