Have you ever tasted a banket (an almond-paste Danish pastry), or bossche bol (a popular European puff pastry filled with whipped cream and coated in melted chocolate)?
If not, now you can enjoy each thanks to Dutch bakers Patty and Ralph Smolders, who recently opened a stateside version of her European-based bakery in the Sunshine Square shopping plaza at the corner of Federal Highway and Woolbright Road in Boynton Beach. Known as Bond and Smolders Bakery and Cafe, the couple says the two-month-old shop is helping them to live the American dream.
Ralph says he has always dreamed of moving to the United States. For the past eight years he, Patty, and their two children have been making an annual trip to visit Ralph's uncle, who resides in South Florida. A few years ago they fell in love with the Palm Beach County and decided to try their hand at operating a bakery catering to American customers.
The couple's goal is to travel between Florida and their European bakery, Bond en Smolders, located in Utrecht's Lijnmarkt market where — over the past 4 decades — the shop has built a reputation for its Danish pastries, including appelbollen (dumpling-like apple pastries).
"A place like Bond and Smolders is still not here," says Patty. "There are only French bakeries."
Unlike your typical take-out bakery, Bond and Smolders is also a full-service breakfast and lunch cafe, offering patrons a place to enjoy a casual meal or late afternoon snack. The shop features seating for up to 48 inside, with several tables and one very long — and very colorful — communal table. There are another 20 or so seats available outside, shaded from the sun and rain under a wide awning.
The Bond and Smolders menu offers a wide assortment of baked goods, each laid out on a long counter behind a short glass case. Pastries include brownies, donuts, macaroons, cakes, and croissants. More exotic items are treated as specialties, like the domkoekjes, cookies named for Utrecht's cathedral.
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For breakfast, try the baker's basket, an assortment of bread and baked goods served with butter, homemade marmalade, butter, Dutch cheese, and a choice of hot beverage including coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Come lunch, there's a short list of prepared foods including salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and grilled sandwich "melts" featuring combinations like goat cheese and cranberry or brie and plum chutney.
"The bread," says Patty. "Is nothing like American bread." Instead, it's soft and sweet. Whole loaves are available for purchase, and slices are used to make the cafe's breakfast or lunch sandwiches.
Bond and Smolders is located at 1622 S. Federal Hwy., Boynton Beach. Visit bondsmolders.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.