The Model Bakery has been a fixture in the Napa Valley for more than 80 years, supplying fans with freshly baked bread, pastries and other goodies. Their main location is in the town of St Helena, but the bakery recently opened up another location in downtown Napa at Oxbow Market, which makes their artisan breads even more available. When you walk into the bakery, you smell the bread being made and you can see bakers hard at work in the impressive kitchen behind the retail area.
The most well-known item on the Model Bakery menu is the english muffin. Their muffins are are big, chewy and handmade – definitely not the same muffin you’re going to find in your typical grocery store, although they still do have lots of “nooks and crannies” to soak up butter and jam. They’ve been featured on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate, recommended by Michael Chiarello. They’ve also been known to sell out on particularly busy mornings, so if you are in Napa during the peak of the holiday season, you’ll want to make sure to stop by early to pick one up for breakfast.
I stopped by the Oxbow market location on my recent trip and was greeted with a big pile of english muffins to choose from. The thick, fluffy muffins looked irresistible all piled up in the window – but I managed to resist the temptation to buy a whole pile of them and just get out the door with one, freshly toasted muffin (since my hotel room did not have a toaster). It was excellent – fresh, with a great flavor and a perfect balance of crisp edges and chewy center – and a far cry from the dense and relatively bland muffins from the grocery store.
The bakery ships many of their products, so it is possible to place an order for these muffins and have them delivered straight to your door. I’m sure that they would still be delicious, but there is something to be said for waiting to try these until you’re in town and can get one that was freshly baked that very morning. They’re good plain, or with butter and jam, but you should definitely get it toasted before you eat it.
1357 Main St
Saint Helena, CA 94574
Oxbow Public Market
610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559