My sister and I knew we were going to have a morning on our own during my recent trip to VA, so we decided to go out to breakfast. This proved to be more difficult than it sounds; even a Google search for the best breakfast in Northern Virginia yielded nothing but IHOPs and Bob Evans. A most emphatic “no” to both of those, thank you. Then I tried searching for best bakeries, and up came The Swiss Bakery + Pastry Shop, less than 15 minutes by car from my parents’ house.
The Swiss Bakery is tucked away in a shopping center, and from the outside you wouldn’t really know that the bakery has such an extensive selection of pastries, cookies, cakes, breads, and more. Our eyes may have been a little bigger than our stomachs, but we each ordered two pastries and sat down to eat them.
I started with an apricot jalousie (I wasn’t sure of the pronunciation of this, so I tried to order it as a jah-LOO-sie, and the woman behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy. “You mean the jalousie?” she asked, pronouncing it like “jealousy.” Does anyone know the correct pronunciation?) The apricots were nice and soft, but I thought there was way too much pastry dough underneath them. Maybe this is par for the course with jalousies, but I didn’t care for it. It made the pastry, which should have been light and flaky, too dense and heavy.
The other item I got was the apple strudel. At many of the better NYC bakeries the apple strudel is made in one big “log” and cut into single servings; at the Swiss Bakery the strudels are made individually. This results in a too-wide border of pastry, and it suffered from the same problem as the jalousie. The best thing about it was the heavy hand with the cinnamon mixed in with the apples. There was enough cinnamon to make the filling almost spicy, which was an interesting touch.
My sister got an apple jalousie and an almond croissant. I didn’t taste the apple one, but the croissant had the light, flaky touch that both of my pastries were missing.
We also took home a small box of assorted cookies to share with my parents, and the ones I tasted were all good. The Swiss Bakery may not have been the best bakery I’ve ever been to, but it sure beats another trip to IHOP.
Swiss Bakery + Pastry Shop — 9536 Old Keene Mill Rd., Burke, VA