Wolter’s—keeping a good thing going
When a friend recently suggested to us that the Foodies should try Wolter’s Bakery in Williamsville’s Georgetown Square Plaza, our first question was: Where did the bakery start out—Kaisertown? West Side? North Buffalo? Though Margy was familiar with Wolter’s products and Vicki has always enjoyed its almond crescent pastry, we didn’t know the history. Our curiosity was satisfied when we met with Wendi Wolter—the daughter of bakery founder Heino Wolter—and learned that Heino opened the original bakery in 1957 on Transit Road in Depew, a mere three or four miles east of Kaisertown. In 1970, in anticipation of the growth in population of Williamsville (not to mention per capita income), Heino relocated operations to the sprawling plaza at Sheridan and Evans.
Wolter’s is a quintessential European style bakery. Wendi, the current operator and oldest of Heino’s four children, began working alongside her father at the bakery when she was twelve. Every morning, Wendi arrives early to arrange the breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries that have been baked overnight. The staff of twenty full and part-time employees produce a vast amount of baked goods including twelve varieties of bread and rolls, decorated cakes, coffee cakes, large cookies, brownies, cut-out cookies, almond crescents filled with almond paste, black and white cookies, sandwich cookies, pastry hearts, pastry pretzels, pinwheels, dark-chocolate-dipped pretzels, dark-chocolate-drizzled popcorn, whipped-cream-filled cream puffs and éclairs, Napoleons, linzer slices, petit fours, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and much more. It’s all listed on the bakery’s website. The best selling item among this vast range of offerings is the almond ring.
Wendi invited us to sit in the coffee shop adjoining the bakery for a fresh cup of excellent coffee and a sampling of thirteen small cookies. These, sold by the pound for $12, are fabulous. We also sampled the shortbread and found it to be delicate, buttery, and light with a lot of crunch as opposed to the more traditional variety—which is usually dense with very little crumble. We then tried the sour cream pastry (flaky dough filled with raspberry jam) and the light, crunchy French tuiles, which feature a sugar and nut topping. These thin, crisp cookies are absolutely wonderful with coffee but could easily be eaten alone for a special treat.
Wolter’s holiday baked goods include stollen and gingerbread, the making of which was part of Heino Wolter’s training in Germany. Wendi adheres to the Old World recipes and techniques, using only butter.
A final thought: The Foodies did enough taste-testing to appreciate that every single cake and pastry at Wolter’s tastes different. When Vicki’s late daughter Tracy operated the renowned Village Bake Shoppe in Lewiston, it was an article of faith that if a product had a different name it deserved a different taste. Tracy loathed certain bakeries that carried thirty different pastries that all tasted the same. You won’t need to worry about that at Wolter’s.
525 Sheridan Drive, Williamsville