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Blood-orange Danish at Jolene bakery in London
Photographer: Andy Parsons

The best bakeries in London

Crumbs! There are a lot of good bread shops and pâtisseries in London these days – here’s the upper crust

Edited by
Leonie Cooper
Written by
Angela Hui
&
Leonie Cooper
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From Asian patisseries to sourdough specialists and beigel gurus, when it comes to bakeries London is one big doughy goldmine. This means whittling down the best bakehouses in the city is no mean feat. But, we’ve risen to the challenge and eaten our way through the lot to round up London’s yeasty royalty.

Whether you want fluffy naan breads from north London institutions, exquisitely-made pastries, perfectly-proved sourdough, or heritage-grain flaky goodness, there’s an oven in London cooking up something for you. Why not pair your pastry goodies with a hot drink at one of the best cafés and coffee shops in London? Go on, treat yourself. 

RECOMMENDED: London's 50 best cheap eats.

The best bakeries in London

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Herne Hill
  • price 1 of 4

Bunhead Bakery is the bricks and mortar debut for self-taught baker Sara Assad-Manning. After serving up seriously sticky buns for the past few years across south London, she’s finally found a forever home in a sweet little storefront opposite Brockwell Park. Assad-Manning’s Palestinian heritage is key to what makes her food so important. Of course, there are the buns; lovely, sticky hunks of sweet bread, from pink-glazed rose and cardamom swirls to a juicy baklava-esque take on proceedings and an OG cinnamon offering, as well as one inspired by the Palestinian pudding knafeh, drenched with syrup and studded with wisps of shredded phyllo and rose petals. There are savoury options too, a ‘salty’ bun stuffed with zingy za’atar and crumbles of feta or a vegan-friendly musakhan with spiced red onion and pine nuts. Though most things here veer to the sweeter side of the spectrum, there’s also focaccia, with hot and hearty slabs of potato and mozzarella bread with bouncy middles and crispy bottoms.

Specialties: Sticky buns made with Palestinian flavours. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Dalston
  • price 1 of 4

Dusty Knuckle bakery now has an airy brick-and-steel café/shop across the yard from its original shipping container home in a Dalston car park. Racks of organic rye and sourdough loaves (including an excellent potato version) line the walls, while the counter is piled up with glistening sticky buns, croissants, chocolate and fruit brioches, apple turnovers, savoury bakes and doorstep sandwiches with imaginative fillings – although these are quickly snapped up in the morning. Dusty Knuckle’s owners also have a social conscience, employing and training up young people who have struggled to find work or have been in trouble with the law. They run regular bread-making classes and workshops too. They have another site in Harringay too, which proudly hosts pizza nights.

Specialities: Organic breads, pastries and sandwiches

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A creative Filipino bakery from the creators of Mamasons ice cream parlour, a few doors down on Kentish Town Road. This Manila-flavoured take on the humble bakery serves all manner of treats, including doughnuts pumped full of photogenic purple ube ooze, mango floats, coco breads and even a few cheeky sandos, including a hearty corned beef hash option. 

Specialities: Sandos, filled to bursting with egg, corned beef or panko chicken and mushroom. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Bloomsbury
  • price 1 of 4

Sourdough is the aim of the game at Fortitude Bakehouse, which is best known for its banging sourdough cakes and seasonal hot cross buns. Dee Rettali has headed up the kitchen since Fortitude opened in 2018, and this pastry paradise sets itself apart from the rest of London’s craft bakeries thanks to her obsession with the flavours of Marrakech and her regular trips to Morocco for edible ideas. She’s not shy about sharing such inspiration in her refreshingly alt. bakes. There's merguez roll with chunky chermoula and parmesan, the sausages poking suggestively from the croissant-ated hunk and bear claws, infused with almond and orange flower water which come with a Scarface-worthy dusting of icing sugar on top.

Specialities: Sourdough and beignets, which come out at 11am and are swiftly snapped up

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Finsbury Park

For years, Blackstock Road was merely a funnel for fans heading to Arsenal’s old Highbury stadium, but now it’s a proper thriving street with shops, cafés, delis and this oddball outlet. A local institution, Baban’s specialises in naan breads at knockdown prices – although the results are more like flatbreads than the puffed-up tandoori versions you find in every curry house. That’s it, apart from a few variations on the theme when it comes to different flavours such as cheese, sesame, za’atar, garlic, falafel and, very occasionally, a twist on Turkish lahmacun with minced lamb and diced peppers.

