Agnieszka Klepacki was looking for a career path. When she took classes at the French Pastry School in The Loop, the $20,000 price tag scared her away. But thanks to a scholarship that picked up about a quarter of the tab, she was able to not only study, but eventually open her own place: La Blondina Bakery in northwest suburban Wood Dale.
"If I would get help from somewhere, then I will end up going to the school. But it's like I said, it's meant to be, it's meant to be then I go. And I guess it was meant to be," Klepacki said.
She relishes her days of mixing, kneading and baking to create passion fruit mousse cakes and beautiful, handmade danishes and paczki. Almond croissants and frangipani tarts share shelf space with Polish apple and honey walnut cakes; even a traditional poppy seed cake. It's clear her Polish roots are influenced by her French training.
"I'm mixing French and Polish cause I'm obviously Polish. Many of my customers are Polish, too," she said.
Those customers love Klepacki's breads, which are used for all of her sandwiches. Her signature has become her dense, hearty beer bread.
"I make beer bread every day. That's from French Pastry School --every day. And it's really popular, people just love it," she said. "I just love to make breads. Anything with the dough, you know. When you make breads, brioche, sweet roll like the challah, that's my favorite thing to make."
So La Blondina has a little bit of everything: a great selection of European breads that gets used for sandwiches, too. The bakery also does special occasion cakes.
La Blondina Bakery & Cafe 369 N. Wood Dale Rd., Wood Dale (630) 595-5500 lablondinabakery.com