A European bakery in Northern Virginia is proof that authenticity can still be found.
It was my birthday rather recently, and I expected something out of the normal, but I was not sure what shape it would take. My wife did not have the time to prepare anything, so she added a stop to her agenda and went to “The Swiss Bakery” in Burke, VA for my birthday cake. And so, after all the candles were applied, I sunk my fork into my birthday cake. It was transparent in my mind that there was a tad bit more heart, soul and skill put into the creation of their art also known as sweets.
The Swiss Bakery’s cakes are made for any occasion with consideration to the Swiss, French and German roots by which it all stems. The pastries are plentiful and awing, rivaling the best I have seen and tasted even within the heart of DC with many known chef’s names attached to it. A major emphasis is placed on European desserts, as well as the bread and other baked goods. As someone that enjoys sweets on occasion, I can say with certainty that after my birthday, I found myself skipping out on the bacon and eggs bit for breakfast and gravitating towards the carrot cake at the start of the day. Certainly not my healthy recommendation on how to get your daily engines pumping…Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed a few mornings of it!
I have now taken enough trips into The Swiss Bakery to tell you that what they are crafting up for your party or seated plate (they have a full menu pact tight with great choices) is enjoyed on a regular basis by the large percentage of Europeans in the Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC area. As I look around, many of the clients here are of German or Swiss descent, knowing exactly what to order and what to expect when served. When you make the choice to frequent a restaurant of any sort, the number one thing that I believe you should consider before your food arrives and how it looks when it gets there is to observe the clientele. Are they there to eat quickly? Do they seem loyal? Do they appear picky? Is an ethnic restaurant attracting their ethnic target audience? Stereotype all you want, it is the reality of the world and when it comes to food, it may be exactly what you want to hear.
Owners and Chefs Reto and Laurie Weber come from a family background full of bakers and cooks. Laurie earned The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Pastry Chef of the Year 2001 while Reto, being from Switzerland, has worked as a consultant throughout the United States within the field of the art of Swiss baking to educate the very best in the business. The Swiss Bakery doesn’t just put a foreign country’s name on the bill like some eateries, it delivers it wholeheartedly.
The final words of authenticity that I must note on behalf of The Swiss Bakery is how much they care for each of their employees (chefs in particular) to educate them about the Swiss culture and the background of the country. Yearly, they put together a group of willing employees and fly across the Atlantic puddle to further study, research, be a part of the culture, cook and overall enjoy themselves in a country that sets the tone for what they create every day here in the DC metro area. I cannot be certain that I have ever understood an eatery or bakery of any sort that goes this far to teach their staff. And that is something to keep in mind when you visit The Swiss Bakery.
Come to think of it, all of your average food service employees may appreciate their work more if they knew how and where their product actually came from. Hmm, I wonder how many “Starbucks” employees would like to head to Columbia and harvest some coffee beans this summer? Or, wait…I meant Seattle.