Transport Your Taste Buds at One of These International Bakeries in St. Louis
St. Louis is a melting pot of cultures, which is evident in its diverse food and drink scene—including its many international bakeries. Tempting locals and visitors alike with treats such as light and sweet Mexican conchas and rich, nutty baklava, these eight St. Louis bakeries will transport your sweet tooth somewhere new.
A bright yellow sign beckons passersby into Lilly’s Panaderia on Cherokee Street, which boasts fresh loaves of bread, cakes, cookies and more. The colorful Mexican bakery is typically bustling on weekday mornings, as regulars stop in for their daily donuts, barquillos (crispy rolled wafer pastries filled with cream) and small loaves of bolillo (bread in the same family as the baguette). For special occasions, patrons place an order for a custom cake or a tres leches cake (a traditional sponge cake topped with fresh whipped cream and cinnamon).
Taste of Lebanon
Sandwiched between El Burro Loco and Golden Grocer Natural Foods in the Central West End is Taste of Lebanon, a cozy Lebanese restaurant and bakery. Aside from its expansive menu of Middle Eastern favorites—think hummus, labneh, falafel and shawarma—the restaurant offers a selection of baked goods that will make you strive to leave room for dessert.
The most iconic pastry from the region—and the bakery—is baklava, layers of flaky phyllo dough traditionally filled with pistachios or walnuts. Choclava is a richer pastry made with peanut butter chocolate, dark chocolate, walnuts and coconut flakes, while kunafa bil-kishta pairs the same dough with shredded homemade cheese between each layer. You might also fancy namoura, a traditional syrup-soaked semolina cake topped with almonds.
The Missouri Baking Company
The Missouri Baking Company is a no-frills, family-owned bakery on Edwards Street in the heart of The Hill. The bakery has been in business since 1924; one step through the front door and the desserts inside its glass cases will transport you back through time. The Italian cannolis are topped with a bright red maraschino cherry and the pies have a case of fluffy, caramelized meringue. There are cookies of every sort, chocolate marshmallow mounds, cinnamon pull-apart buns, seasonal peach coffee cakes, breads, pies, cupcakes and muffins. How will you ever decide?
Diana’s Bakery is an unassuming bakery on Cherokee Street with one of the most elaborate selections of baked goods in town. It coaxes customers to forget about calories with tres leches cakes, cinnamon-dipped churros, sweet empanadas and bear claws, to name a few. It also serves calaveras, colorful skull-shaped cookies for Día de los Muertos in the fall.
Sedara Sweets & Ice Cream
Located in Affton, Sedara Sweets & Ice Cream is a one-stop shop for traditional Middle Eastern desserts. Grab a pastry staple, such as a muffin or scone, or be a bit more adventurous and order manakish, made with a selection of fresh dough (which changes daily), cheese or ground meat and thyme. For your morning pick-me-up, choose from a variety of Arabic tea and coffee.
No sweet tooth is left unsatisfied at Sedara with 15 rotating varieties of handmade baklava (available with a scoop of ice cream) and halqum (often called “Turkish Delight”), made with starch and sugar and flavored with almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios.
There’s no mistaking its Italian origins: Rosciglione Bakery is decked out in green, white and red decorations and black-and-white-checkered tiles blanket the floor of the shop. Operating in St. Louis since 1900, it originally opened in Downtown St. Louis on Seventh Street in an area known as “Little Italy;” later it moved to Dellwood, and now it calls St. Charles home. Currently run by fourth-generation Rosciglione family member Francesco Peter, the bakery offers 40 picturesque cookies (separated into two categories: “Italian” and “Fancy”), decadent Italian pastries, three-layer cakes, granita, gelato and more.
Its 48 varieties of Asian-inspired breads, ranging from savory Chicken Curry Karaoke and Green Pea Pang to the sweeter Pineapple Coconut Bread and Cinnamon Twist Snack, make Kim’s Bakery in Chesterfield a beloved destination for something extra special. There are also glazed fruit tarts, rich mousses, layered cakes, cream puffs and an array of cookies. Special Roll and Moon cakes are available as gift sets, while others are customizable for birthdays, holidays and … Tuesday?!
Signature India Restaurant and Bakery
Signature India Restaurant and Bakery brings the bright, flavor-packed cuisine of India to the suburbs of Ballwin and O’Fallon, Missouri. Its dessert menu and bakery display cases are scattered with fruit cakes, endless varieties of layered cakes, housemade breads, cookies, mousses and savory puff pastries. Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose just one.
Featured image courtesy of Missouri Baking Company.