Specialities: Naans, naans and more naans …

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Camberwell

Wander down Peckham Road of a Saturday and you'll see a long, orderly line of chic pastry obsessives queuing on this unassuming tree-lined street for immaculately laminated wares produced by bakers and owners Rebecca Spaven and Oliver Costello. Their inventive menu spans cornbread croissants with gorgeously buttery layers wrapped around rich, meltingly cheesy cornbread, as well as trad saffron buns, yuzu jaffa cake and chocolate sea salt cookies. But part of the joy of this place is the ever-changing line-up of pastries, constantly being handed fresh out of the oven and onto the counter. Toad Bakery also offers sandwiches made with its dense, moist sourdough.

Specialities: Creative croissants and sourdough sandwiches

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Alice Saville
Contributing writer
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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Newington Green
  • price 2 of 4

From the folks behind Primeur and Westerns Laundry, Jolene is a supremely beautiful warehouse-style space in a quiet spot opposite the park in Newington Green. During the day it runs as a low-key brunch spot and bakery: they stone-mill their own flour in-house using 100 percent unaltered grains grown sustainably on farms in Sussex and Norfolk. We’re fans of their sweet raisin bread, but their bakery counter is regularly loaded with everything from loaves and pastries to sausage rolls, palmiers, madeleines, croissants, financiers, chocolate and Guinness cake, cinnamon buns, and much more besides. Come evening, the blackboards are wiped clean and replaced by a small-plates menu designed to show off the chef’s baking skills. Find more Jolene bakeries across North East London, on Redchurch Street, Colebrooke Row and Hornsey Road. 

Specialities: Home-baked breads and pastries

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Ealing
  • price 1 of 4

The Japanese have embraced the art of French patisserie and become seriously good at it – and now you can get your fix at this gleaming space on Ealing Broadway. Wa Cafe’s light, minimalist interior is dominated by two gleaming counters packed with pristine rows of all things baked: spirals of dark-green matcha tea sponge filled with whipped cream; perfectly presented mini pastry tarts; sweet buns filled with red bean paste or custard and so on. There are savoury offerings too, from breads topped with ham and cheese to deep-fried savoury doughnuts filled with delicately spiced curry – they sound so wrong, but they’re so right. Also don’t miss the light, crisp French-inspired choux à la crème flavoured with vanilla, black sesame or green tea. There are also sites in Covent Garden and Marylebone.

Specialities: Japanese patisserie

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  • Restaurants
  • Street vendors
  • Borough

‘Knowledge is to be shared.’ That’s the simple, beautiful premise behind the world-class and nigh-faultless Bread Ahead bakeries, where recipes are written on chalkboards for all to see and secrets are openly shared at their extensive workshops, school groups and bakery classes. Founded by baker Matthew Jones in 2013, BA started out selling its wares on Borough Market, and you can still visit their original stall for fresh sourdough breads, cheese and olive breadsticks (excellent stuff!), focaccia, croissants, amazing amaretti biscuits and award-winning doughnuts overflowing with silky chocolate and salted caramel. They also have shops in Chelsea and Soho, as well as a mega site close to Wembley Stadium, and their next location is set for Bromley.

Specialities: Sourdough breads and doughnuts

  • Restaurants
  • Balkan
  • Sydenham
  • price 1 of 4

Spasia Dinkovski whips up traditional Macedonian filo pies using her grandma’s recipes. Think semi-psychedelic swirls of pastry packed with ground meat, gooey cheese, and enough butter to make you see into the future. There are usually four hand-rolled delights on the menu as well as sweet treat; a sweet and sour cherry baklava bun. Vegetarians can opt for creamed spinach, parmesan, potato and kurdish chilli, while meat-eaters can feast on hot slices of beef, sage butter, celeriac and taleggio pie.

Specialities: Balkan bakes – bureks and baklava buns.

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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11. Buns From Home

With bakeries across London, from Canary Wharf and Soho to Holland Park, Notting Hill, Islington, Hammersmith, Baker Street, and beyond, Buns From Home cook up culty, hand-rolled and supremely sticky cinnamon and cardamom buns. Brave the queues and you'll get hot buns fresh out of the oven, sticky and shiny with Normandy butter. If you like your buns creamy, then from 11am the dessert buns come out, with tiramisu, berry cheesecake, vanilla and chocolate custard-stuffed treats on offer.

Specialities: Cinnamon and cardamom buns

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Crouch End

Sure, we all baked a bit during lockdown but how many of us actually set up a showstopping bakery? Sourdough Sophia did. This cute Crouch End spot (there's also one on Essex Road, which opened at the start of 2024), makes an award-winning wholemeal loaf and focaccia as well as all manner of delcious treats and stacked sarnies. The all-pink branding too, manages to be sweet rather than saccarine.

