When it comes to mah's food I'll confess to being a savory guy. Love my fat, sodium and savory but every now and then my sweet tooth gets a bit achey! And when you talk about sweets, immediately my thoughts go to bakeries, pastries and places like Guglhupf and La Farm Bakery. Located on opposite ends of the Triangle, both have a reputation for very high quality artisanal breads and wonderful pastries. But the beauty of both these bakeries is that they've also got some great lunch and cafe offerings which means you won't have to sacrifice your savory to get your sweets!
Deep in Cary country, you'll find La Farm Bakery tucked away in a small and busy strip plaza off of SW Maynard Road. This area is an affluent and bustling suburb, La Farm is usually teaming with tennis moms and kids enjoying their high quality goods. On the right hand side is La Farm's small bakery and counter area where you can order up some snacks or a full meal. Beautiful displays of breads and sweets pack the space in and La Farm staff buzz around in traditional bakery whites, smocks and caps. Two cash registers on the left hand side of this space is where you can order up your dine-in eats. I went with the Croque Madame, apple tart and coffee. You get a small number on a stand, I also grabbed my coffee cup and pastry while scanning the packed dining room. A-ha, eventually a small two top opens up and I pounce on it. A nice cup of rich, french roasted coffee to keep me company while I wait for my meal. The tart looks excellent, an octagonal treat layered with some carmelized apple slices but I'm going to be patient!
Ten minutes later my croque madame arrives and it looks fantastic! Two 1/2" thick pieces of bread with cheese and ham melted in between. Two well fried eggs with a light sprinkle of chives sit on top with a bit of fruit on the side. The bread at La Farm is VERY good. Robust crust, fresh chewy bread interior along with flavorful cheese and the melty egg make for a great forkful! And it's a lot of food, you could nearly share the meal but not me! You can tell they really care about the ingredients here across the board. The tart is well done with just a bit of butter in the crumbly crust contrasted against tender apple, an excellent ending to the meal. Overall I really like La Farm but you will pay a bit of a price for all this quality. And the bustling location means it may be tricky to get a table especially for a group of four or more. So rock on La Farm, you might be the best in the area but what about your competition out in Durham?!
Guglhupf sits in Durham on the somewhat run-down 15-501 corridor. Located right next to Fosters Market, I find it sort of odd that they would choose to co-locate next to each other but what the heck! Enter the narrow driveway and you'll sometimes find it hard to find parking at Guglhupf because the place is muy popular. Work your way out to the front and you'll come upon a large, open deck which leads down to the main Guglhupf entrance. To the side is the bakery for take-out orders, you'll find a small storefront replete with yummy pastries and baked goods. Back to the main entrance where you can order a sit-down meal and be tempted by a case of their sweets. Guglhupf's menu is a LOT bigger than La Farm's, they do full dinners along with brunch and other cafe style items. The influences are German, as opposed to French.
The line can get a bit long here, I order up a french dip along with a fruit tart on the side for sweets. Same as La Farm, you get a number, grab your coffee and wait at your table. Guglhupf has a large multi-level space with exposed wooden beams and lots of seating. The patio looks really nice and the free wi-fi makes it a great spot for a leisurely meal or coffee when the place quiets down. My food is solid, the french dip is a smallish sandwich with nice melted cheese but what really makes the meal is dessert! Guglhupf does an amazing fruit tart. Ripe fruit slices of kiwi and strawberry over a luscious custard base on top of flaky pastry. An amazing balance of textures and just enough sweet without being overbearing, give me two next time!
So what can I say but I love both of these high quality bakeries, Guglhupf and La Farm Bakery. While Guglhupf has a broader menu, cooler patio and great pastries, I think the overall feel and delivery at La Farm Bakery makes it a better spot. Neither is particularly easy for me to get to but I do like the fact that La Farm also does some baking and pastry classes which means it's got even more to offer. But you can't go wrong with either when your sweet tooth is aching! While I'll always be a savory guy, a bit of delicious sweets at the end of your meal is never a bad thing, bon appetit!
4248 Northwest Cary Parkway
Cary, NC 27513