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Bountiful Bakeries: The Upstate

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 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 into place.

The most beloved bakeries offer variety, too. Cake, cookies or a pie, perhaps? Or maybe a steamy cinnamon roll or fruit-filled muffin to go with a cup of coffee? And who could resist one of those oven-fresh loaves cooling on the rack? If you’re dieting, a bakery is certainly not the place to be. But if you’re not, point out your heart’s desire and thank the food gods for your good fortune. Either way, you can always start that diet on Monday, right?

When visiting the Upstate, you will find a rich array of full-service bakeries brimming with house-made breads, cakes, pies, cookies, pastries and more. Here is a sampling of some of the best. (Note: Call for availability of featured items.)

The Bakery Off Augusta, Greenville 
Operating in a quaint house, you’ll find sweets for the sweet and savory goods, too.
Treats to try: lemon layer cake with strawberry filling and strawberry cream cheese icing, peaches and cream cobbler cake, rosemary shortbread, coconut macarons, quiches

Hershberger's Bakery, Fairplay 
This Amish-style bakery and cafe is famous for its decadent fried cinnamon rolls.
Treats to try: apple cider donuts, sourdough bread, dinner rolls, sticky buns, whoopie pies, fruit turnovers, fried cinnamon rolls (So good they’re worth mentioning again …)

Le Petit Croissant, Greenville 
This French-influenced bakery crafts fine pastries, breads and chocolates.
Treats to try: chocolate eclairs, macarons, fresh fruit tarts, flaky croissants, crusty French baguettes

Stax Bakery, Greenville 
The bakery arm of the popular diner, Stax Omega, offers a satisfying array of desserts and breads made fresh daily.
Treats to try: challah bread, fresh strawberry napoleons, lemon pound cake, baklava, Greek wedding cookies, coconut cream pie

Strossner’s, Greenville 
For more than 60 years, this local institution has been baking up all kinds of wonderful things to satisfy Greenville’s sweet tooth.
Treats to try: strawberry Bavarian torte, banana cream pie, chocolate nut chewie cookies (gluten and dairy-free)

Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery, Greenville 
The name might not include the word “bakery,” but don’t let that fool you. This is a hotspot for some of the best made-from-scratch, artisanal baked goods you’ll ever eat.
Treats to try: stecca Italian bread, chocolate croissants, vegan chocolate peanut butter cake, zucchini lavender donuts, cheddar and kale scones

The Sweetery, Anderson 
This innovative bakery is constantly reinventing its menu with imaginative cakes and other baked goods.
Treats to try: Uggly cake (a layer cake-cheesecake mashup studded with pecans), butter pecan chews, chocolate pecan pie, wine sticks (biscotti-like cookies for wine pairing and dipping)

Walnut Street Bakery, Seneca 
If variety is the spice of life, you’ll do a whole lot of living at Walnut Street Bakery. With more than 50 flavor combos—including offerings free of nuts, sugar, soy, gluten, lactose, egg or whatever thing you need to be free of—this from-scratch bakery has it all.
Treats to try: signature strawberry cake, French pistachio macarons, salted honey caramel pie, lemon curd and gingersnap cheesecake

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.