Specialities: Cruffins – the cheese and Marmite is a smasher – and loafs. 

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Leonie Cooper
Food and Drink Editor, Time Out London
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A cult-worthy French-Asian bakery with branches on Mercer Street in Covent Garden and Duke Street in Marylebone, Arôme combines Parisian patisserie flair with gorge global flavours. Brave the queues and stock up on almond financiers with sea salt, truffle miso slices dusted with amalfi lemon zest and parmesan, chicken hotdog croissants, nori and tomato confit pain suisse and miso bacon escargot with spring onions and coriander. Intense? We wouldn't have it any other way.

Specialities: Crisp croissants and honey french toast

Brick Lane Beigel Bake
  • Restaurants
  • Jewish
  • Brick Lane

Open 24 hours a day, this East End institution has been dispensing freshly baked, filled beigels to a mixed crowd of clubbers, drinkers and taxi drivers since it opened its doors on Brick Lane in 1974. We love the classic smoked salmon/cream cheese combo and the brilliant moist salt beef, carved as you wait from a slab kept warm in the front window – as well as the beigels (you say bagel, they say beigel) themselves (boiled before being baked) and pulled fresh from the oven day and night. You can also indulge in a piece of New York-style cheesecake or a super-sweet almond slice if you wish, but ignore the pastry-heavy sausage rolls. A narrow counter caters for those who want to park up and eat in.

Specialities: Bagels, obvs!

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Ararat Bread
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Dalston

It may be little more than a hole-in-the-wall behind Dalston’s Ridley Road market, but Ararat’s Middle Eastern-style flatbreads (they call them ‘naans’) are the stuff of legend and find their way into countless restaurants and shops across town – as well serving the needs of hungry local boozehounds. The action centres around a huge rotating oven and a trestle table where the naans are bagged up (hot ones are wrapped in paper, cold ones come in environmentally friendly plastic bags). You can buy them plain, although most people go for the versions topped with meat, cheese or egg; either way, they’re cheap as chips – but far more interesting.

Specialities: Middle Eastern flatbreads, aka ‘naans’

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Seven Dials

Having done the pop-up rounds in various London markets, St John Bakery now has its first permanent shop/café in Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials – and it’s a perfect fit if you fancy a spot of food shopping. Pick out some of their famed Eccles cakes, then nip round to Neal’s Yard Dairy for some crumbly Lancashire cheese. Do buy one of their excellent sourdough, rye or raisin loaves to take home with a bottle of wine from the shop, or simply pig out on their granny-style bakes, which have evolved by fine-tuning 100-year-old recipes to best suit the times (note their vegan muffins, breakfast buns and almond croissants). Doughnut connoisseurs will also delight in the sugary, vanilla custard marvels on offer here.

Specialities: Sourdough breads, cakes and pastries

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Gray’s Inn Road

A mere boule’s throw from King’s Cross, this London offshoot of a family-run bakery chain gives punters all the endearing charms of a properly authentic, rustic French boulangerie/patisserie without having to shell out for a trip on the Eurostar. Local workers come here for their daily bread and satisfying lunchtime sarnies, but it’s worth plundering the display of classics – crusty baguettes, rustic saucer-shaped pan bagnats, almond croissants fresh from the oven, pain au chocolat, eclairs and a tip-top version of Paris-Brest (crisp, golden-hued pastry rings filled with a ruff of nutty praline cream). Also look out for their light, sugary and sweetly perfumed bugnes – mini-doughnuts flavoured with orange blossom water. 

Specialties: French boulangerie and patisserie

18. N5 Kitchen

Setting up shop in what was once Finsbury Park's much-loved Sylvanian Families storeN5 Kitchen had big shoes to fill. Thankfully, the all-female team here have stepped up the challenge, with Saint Tropez tarts, n’duja & poppy seed sausage rolls, maple & walnut buns, indulgent praline & chocolate choux, pistachio, orange & dark chocolate cookies, and vanilla sprinkle cake. Come too for the cream-stuffed tarte tropézienne, and nifty sideline in deli-style lunches, which you'll find them shipping out crates of every morning as caterers for high-end fashion shoots. Oh and there are free donuts every Friday when you buy lunch – and you'll see a few lingering Sylvanian Family folk on the shelves as a tribute to the store's former residents.

