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How Sweet it Is!
For a small county, with only 828 square miles and 260,000 people, Marin has an abundance of exceptional bakeries. From youngest to oldest, here’s a small taste...
Started as a bakery café in 2005 by Carol LeValley and Josh Harrs, Rustic Bakery moved into retail to meet the need for high-quality organic crackers which complement outstanding cheese. With four Marin bakeshops boasting scones, muffins, croissant cookies, and a display of goods at retail outlets nationwide, Rustic Bakery has become a baking powerhouse.
Established in 1990, owner Bridget Devlin, says “Bovine was born out of my love of food and a passion for feeding others.” Weekend cyclists along with hikers, beachgoers, and meanderers stop for a sweet reward at the ultimate of pit stops in Point Reyes Station. This small, scratch bakery emphasizes local, organic ingredients, while putting out about fifty irresistible delights daily from scones, pies, and cookies to pizza, quiche, and soup.
Gary Rulli, an internationally renowned pastry leader, apprenticed with pastry chefs in Milan and Turin to learn the time-honored traditions of Northern Italian pastry making. Rulli’s reputation for producing profound pastries grew rapidly. In 1988, he opened his own pasticceria in historic downtown Larkspur. Rulli expanded the pastry shop over the years, and today the business includes a Caffeteria, Pasticceria, Torrefazione (coffee roasting), Enoteca (wine bar), and Emporio.
Sweet Things Bakery
Owners Marsha Lasky and Sharon Leach met working at Joseph Magnin in San Francisco. Wanting their own business, they combined their creativity, talents, and family recipes to create a world-class American-style bakery. Since 1977, Sweet Things’ delectables have become favorites in restaurants and homes. Located at the Cove Shopping Center in Tiburon, you’ll find layer cakes, pies, tarts, galettes, holiday-themed cookies, and more. Leach says, “We make everything from scratch, just like our mothers did.”
In 1909, Frank Bordenave arrived in the United States from France. His first bakery in San Rafael was located at Second and D Street. In 1928, he moved to 1553 Fourth Street not far from where the Bordenave’s Bakery resides today at 1512 Fourth Street. During the Depression, Frank shifted his focus from baking cakes and pastries to specializing in baking quality bread products made from the freshest ingredients with no preservatives, chemicals, or additives. Using his artistic ability as a pastry chef, Frank created a large selection of breads that varied in style, taste, grain, and texture.
Four Italian immigrant bakers founded the original Victoria in 1911 in San Francisco, naming it for a baker’s daughter, Victoria. At its peak, Victoria expanded to Greenbrae where the founders compiled their best recipes into a single book. The century-old, mostly handwritten recipe book is in active use. Although the pages are torn and discolored, the original recipes still function as “the go-to book” for young bakers and cake artists.
By Alice Tanner
(September 21, 1891–May 27, 1963)
Frank, or Francois, Bordenave was born in Morlass, France, in 1891, a canton (small territorial district) near the Spanish border in Southwest France. He sailed to America on October 18, 1909, from Le Havre on the S.S. La Bretagne. He was eighteen-years-old and had been baking bread and pastries since he was ten. His father, Joseph Bordenave, was then living in San Francisco.
Frank first worked for the old Parisian Bakery on B Street in San Rafael and then opened his own bakery at Second and D streets in 1918, eventually moving to 1553 Fourth Street. His wife, Honorine, also emigrated from France. She served as a saleslady at the bakery.
The origin of Bordenave’s famous sourdough is unclear. Some say Frank brought the formula with him when he emigrated. Others believe he brought it to America after a trip to France in 1940. Or, perhaps, Frank recreated the recipe during the Depression. One thing about Frank’s sourdough is certain, as he argued—and proved—sourdough could be baked anywhere, not just in the fog-shrouded city of San Francisco.
Frank became a naturalized American citizen on January 12, 1923, and died at the French Hospital in San Francisco after a long illness. His stepdaughter, Gabrielle Lahore, married Frank Gillette whose family continued the bakery for many years. The family tradition continues to this day. Fred Radwan currently co-owns the bakery with his sons, Joseph and Michael. Michael’s daughter Cassidy plans to take over when her father retires.
By Patricia L. Keats
Tuesday, August 14 7:00-8:00 pm
Stinson Beach Library
Historian & Author Brian Crawford shares the fascinating history of the Bolinas-Fairfax Road, built in 1878 to provide Marin with a crucial transportation link across the county. Intimately tied to the history of Marin County and its water wars, the road was rerouted many times as dams and reservoirs were built. It was also the scene of runaway stagecoaches, landslides, fires, earthquakes, encounters with wildlife, and one bizarre holdup. Brian’s illustrated talk features photographs and maps, including materials from the California Room’s unrecorded Marin County Map Collection. Followed by a book-signing.
Saturday, August 18 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sausalito Historical Society
Sausalito in Antioch?
Join the SHS on a field trip to Antioch this summer. You can learn more about the real “life or death” story from 1901. You can “experience” travel from the gilded age on into the railroad-ferry commute from Marin to San Francisco before the Golden Gate Bridge. What a great way to celebrate Sausalito’s 125th Birthday.
For more information: sausalitohistoricalsociety.com
Saturday August 25 9:00am San Anselmo Historical Commission
Meet at: Montgomery Chapel (Richmond Road & Bolinas Avenue)
Historical Commissioner Dick Miner’s popular "Stroll Through History" returns this year. Travel back in time with Dick and other members of the Historical Commission on a walking tour through downtown San Anselmo. The tour will highlight San Anselmo’s historic Hub, the role of the railroad in the development of town, and the changing character of the businesses and architecture on San Anselmo Avenue over the years. The tour will end at the Historical Museum for refreshments.
RSVP at strollsananselmo.eventbrite.com
Free Event. Space is limited.
At The Bay Model