With visions of brioche and buttery croissants, the line snaked down Washington St. in Yountville on a recent morning. The message was clear: Bouchon Bakery (6528 Washington St., Yountville; 707-944-2253), the heart of Thomas Keller's baking operations, had finally re-opened. Bouchon Bakery creates the baked goods for the French Laundry, Ad Hoc and Bouchon Bistro, along with running its retail shop that doubles as a popular foodie destination. Bouchon Bakery's retail space had been closed a month for remodeling. The bakery itself also required an overhaul following a September fire which reportedly started above the bread oven.
The remodeled bakery features a new, two-door entrance and added cash register that ideally allows for a smoother flow of traffic. The bakery itself, which goes through some 1,200 pounds of dough a day, has also increased its cooking capacity. Its new steam tube deck oven is capable of baking 120 baguettes at a time, which are sent to Keller's restaurant operations and other eateries around Yountville.
"As business increased, we'd outgrown the space," said Matt McDonald, Bouchon Bakery's head baker. "This space was built out to do more volume. It's a non-stop, 24/7 operation."
Highlights on this recent visit included an impeccable loaf of brioche - the same used for the French Laundry's foie gras course - a two-chocolate "Ho Ho" which was a decadent take on the childhood snack, and macarons that could've been eaten all day. Bouchon Bakery's dog treats were also woofed down eagerly by a special long haired chihuahua named Floyd.
In related news, and just down Washington St. from Bouchon Bakery, Addendum (6476 Washington St., Yountville; 707-944-2487) re-opens Thursdays. This is the barbecue and boxed lunch take-out spot run by Keller's Ad Hoc, featuring buttermilk fried chicken and barbecued chicken. Addendum runs seasonally from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - or, whenever they run out of food. The boxed lunches cost $16.50 and are available Tuesdays through Saturdays. Note that Ad Hoc itself re-opened on March 1 after being closed through the winter for renovations.
And if that's not enough fodder for a Napa excursion, note that Taste of Yountville will be held on Saturday. Just over an hour from Sacramento, this block party features a tour of the French Laundry's garden, and nibbles/sips from Bouchon, Bottega, Domaine Chandon and more. Admission is free, and tasting tickets are available for $1 each. For more information: www.yountville.com.