People travel from far and wide to experience all that Napa Valley has to offer — namely, the award-winning wineries rooted in the area for decades. A lesser known indulgence is its English muffins.
Model Bakery, a longtime fixture of Napa’s Main Street in St. Helena, went from small-town gem to international sensation last spring when Oprah Winfrey told People magazine that her biggest luxury is having their English muffins flown in.
“My greatest extravagance is flying in English muffins from Napa Valley,” Oprah told People. “There’s a specific English muffin made by these two women at this wonderful bakery in Napa Valley. I know it’s not a good carbon footprint to fly in your English muffins but …”
On a recent trip to Napa, I stopped by two locations of Model Bakery to try the English muffins. The first location in Yountville, California, had sold out before 11 a.m.
“Everyone asks if they can have the ‘Oprah special,'” one employee told me.
When I finally got my hands on a muffin at the original location in St. Helena, it was love at first bite. I tried mine toasted, buttered, and topped with raspberry jam. It fell apart in my mouth and left sticky crumbs on my hands that I couldn’t help but lick.
Model Bakery is owned by mother-daughter duo Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen. The pair specialises in artisan breads made with organic stone ground flours.
Oprah named the carb-filled treat to her Favourite Things list in 2016 — an honour that Model Bakery proudly displays on a chalkboard at its location in Yountville, California.
“I don’t have to tell you all how much I love bread. These English muffins are my current carb of choice: crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and scrumptious all over,” Winfrey wrote for the list in “O, The Oprah Magazine.”
The muffins cost $US40 for a dozen muffins and a jar of preserves. They’re available on Amazon.