I’m a sucker for all things Kiwi (aka from New Zealand) — from the All Blacks rugby team and their blood-chilling Maori haka dance to the lush landscapes featured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and, of course, the meat pie. So, short of a rugby team showing up in my living room, the opening of a “proper” New Zealand-style patisserie–BurtoNZ Bakery in Windsor– was cause for celebration.
Owned by native New Zealander and Master Baker Warren Burton and his wife, Bobbi, the bakery is a labor of love by the couple, who raised nearly $40,000 on crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, from friends, relatives and supporters who wanted to see authentic meat pies — flaky-crusted mini pies with steak and potatoes, cheese and mushrooms or bacon and eggs stuffed inside — along with sausage rolls and Wattie’s sauce (a sort of spiced ketchup), custard pies, breads and other traditional bakery goodies arrive in Sonoma County.
Warren’s effusive down-under personality and, let’s be honest, killer breads and pastries (he gets help from a small staff and Bobbi), along with long-time times to the wine industry have made him a familiar figure in the Alexander Valley. As he loads baguettes into an oven that costs twice what I paid for a new car, Burton chats with customers and friends, and me, neglecting to put the signature steam venting slices into several loaves. As they come out of the oven a few minutes later, he tosses one of the hot, but imperfect loaves at me. “See what you made me do?” he chuckles? “Now you have to eat it!”
Warm bread or a cold, rainy morning driving to work? Almost as good as a rugby team in my living room. Almost. BurtoNZ Bakery, 9076 Brooks Road, South (near the Safeway), Windsor, 707-687-5455. Open from 5a.m. to around 5p.m., but call ahead to make sure or consult their Facebook page (facebook.com/BurtoNZbakery).