By Marija Pejkovic, owner of Balkan Bakery
Pies, coffee cake, sugar cookies…you won’t find any of that here. Kinder cake, cream puffs and Russian Hats, you’ve come to the right place! You must be asking yourself, what is Balkan Bakery as you drive up and down La Grange Road hundreds of times a year to and from work. Should you stop, should you not? Don’t know what to expect and bored with the usual “what’s for dessert?” response. One day, you decide to steer off the beaten path and make that turn into our parking lot.
At first, you’re hesitant to come in. Do they speak English? Will I recognize any bakery items? Will I even like anything? You notice the steady pace of others walking in and out. One foot out the car door and you’ve decided to take a risk and see for yourself.
As you walk through the front door, culture and tradition awaits. You have decided to take a leap and step out of your comfort zone, embracing another culture not so well known. From the traditional Balkan music playing on the speakers, to the authentic coffee pots and pans, you feel as if you are at a market halfway across the globe.
Instantly, you’re welcomed as if you are a part of the family.
Serving our community since 2007, we are ever so proud to share the ethnic flavors of the Balkans and traditions with you! You ask yourself, what countries are the Balkans made up of? We’ll help you out- Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia, Albania and Slovenia. You will find that all of these Balkan countries have very similar cuisines. Embracing your surroundings, you will hear many different languages being spoken, as all of these nationalities flock from various parts of the Midwest to cure their nostalgia with a taste from back home at Balkan Bakery.
As you take a look at our dessert display cases, you might be overwhelmed. Nothing looks familiar and the common theme of walnuts, hazelnuts, rich chocolate and fine coconut will send your taste buds for a whirl. POSNO flags on many of the small cookies might have you puzzled, but they are there to assure you that those items are egg and dairy free (or vegan).
The aroma of freshly baked cake and melted chocolate ganache will give you a indication that we strive to make high quality, made-from-scratch confections that are whipped up to perfection on premises. As you are waiting for your turn in line, it’s hard to pick and choose what to try for the first time. You’re next in line and you hear “Dobar Dan (Good Day)! How can we help you?” And you ask, “What’s good?”
Let us assist you!
- Have you heard of Kinder Joy or Kinder chocolate? This is just as decadent of a dessert, it’s our top selling Kinder Cake. It is a rich cake layered with chocolate custard, vanilla cake, candied walnuts and a crumbly layer of meringue.
- If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ve got to try our Jaffa Cake. Infused with imported apricot biscuits from Serbia, moist chocolate cake layers and creamy vanilla and chocolate pudding, you’ll be sure to cure that sweet tooth in no time.
- More of a custard fan? Try our Krem Pita! You’ll be able to taste the creamy vanilla custard that is incased with a puff pastry and dusted off with powdered sugar.
- Looking for a smooth and creamy cake? Euro Blok will be the winner. We also call this our chocolate bar cake. It’s an indulgent cake with alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla mousse and Serbian Euro Blok chocolate bar shavings.
- Playing it safe? We won’t let you down with our Apple Strudel. You will find thin, crisp layers of filo dough, apple slices and apple filling in this 3-piece strudel pack.
Phew, that was easier than you thought. You couldn’t make up your mind and got one of each of our suggestions. You have even eyed the four different types of Baklava we make (Balkan, Greek, Pistachio & Dried Plum) and now you have an excuse to come back for more! You’re now off on your way, back onto that beaten path, eager to have a taste from inside that brown dessert bag.
You’ve finally indulged, and dessert has a new destination on your list! Taste buds have been forever changed. Now that commute to work won’t be so bad after all. Each and every time you visit, you learn a little more about the Balkan culture and tradition that sets us apart from your everyday bakery.
As we say-Prijatno! (Bon Appetit!)
Balkan Bakery is a family-owned business located at 541 S. La Grange Road. They are a valued member of the La Grange Business Association.