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Swiss Alps Bakery & Cafe Brings a Taste of Europe to Uptown Albuquerque

By Pamela Sosnowski

Downtown Albuquerque seems like an unlikely location for a Swiss-themed bakery, but for over 15 years Swiss Alps Bakery & Cafe has proved that there's a demand for baked European delicacies in the Southwest. Owned by Cameron and Jessica Johnson, the bakery makes all of its items from scratch, and its cafe serves breakfast and lunch.

"We are a small locally owned business that focuses on using fresh ingredients, and making everything in house," Cameron Johnson said. "We do not use any artificial flavors or chemicals to increase the life of the items."

Although the Johnsons bought in the cafe in 2011, is has operated for nearly two decade. The business originally opened as the Black Forest Bakery in the 1970s. The original owners passed down their recipes to the Johnsons, who have also added their own. The diverse menu offers an assortment of pastries, cookies, breads, and specialty European cakes and pies including a rich Austrian sachertorte and Italy's famed tiramisu.

For first-time visitors, Johnson recommends trying the almond horn, a marzipan-filled puff pastry coated with almonds, or any of the bakery's strudels, pretzels, or rum balls. The local German community has also been enjoying Swiss Alps Bakery's German goods such as their rye breads, Bavarian style pretzels, and sweets including Linzer tortes and beehives.

If someone wants to sit and savor their treat, the cafe offers up a cozy and inviting place to do so and serves its hearty breakfast dishes all day as well as sandwiches, salads, and a variety of coffee, tea, and espresso. In fact, Johnson hopes that the cafe will show customers that they're more than just a bakery.

"People often do not associate us as a sandwich shop," he said. "We hope to change that and truly invite the community to try one of our phenomenal sandwiches; they will not disappoint!"

Some of those freshly made sandwiches include the beef-eater, a mouth-watering combination of roast beef, cheddar cheese, green chilies and horseradish mayo served on a fresh ciabatta, and the big cheese panini, a savory melted blend of four cheeses with roasted red peppers and pesto. Both hot and cold sandwiches are available along with choices for kids and sides.

During holidays the bakery usually offers up themed specials, such as boxed Christmas cookies, hot cross buns for Lent, and heart-shaped Valentine's Day treats. They also take special orders for breads, pies, cakes and more during the holiday season. From late May through the summer you can usually find the bakery's staff at the Los Ranchos Growers Market that runs Saturdays from 7 AM to noon on Rio Grande Boulevard.

Swiss Alps Bakery & Cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 AM to 4 PM, and Johnson welcomes everyone to enjoy a taste of the Alps uptown.

"Our atmosphere is warm and inviting," he said. "It is very difficult for the first timer to come and have only a sandwich, or only a turnover; the temptations are far too great. We are sure that once someone tries us, they will be a customer for life."

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