Bhutan is a place that everyone should have on their bucket list. We have just spent 6 days in this extraordinary little Kingdom, comprising a population of just 700k & if our experience is anything to go by I can only assume that each & everyone of that 700k approaches life with a smile, warmth & a set of values that quite frankly the rest of us can learn from.
It is a breathtakingly beautiful country & it all starts with the infamous, hairy aeroplane approach into Paro. Those lucky enough to have left-hand-side window seats, as we did, can take in Mount Everest popping through the clouds & then enjoy the rollercoaster-esque approach through the valley to the short runway at the international airport of Paro. There can’t be many airports in the world that are as stunning or amenable as this one. Rice paddy fields, monasteries & great conifer valleys welcome you off the plane & with that, you know you’ve arrived somewhere special.
Given this isn’t a blog about travel I’ll save you the stories about the epic Tigers Nest monastery, the extraordinary mountain, valley & lake trekking plus stunning architecture, but will instead share our review of this tiny, unexpected gem of a bakery.
We stumbled across Brioche Bakery on just our second day as we mooched around Paro. Despite only being in the country a short time we had understood pretty quickly that the food in Bhutan, whilst often very tasty, quickly gets a bit samey. The Himalayan dishes include an abundance of very fresh but similar tasting vegetables, beef, red rice & various noodle dishes. So a little variety is welcome.
Those that have been to Paro will appreciate that it is not a place one would expect to find a fabulously tasty bakery & coffee house. Despite holding the international airport, the town can be explored in 20 minutes or so. However, what it lacks in size & diversity it certainly makes up for in charm.
Which leads nicely to our bakery experience. It was Charlie who first spotted the Brioche door sign proudly sharing its ‘home made cookies’. With expectations relatively low we were tempted in by the prospect of some tasty sweet treats & we were so glad we did.
Its minuscule entrance is packed with a wide range of home-made cakes, cookies & pies all vying for attention, & after much debate we landed on a Walnut Pie & a Honey, Spicy Cake along with some sustenance for our upcoming trek (a variety of cookies; chocolate, peanut & cinnamon oatmeal). Alongside these we ordered a latte & a masala chai, which given the lukewarm Nescafé experiences to date also carried low levels of expectation.
Nonetheless we settled into the little cafe’s cosy seating area with a range of BBC Good Food magazines from the 1990’s & some beautiful photography of Bhutan. The cakes & coffee duly arrived & they were absolutely, bloody gorgeous. Fab coffee & delicious baking, with the Walnut Pie a hands-down winner. So our misgivings were misplaced; the beautiful, tiny, remote town of Paro continued to fuel our love affair with Bhutan through quality coffee & perfectly baked treats.
It’s a long way to go for cake admittedly but if you find yourself in this magical Kingdom, then pop by. We loved it.
Brioche Bakery, Paro Town, Bhutan