Food & Drink: Holiday treats

Follow your nose to Marin’s celebrated bakeries

By Tanya Henry

Marin is blessed with many things—not the least of which is a generous helping of better-than-average bakeries. Whether it’s a gluten-free caramelized bourbon apple pie or flaky morning buns, holiday treats abound in these indulgent times.


The San Rafael outpost of this worker-owned cooperative is in full holiday mode. Both savory and sweet items are on the menu—look for Bourbon Pecan Pies, Sweet Potato Pie, Buttermilk and Honey Whole Wheat Rolls and Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing. Special Chanukah Jelly Donuts or Sufganiyot are coming, and the most special treat of all are fruitcakes that have been in the works since August. Three batches of these tasty cakes soaked in brandy and chock-full of nuts, dried cherries, pineapple, papaya and currants will be ready in December.

M.H. Bread & Butter

It’s worth braving the long lines (well, except maybe the weekend lines) for every item at San Anselmo’s M.H. Bread & Butter. Some special goodies to look for this season include Pumpkin Morning Buns, Pumpkin Cheesecake and a Chocolate Babka Cake. Plenty of seasonal cookies and bars are also in the works, and online ordering is an option.

Flour Chylde Bakery

For non-wheat eaters, the options seem to be growing exponentially. Flour Chylde in downtown Novato has been serving up its delicious gluten-free offerings for more than 10 years. In time for the holidays, a Pumpkin Buche de Noel filled with a fluffy cranberry filling is on the menu, along with Cherry Almond Pie and a Rustic Orange Torte. Next month, look for a Chocolate Brioche Log and Peppermint Bark—all sans gluten, of course.

Rustic Bakery

For an upscale, more-than-a-bakery experience, a visit to Rustic Bakery’s Larkspur Landing (Marin Country Mart) location is in order. The all-white space with glistening cases full of luscious organic pastries and freshly baked breads is a food lover’s dream. Specialty gift baskets, handmade sugar cookies and glazed spiced gingerbread tiles are all available, and Rustic boasts multiple locations throughout Marin. Online ordering is also an option.

Ponsford’s Place

For the adventurous, this small, quirky place in San Rafael has limited and varied retail hours and their offerings are always changing. The window for Thanksgiving orders has passed, but plenty of seasonal pies, breads, rolls and cookies will be available in December. The best way to go about a visit is to follow them on Facebook.

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