Specialities: Sweet treats are the stars here 

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Cake Boy
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Battersea

Surrounded by upmarket riverfront flats near to Wandsworth Town, this swish boutique bakery puts on a bright and shiny face with its hot pink and orange chairs. Master patissier Eric Lanlard honed his craft as head pastry chef for Michel and Albert Roux, and his range of goodies is enough to make your mouth water. The pain au chocolat with almonds is a winner, but it’s overshadowed by the dreamy selection of gorgeous macarons: tangy, fragrant raspberry and hibiscus; creamy and sour cherry with white chocolate; beautifully balanced liquorice and fig. However, nothing can trump their heart-stoppingly rich Black Forest gateau, the cherries on top adorably decorated with gold paint. Afternoon tea and baking classes too.

Specialities: Gateaux, pastries and macaron

Comptoir Gourmand
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Bermondsey
  • price 1 of 4

Since launching in 2010, this family-run, old-world French patisserie has been producing fresh pastries, charming viennoiseries and savouries from its kitchen under the arches on Maltby Street, and they now have a bricks-and-mortar café in Bermondsey where you buy their goodies, drop by for a light lunch or stop off in the evening for some wine and charcuterie. All the specialities are made by hand in the traditional French fashion, from macarons, eclairs, ‘brionuts’ (brioche doughnut), mille-feuilles and croissants to gorgeous pain au chocolat twists. Comptoir Gourmand have been regulars on Borough Market for many years and also have an open-air café by their stall on Maltby Street Market. More cafes are in the pipeline, so watch this space.

Specialities: Viennoiseries and old-school French patisserie

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E5 Bakehouse
  • Restaurants
  • London Fields

Some of London’s hottest kitchens get their breads from Ben MacKinnon's tiny bakehouse in the arches beneath London Fields station, and E5’s hand-baked wares are top stuff if you’re stocking up on the staff of life. This independent outfit has its own stone mill and uses only organic grains and the finest ingredients to craft fresh, nutrient-rich loaves – most of which depend on 100 percent sourdough ‘starters’. Top buys include the Hackney wild (a classic rustic loaf), the free-form Stockholm, and a spelt and walnut rugbrod (a rye loaf with organic black treacle). You can also use the Bakehouse as a café drop-in for breakfast, a weekday lunch or Saturday brunch, while Sundays means pizzas straight from the bread oven. Also check out their weekly bread-making classes. They also have a mini branch in Poplar.

Specialities: Organic sourdough breads

Dunn’s Bakery
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Crouch End

A family-run business and a Crouch End institution, Dunn’s has been serving up its hand-crafted breads and sweet treats since 1820 (current owner Lewis Freeman is a sixth generation baker and took over from his father when he retired). Their Broadway loaf flecked with toasted pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds in a light rye sourdough is a winning line, but it’s worth looking out for their brioche rolls, vegan cinnamon buns, ginger parkin loaf and other non-dairy items. Dunn’s is also famed for producing doughnuts, fruit flans and luscious, elaborately decorated cream cakes as big as your face, with all manner of designs and themes for celebrations, birthdays and the like. Need a breakfast filler? Try one of their bacon rolls.

Specialities: Hand-crafted breads and cream cakes

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Park Royal

If you want a showstopper for any special occasion (including weddings), the clear choice is arty patissier Anges de Sucre, which now has its own boutique in North Acton in addition to supplying Selfridges and other retail outlets. Their cakes are insanely detailed and decorated with everything from lacy Swiss meringue buttercream and white chocolate pearls to ombré-glazed buttermilk doughnuts. Bizarre creations such as the vegan ’pig in a unicorn wig’ or ‘gaga rainbow’ cake are guaranteed to bring the house down. Don’t miss the macarons and marshmallows in all colours, designs and flavours. or drop by for a hot chocolate or a cup of coffee before you shop (the beans are specially roasted in Paris).

Specialities: Celebratory cakes for all occasions... and macarons

  • Restaurants
  • Swedish
  • Hoxton
  • price 1 of 4

Squeezed in a white-tiled vault under the arches right by Hoxton Overground station, this Stockholm-based bakery has a teeny-tiny Scandi-style seating area if you fancy a ‘fika’ (ie a Swedish coffee break, preferably accompanied by a sweet bun on the side). Fabrique uses traditional stone ovens to hand-bake excellent batons of rye bread, walnut boules and sourdough, as well as a raft of highly addictive knotted buns including a blueberry riff and a classic buttery cinnamon version studded with sugar crystals. Also, don’t miss out on the handmade, flour-dusted levain baguette, which is good enough to eat on its own. There are branches in Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Notting Hill and High Holborn.

