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The aroma of freshly baking bread beckons you to step inside Bakery Nouveau. Just south of Seattle, this picture perfect place feels like Paris. (Image: Bakery Nouveau)
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Picture-perfect Bakery Nouveau is a little bit of Paris in the PNW

The aroma of freshly baking bread beckons you to step inside Bakery Nouveau. Just south of Seattle, this picture perfect place feels like Paris.

"It's important with a bakery and any kind of food establishment when you walk in you should be able to smell it first thing," laughed pastry chef William Leaman. "And then see it - right. And this bakery is set up in a way that if you're not looking at food, you're looking at people making it."

The award-winning pastry chef and his wife Heather are partners in the biz, and life.

"When I met her in college she studied architecture so it was kind of a match made in heaven," said Leaman. They opened the first Bakery Nouveau in 2006 in West Seattle. Now, they have three locations filled with incredible, edible art.

Like macarons - they have around 15 varieties constantly in stock. And don't forget sandwiches, baguettes and their famous twice-baked almond croissants.

"We started making them and it took off like a rocket," said Leaman. :Just trying to keep them fresh and keep them stocked all day."

And don't get us started on their chocolate croissants - of which they have THREE kids: Twice-Baked Chocolate, Classic Chocolate and Chocolate Nouveau.

"It's great to know how to make cakes and candies but to be your own chocolate maker? I guess it's like the pinnacle," he said.

And the chocolate-making happens right inside their bakeries.

"Roasting beans downstairs in the ovens - we can roast up to 300 pounds of beans an hour when we are running," said Leaman. "And when it comes to chocolate bars with some of the tools we have? We can wrap 80 bars a minute."

Bakery Nouveau got it's name because Leaman wanted customers to feel like every time they came in, they'd get something new.

"'Nouveau' meaning new, or newly developed," he explained.

New items and seasonal offerings like...chocolate shoes! There's a bevy of beautiful pastries available here, but one of Leaman's all-time faves is kind of a French icon: the classic croissant.

"The greatest thing there is the crunch," he said. "You want to make sure it is crispy - you can kind of hear it. The color's right. The next thing you have to do is taste it."

For Chef Leaman, it's a delicious dream come true.

"Being able to share with the staff and with customers on a daily basis," said Leaman. "I love it. Being a part of people's lives."

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