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Markets & Stores 9

Virginia Bakery Berkeley – Celebrating 50 years – Best Irish Soda Bread

Krys | Mar 10, 200511:48 PM

This bakery on the corner of Shattuck and Virginia, a few blocks from the Cheeseboard, never gets much mention. It does make the finest Irish Soda Bread in the Bay Area.

I never liked Irish Soda Bread until I had it from Virginia Bakery. This is the standard that I judge all other Irish Soda breads. Topped with dyed shamrock green sugar, it doesn’t have too much soda, a nice crust, and a pleasing amount of currents. The interior is not too airy, not too dense.

They make a nice hot cross bun as well with lemon or custard cross.

The bakery is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, but it never gets much mention on Chowhound. It is an old fashioned European bakery like Neldhams and has some similar items like the dinner rolls.

On my annual stop to pick up some hot cross buns and Irish soda bread, I took a second look at the bakery.

What I really thought was cute was the mini birthday cake. It was one of those 2-3 serving size cakes but it came in two layers, like a mini wedding cake. I thought that was a cool idea and it was very festive looking.

Along with the whipped cream cakes there was a Boston cream pie which I don’t think I’ve seen for almost forever.

They always have a nice selection of holiday themed cookies and there were all sorts of St. Patrick’s Day cookies in the case.

There was a selection of coffee cakes and Danish and the Holland coffee cake looked good. They had some ring coffee cakes in almond, brown sugar, apricot and apple varieties. Nice looking banana nut bread which I’ll probably try as I have had a craving for good banana nut bread that hasn’t been satisfied.

The cakes that caught my eye were the Lemon Snow covered with coconut with the lemon yellow filling, Strawberry chocolate decadence and the poured chocolate cakes.

There is a large parking lot in back of the bakery.

For some reason, long ago, I decided that with a few exceptions, when I wanted this type of bakery product I would go to Neldhams. I don’t remember why that was. I think each bakery has their own strengths.

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