1852 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Open every day 7 am – 2 pm
Just thinking about the French macarons prepared by pastry Chef Laura Farina makes my mouth water. Nothing quite compares with the texture and flavor of this scrumptious little cookie. Laura has been perfecting the art of macarons and selling them to different venues around town for several years. This experience plus baking at New Ray Bakery under the tutelage of Lisa Moss has equipped her with the necessary repertoire of desserts, pastries and cakes to sell in her newly- opened Farina Bakery.
Farina came to Portland to attend Cordon Bleu and because her brother was here. It was while she was in school she met Lydia Qualman her assistant. Lydia’s passion is cake-making and decorating. The team is kept busy preparing the wholesale macaron business and baking fresh pastries.
The sampling of some other pastries such as the Blueberry Danish, Mixed Berry Hand Pie, Turkey Swiss Roll affirm that these women know their business. The savory items were a satisfying meal unto themselves and the pastries were just right, not too sweet, not too oily and the fruit tasted like it is supposed to as it is often handpicked during the season and frozen. A complete list of bakery items can be found at farinabakery.com
The bakery is a dream come true for Farina. She comes from Ohio where she began baking as a hobby. Looking back she can see that the trail led straight to the place she is in right now–a charming storefront bakery with several tables and two brightly-colored murals depicting her grandmother’s aprons on the wall. The word farina in Italian means wheat or flour and it was bestowed upon her by her grandparents, Adelaide and Dominic, who immigrated from Sicily a long time ago.
The Parisian macaron has an interesting history. Rumor has it that the macaron came about in 1792 when two Carmelite nuns seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold them to pay for their housing. They became known as the Macaron Sisters. Other tales of the nuns said that Sisters Marguerite and Marie-Elisabeth were vegetarians and created the macaron for dietary purposes. Some believe they came to France with Catherine De’Medici’s Italian pastry chef in 1533.
The egg whites are whipped with ground almonds, sugar and flavorings to a smooth texture. According to Farina, this is a process that has to be done just right because if it is over-whipped it will become flat and under-whipped it will become grainy. The current favorite at Farina Bakery is the salty caramel made with local honey although there are many other flavors to choose from.
The bakery started out with two tables and has quickly expanded to more. “I thought this would mostly be a production facility but the neighborhood has welcomed us by coming here for pastries and coffee,” Farina said. Thanks to their bookkeeper Melissa, they know exactly how much they are making and how much they can expand–so they will build bit by bit.
Orders for macarons can be placed with at least two days notice. For cakes and other special treats, they require a consultation to ensure you get exactly what you fancy.