Vinman’s, located across the street from the South end of the Central Washington University campus, not only provides sweet and savory treats for Ellensburg residents, but also comfort food for the homesick college student. Established in 1998, Vinman’s has held the same convenient location for 12 years. This small town bakery offers big town taste with products from breads to pastries to cakes. Offering a mix between rustic and traditional baking, Vinman’s Bakery specializes in not only baked goods, but also wines and specialty cheeses.
On a Saturday morning at Vinman’s, the array of options ranges from sweet and decadent treats to loaves of bread and foccacias. Vinman’s display case holds danishes, croissants, muffins, sticky buns, Nanaimo bars, and even freshly made dog biscuits. Their loaves of bread, stacked behind the counter, included sourdough, wheat, and rosemary olive.
Unfortunately, in sampling their treats, I had to choose wisely. On a college budget, one has to limit themselves.
Right away I knew I wanted a bear claw. Often, bakeries attempt to shape the dough, which then results in a semi-circle that only somewhat resembles the shape of a claw. Never have I seen a bakery offer this treat with the same shape definition as Vinman’s does. Topped with a thin vanilla glaze and slivered almonds, this treat proved itself. The outer part of the treat was crispy, but not tough. The inside, was light and flaky and full of flavor. Though many bakeries often fill their bear claw treats with custard or a fruit spread, Vinman’s keeps this classic treat simple. Filled with a light almond paste, Vinman’s bear claw was one sweet treat.
Among their other tasty options, Vinman’s offers two types of croissants, one with prosciutto and Asiago cheese, and the other with Gruyére cheese. I chose the one with Gruyére , a satisfying decision on my part. Vinman’s croissants weren’t traditionally shaped in a crescent, as most would see at a bakery. But don’t let the rectangle shape deter you; Vinman’s croissants are the perfect balance of light, buttery pastry and savory cheese. The croissant, a hollow, flaky bread, was lined with Gruyére cheese, a sweet and salty cheese.
The lemon bars, stacked and displayed on a pedestal, caught my eye as I made my choices. The bars, consisting of a half inch of pastry crust and a half inch of lemon filling weren’t overly impressive. The ratio between crust and filling wasn’t ideal. Though flavorful and buttery, the crust was dense and overbearing. Many struggle with offering a successful lemon bar filling to their customers, often times the filling can be too sweet or too bland, or too ‘eggy’. Despite the unsatisfactory crust, Vinman’s lemon bar filling was balanced. The lemon was tart and sweet, but not too sweet, and certainly not overpowering. I suppose with this treat, one will just have to weigh the pros and cons.
Lastly, I grabbed a coconut macaroon from the cookie jar. The outside, which was sweet and flaky, tasted perfectly toasted. The inside was smooth and cool, with the perfect amount of coconut for those who love or only sort of like coconut. This macaroon wasn’t too strong or overbearing, and fluffy, as it should be.
Thankfully, since Vinman’s is the only local bakery Ellensburg has to offer, I found their treats suitable for another trip in the near future.