Specialities: Swedish breads and sweet buns

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Karaway Bakery
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Stratford
  • price 1 of 4

A staple of Borough Market and other sites across town, this cult Eastern European bakery has now staked its claim with a tiny café space outside Waitrose in Westfield’s Great Eastern Market. That should be reason enough to brave the crowds, but Karaway also gives out heaps of samples and knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide you through the overwhelming choice of flavours. Multi-award-winning rye bread is the speciality (don’t miss the traditional dark, dense Lithuanian ‘scalded’ version with its delicious caraway aftertaste), but make sure to bag a fat wedge of honey cake or a slice of cinnamon, walnut and apricot loaf too. Karaway also fleshes out its offer with various pastries, toasties and pretty packets of biscuits.

Specialities: East European rye breads and patisserie

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Bethnal Green

Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) carved out a solid, celebrity-packed fan base well before opening her own hip bakery in Bethnal Green, and her forays into sculptural, macabre cake creations (gingerbread gravestones, anyone?) set her far apart from the mainstream cupcake clan. These days, she still puts on an innovative show, although space is tight in her gorgeous little courtyard café if you fancy sampling wacky delights such as yuzu lemon tart or pomegranate and black-tea vegan cakes. Lily is only open on Sundays, but it’s worth braving the long queues for her salted caramel and banana bundt cakes alone. This place is also a cosy teatime treat, especially after a trip to Columbia Road flower market (just a skip away).

Specialities: Weird and wacky cupcakes and other bizarre creations

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27. Little Bread Pedlar

Okay, let’s get the groaning puns out of the way first: LBP’s founders started by pedalling around London on bikes, peddling their breads at various markets. Now they use electric vans and have a permanent home at Spa Terminus in Bermondsey, where loyal customers queue up in all weathers to buy their wares every Saturday. Their naturally leavened sourdough bread is ‘wow’, but that’s just the start: also try out their soda bread, seeded loaves, ficelle and ring-shaped tortano. Elsewhere, pains au raisins, brownies and croissants live up to their reputation (LBP insists on using only French Lescure butter), while their Danishes range from fruity seasonal ideas to savoury creations (perhaps topped with candied beetroot and ricotta).

Specialities: Artisan breads and pastries

28. Pavilion Bakery

A visit to Broadway Market on Saturday isn’t complete without a detour to the Pavilion Bakery at the south end of the street – you can’t miss the beautiful wooden store front. There are no seats inside, but the shop functions as a grab-and-go for those wanting to pick up a loaf of bread, a sweet pastry and a cup of coffee from the machine tucked away at the side of the store. They do wheat-free rye loaves, baguettes and croissants, but sourdough is the bakery’s forte – crusty on the outside, with a properly chewy texture and that unmistakable sour tang. There’s another outlet on Columbia Road, and you can also do the sit-down version at the Pavilion Café in Victoria Park, as well as visit their Old Truman Brewery and Mentmore Studios locations.

Specialities: Sourdough breads

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Violet
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Dalston
  • price 1 of 4

Run by Californian-born cook/designer/stylist Claire Ptak, who made Harry and Meghan’s lemon and elderflower wedding cake, this bakery/café on a Dalston backstreet has a laidback vibe that’s topped off by their twee, pretty treats decorated with real flowers. As a sampler, try something from their seasonally changing line-up of US-style mini buttercream cupcakes (the chocolate violet is floral and fun, but we like the nicely sharp lemon version). They also sell gorgeous cinnamon buns, moist, swirly halva tahini brownies, ‘whoopie pies’ and a choice of creamy cakes such as salted caramel and chocolate – although these are only available in the afternoons. You can buy to take home or eat upstairs in a pretty space done out like a 1960s living room.

Specialities: Pretty, floral, Californian-style patisserie

30. Yasar Halim

Harringay is London’s ‘Little Turkey’ and Green Lanes is its main artery – a bustling thoroughfare stuffed with shops, cafés and restaurants, all peddling the native culture and cuisine. One of the unsung stars is Yasar Halim, a supermarket with a terrific bakery-cum-patisserie on site. Step inside and you’ll find counters piled high with Middle Eastern breads, as well as Turkish lahmacun pizza, savoury ‘koupes’, coiled tahini buns and cream cakes. Oh, and there’s also a long glass cabinet filled with row after row of sticky golden baklava, sold by the kilo. There are branches in East Finchley, Palmers Green and Fairbridge.

Specialities: Turkish/Middle Eastern breads and pastries

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