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Bountiful Bakeries: Charleston

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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The smells. The sights. The flavors. The freshness. The voices. Together, these qualities define the bakery experience. If it’s a good one, your visual, olfactory, gustatory and auditory senses will spring to life the second you walk through the door. Intoxicating aromas should be in full bloom. A well-stocked bakery case should visually delight the eyes.

Your taste buds should stand at attention as you consider your options. And your ears should fill with the sounds of a warm welcome. If you stopped by such a bakery for a donut or muffin, rest assured you’ll be walking out with at least five or six more goodies. Your lack of resistance is a sign that good bakery protocols have been put in place.

The Charleston area is not only a dining destination, but it’s home to some of the best bakeries in the state. From croissant wizards to pie masters to cookie queens to cake bosses, you’ll find them all here. Ready to make the rounds? Here’s a sampling to get you started. (Note: Call for availability of featured items.)

Baguette Magic, Charleston 
One of the area’s most lauded French-style bakeries, Baguette Magic gets its name honestly. Baguettes and other breads are made using authentic techniques. A must-try item are the cruffins—a cross between a croissant and muffin with a rotation of fillings that include lemon curd, Key lime, strawberry and more.
Treats to try: Cruffins filled with lemon curd, twice-baked chocolate raspberry croissant, almond cream croissants

Bakehouse Charleston, Charleston 
Bakehouse Charleston fills the historic district with the aromas of freshly baked goodies. Stop in for coffee and pair it with your choice of tarts, brownie bars, cookies, cakes and more.
Treats to try: Key lime pie, coconut macaroons, s'mores bar

BKeD SHoP, Charleston and Summerville
If you love yeast-raised donuts, this is your place. Not a donut fan? The bakery case has a variety of yummy baked goods to tickle your fancy.
Treats to try: Pecan toffee donut, apple fritter, chocolate ho-hos

Brown’s Court Bakery, Charleston 
This bakery operates in a historic building named Brown’s Court back in the 1800s. Described as a boulangerie, you’ll find a broad offering of French-style breads, pastries and more.
Treats to try: Pain au chocolate, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, pizza buns, Sriracha croissant

EVO Craft Bakery, North Charleston 
What began as a dedicated pizza restaurant has become one of the area’s finest bakeries. EVO Craft Bakery churns out a line of artisan breads and pastries that are highly sought after across the Lowcountry.
Treats to try: Abruzzi rye bread, apple cupcakes, cinnamon rolls

Grey Ghost Bakery, Charleston 
Named for the famous Pawleys Island specter, this bakery is the real deal, serving up cookies and other baked goods made with premium ingredients. When was the last time you had real homemade cookies? Get ’em here, all hand-formed, made from Southern recipes and crafted with love. Great for gift giving.
Treats to try: Nutty chocolate pie, chocolate bourbon cookies, lemon cookies, molasses spice cookies

La Pâtisserie, Charleston 
Located at the elegant Hotel Bennett, La Pâtisserie pulls in the crowds who catch a glimpse of the bakery case through the window. Brimming with picture-perfect breads and pastries, the offerings at this French bakery are as pleasing to the eye as they are the palate.
Treats to try: Camellia’s cake, almond croissant, eclairs, butterscotch brioche, macarons

Luckhaus & Brubaker Sweets & Treats, Charleston 
This neighborhood bakery has found a loyal following with its delicious cakes, pies, tarts and pastries. Cakes can be customized to reflect whatever your imagination conjures. Order one and be amazed.
Treats to try: Chocolate caramel pecan turtle shortbread cookie, lemon blackberry macarons, fresh fruit mini tarts

Macaroon Boutique, Charleston 
You’ll think you’ve left Charleston for Paris when you visit this bustling little bakery. From cookies to croissants, you’ll love the distinct buttery richness and authentic French flair that infuses these baked goods.
Treats to try: Almond croissant, pistachio macaron, gougères, brioche

Olde Colony Bakery, Mt. Pleasant
If you are a fan of Charleston benne wafers, be sure to stop by the home of this local favorite. Since 1919, Olde Colony Bakery has been baking up goods infused with Lowcountry flavor. You can find their pecan pinches, benne wafers, benne cheese zingers and more in local markets and stores. But it’s always fun to pay a visit to the source. Don’t miss a Charleston standby: Carolina sweet cream bread.
Treats to try: Carolina sweet cream bread, pecan pinches, benne cheese zingers, cinnamon bread

Sugar Bakeshop, Charleston
There’s a vintage vibe at Sugar Bakeshop, a small-batch bakery committed to making the best baked desserts you’ll find anywhere. Cookies, tarts, cupcakes and more issue from its ovens each day. This is also the place where you’ll find the legendary Southern Lady Baltimore cake. Give it a try for a true taste of Charleston.
Treats to try: Lady Baltimore cupcakes, pecan tarts, strawberry rhubarb pie (seasonal)

Swank Desserts, Summerville 
It’s worth a stop in charming Summerville to check out Swank Desserts. Pick from a colorful array of macarons and high-end desserts. Cupcakes in fun flavors are a popular draw, too. But if you can snag their signature brownies, do so. (You can thank us later.)
Treats to try: Dark chocolate, Nutella and salted caramel fudge brownies, chewy chocolate chip cookies, apple hand pies

WildFlour Pastry, West Ashley
Double chocolate cookies—enough said. This popular bakery is famous for them and much more. You’ll also find a tantalizing array of sweet and savory scones. On Sundays, they bake up their notoriously good sticky buns. You might have to wait in line for one, but it’s totally worth the trouble.
Treats to try: Raspberry Nutella turnover, savory scones, sticky buns

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.