When the sun is shining and the weather is perfect for a scenic day-trip and outdoors dining, I've got the perfect place for you. Just a 45-minute drive west of Orlando is a tiny town called Yalaha, where you'll find an authentic German-style bakery and deli.
Yalaha is the type of place that has one stop light and an abundance of farmland and pasture, so you wouldn't even know you'd arrived were it not for a small clearing in the woods where the legendary Yalaha Bakery is nestled.
My husband, Pete, and I recently made the pilgrimage out from Orlando to this carb-lovers dream. After our scenic, off-the-beaten path around some picturesque lakes and through some sweet-scented orange groves, spotting the Bavarian style architecture with its faux timber framing made us feel as if we were Hansel and Gretel, being lured deep into the country under the promise of sweet delicious things.
Thankfully, there's no witch, but the vast selection of baked goods are wickedly tempting, impossible to resist. A team of talented pastry chefs bakes more than 1,000 different breads and pastries, some days using as much as 600 pounds of dough to create everything from Swiss rye bread to German-style pretzels, and sweet treats such as short bread cookies and Black Forest cake.
As soon as we walked through the doors, I was overcome by the comforting aroma of fresh-baked bread and Pete immediately started eying the display of sugary pastries. After drooling over the sight of all the desserts and picking out those we wanted to take home, we eventually made our way back to the deli for lunch.
In addition to artisanal breads, Yalaha Country Bakery is also well-stocked with German provisions including salami, liverwurst, bratwurst, knackwurst, frankfurters, sauerkraut, and schnitzel. They even have their own house-made German potato salad and a variety of imported German beers.
I thought I'd make it a light lunch (to save room for dessert, of course) and ordered their cranberry chicken salad. But, I almost ended up regretting that decision after seeing Pete's Reuben sandwich, smothered in melted cheese and served on a fresh-baked pretzel roll with a hefty portion of German potato salad on the side. I ate my salad, but couldn't keep my fork off of his plate, too. Next time I think we'll just split a sandwich when our sweet tooth is calling.
For dessert, we ended up agreeing to share Yalaha Bakery's most popular dessert: The Bee Sting. It's a fluffy yeast cake layered with Bavarian cream and topped with crunchy toasted almonds and a honey glaze.
We took our meal outdoors to their picnic area and enjoyed a leisurely lunch underneath the thick shade of golden maple trees with a rustic view of an organic blueberry farm and country store next door. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
If you go…
Yalaha Country Bakery
210 Florida 48, Yalaha, FL 34797
You can get there via the Turnpike via Leesburg, or take the scenic route driving through Mount Dora, Tavares, and Howey-in-the-Hills.
Plan on making it a farmer’s market day. In addition to bread, pastries, and deli meats at Yalaha Bakery, Blue Bayou Farms and their small country store is right next door offering farm fresh provisions including Amish cheeses and fresh-picked fruits and vegetables.
Even if you can't escape the city, you can still taste Yalaha Bakery’s fresh-baked goodness at two additional locations; one in downtown Orlando and one in The Villages. But, I highly recommend visiting the original shop in Yalaha for the full experience.
Yalaha Bakery locations
Original: 8210 Florida 48, Yalaha, FL 34797
Orlando: 1213 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
The Villages: Baylee Plaza, 16770 S HWY 441, Summerfield FL, 34491