A little known (or well known, depending on how well you know me) fact about me is that my internal compass (due North? Is that what the rest of you use?) points to gluten. This special talent has made me privy to the very best places to buy your breads, pastries and other baked goods in the Boston and Camberville area. Camberville, for those of you out of the loop, is the hip, trendy, up-and-coming area of Somerville and Cambridge where millennials “go get coffee” or “head out on a quick jaunt to buy an antique coffee table.” Think more Union and Porter Squares, less Teele and Ball. In no particular order, these are the places in which to break your bread:
Flour Bakery, multiple locations: You have probably tried the sticky bun, but the real draw is the twice-baked brioche — sliced brioche topped with rich pastry cream and crunchy topping, then baked until an almost spun-sugar crust crackles over the top. Pair it with a whole milk latte and The New York Times for a perfect morning.
Tatte Bakery, multiple locations: This French-Israeli bakery and café is a thing of beauty. Every storefront features a generous display of French pastries piled on top of each other, from almond croissants to savory palmier. The vegetable tarte tatin varies seasonally and makes for the perfect lunch with a chilled Orangina. Cute, cozy, and charming, Tatte is the closest you will get to a true Parisian experience west of Charles de Gaulle.
Bricco, North End: Tucked down a small alleyway in the North End, this place sure is not easy to find or fancy to look at, but the breads more than make up for the aesthetics. Walk down the stairs and you will walk straight into a traditional panificio. Grab a loaf of semolina bread and spread it with a thick layer of olive tapenade from the shop next door.
Pepe Bocca, Davis Square: If Dave’s is the Mario Batali of Davis Square with its trendy sandwiches and bearded staff, then Pepe Bocca is Dave’s grandmother. It’s where you can buy your Bialetti espresso pots, sample fresh mozzarella and eat some wood-fired focaccia all in one place. If you get overwhelmed, buy a loaf of the walnut bread, rip into it with your bare hands and never look back.
Bagelsaurus, Porter Square: Okay, this is a bagel shop, not a bakery, but hear me out. There is no better place to get bagels in all of Metro Boston. The line is long, the prices are steep and the place is small. But just one bite of the classic jumbo sandwich with an over-medium egg, sharp cheddar and Dijon butter and you’ll forget the whole ordeal. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, try the T-rex: bananas, almond butter and honey with a sprinkle of bacon.