Festive Eats

Words by Sheri Baer

The holiday season is packed with traditions—places we go, things we do, people we see and special foods we eat. Whether you’re looking for seasonal items to serve at your table or tasty treats for gifts, we have plenty of delicious Peninsula offerings this time of year. Keep in mind, it’s always a good idea to order ahead to guarantee your favorites. Here are a few of ours:

Preston’s Candy & Ice Cream

Very few candy stores still make their own candy, which is why family-owned Preston’s Candy & Ice Cream is a real gem of a find. Whether it’s honeycomb, peanut brittle or rocky road (down to the marshmallow), everything is made by scratch. Especially festive and decadent, Preston’s rocky road chocolate yule logs are big sellers this time of year, along with assorted boxes of handcrafted seasonal cookies and sweets.

1170 Broadway, Burlingame 650.344.3254



With six restaurants in Silicon Valley, including locations in Redwood Shores, Palo Alto and Mountain View, Hobee’s has been a local institution since 1974. Known for its classic mouthwatering blueberry coffee cake, Hobee’s also offers a seasonal crumbling cranberry version from Thanksgiving through December. With different sizes for holiday gatherings, you can choose between coffee cake platters (12 or 24 pieces) or tins (serving 6-8 people). To make it even easier, you can order online 24 hours in advance for pick-up at any Hobee’s location.

4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto 650.856.6124

1101 Shoreway Road, Belmont 650.596.0400

2312 Central Expressway, Mountain View 650.968.6050


Manresa Bread

With retail locations in Los Altos and Los Gatos, Manresa Bread sees itself as a village bakery, offering seasonal selections of handmade breads and pastries. For the holidays, specialty items include Breton-style kouign amann (a flakey caramelized pastry), chocolate babka (laminated brioche studded with chocolate and walnuts) and triple chocolate orange panettone (a traditional Italian holiday bread). Holiday items are available in-store (and quickly sell out) so pre-order three days in advance so you don’t miss out.

271 State Street, Los Altos 650.946.2293


La Biscotteria

Augustine Buonocore was born in Redwood City and grew up baking family recipes from the province of Sorrento, just south of Naples. Lucky for the Peninsula, he’s been sharing his traditional Italian treats in this wholesale and retail bakery since 2003. Holiday-only specialty items include chocolate chip panettone, decadent artisan snowball pastries and struffoli, a crunchy, light Neapolitan dish made of deep-fried balls of dough mixed with honey and other sweet ingredients. Offering festive metallic gift wraps and ribbons, La Biscotteria is always a favorite stop for holiday gifts and treats. It’s first-come, first-served in the store, so order and pre-pay in advance as a guarantee.

2747 El Camino Real, Redwood City 650.366.4888


Sugar Butter Flour

The tradition of eating deep-fried jelly donuts at Hanukkah goes back centuries. Like potato latkes, they’re symbolically tied to the holiday’s miracle of oil. You can find jelly donuts year-round at Peninsula donut shops, but for true Israeli-style sufganiyot, it’s worth a trip to Sugar Butter Flour in Sunnyvale. Offered only during Hanukkah (December 2-10 this year), it’s a good idea to order in advance. Other Sugar Butter Flour seasonal items include pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin loaves and gingerbread cookies.

669 South Bernardo Avenue, Sunnyvale 408.732.8597


Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe

With 40 years on Burlingame Avenue, Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe is a time-honored stop for holiday-themed treats. Whether it’s Christmas tree-shaped coffee cake, holiday Stollen (traditional German Christmas bread), gingerbread houses or festive cookies and cupcakes, Copenhagen prides itself on its wide selection of seasonal sweets. For a preview, you can check out Christmas bakery items on Copenhagen’s website. It’s always a good idea to pre-order online or call ahead before pick-up.

1216 Burlingame Avenue, Burlingame 650.342.1357


Estrellita Mexican Bistro and Cantina

In Mexican-American culture, there’s no better treat than tamales at Christmas. Following Oaxaca and Chiapas tradition, Estrellita specializes in the southern Mexican style, making tamales with handcrafted mole poblano sauce (with over 30 ingredients), shredded chicken, hard-boiled egg, almonds, olives, raisins and pitted prunes enveloped in homemade corn masa and wrapped in a banana leaf, rather than cornhusks. Offered only in late December, Estrellita’s Chiapas tamales are served with rice and refried beans in the restaurant or you can reserve by the dozen for your holiday dinner. Order 48 hours in advance for pick-up December 23.

971 North San Antonio Road, Los Altos 650.948.9865