Okay, donut lovers

You asked – I listened. It’s time to talk about donuts.

Not just any donuts, mind you, but the kind that melt in your mouth with their sweet goodness, the kind that will make a line out the door Saturday morning, the kind people in Winona have been dipping in their coffee for 86 years.

Okay, honestly, I don’t dip donuts in my coffee, I think it’s kind of, um, weird. But I know an awful lot of people who do, especially those moist little cake donuts, and someday I’d like to investigate how such a peculiar practice got started. I mean, did somebody accidentally drop a piece of donut in their coffee one day and fish it out and think, “Oh my gosh, this coffee donut is extra fantastic…” Agh, I don’t know, but anyway…

Bloedow’s. Just say it and every single human being in Winona knows what you’re talking about. Sitting on the corner of Broadway and Laird streets east of downtown, the pre-dawn aroma from this bakery has created its own valley, lovingly called Bloedow’s Valley, whose borders change depending on which way the wind blows. I can’t live there, because if I did I’d be in the line at that bakery’s door every morning at 7:30 and, well, I think we know how that would turn out.

The place is legendary. I meet people sometimes who have visited Winona once and somehow stumbled upon Bloedow’s during their stay, and I absolutely swear there are people who say it is why they want to come back.

If you haven’t been there, you might be wondering why. I mean, donuts are donuts, right? Ooooooh noooooo. Allow me to explain: These are old secret recipes that have been perfected since 1924. There are no shortcuts, no mass production, just handmade batches every day that are *still warm* if you get there early enough. Oh man, that’s a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

Which Bloedow’s product is the best will actually spawn debates around Winona, but I think the maple long johns have that contest handily. From the 400 or so that I’ve sampled I’m going to have to agree. There is something about the icing that is really, really special. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and mapely and rich and and and… sigh. But then there is also the peanut butter roll fan club, and the sugar cookie camp, and the jelly-filled groupies, and frankly all that banter gives one a perfectly reasonable excuse to try them all.

If you don’t believe me that Bloedow’s is legendary, try Googling it some time. It has it’s own Facebook fan page.  People from all over the country have reviewed Bloedow’s on all kinds of travel sites, and folks, that is some real Bloedow’s love. This one from a guy named Ben is my favorite: “Simply incredible. Worth the trip. The long john’s can’t be matched. I can’t even write a full sentence because of the thought of how good Bloedow’s is.” Haha. I feel your pain buddy. I’m sitting here trying to describe how great one of these donuts tastes, when it would probably be easier to drive to every one of your houses and hand you one to try for yourself. Of course, I’d keep one for myself, because all this donut talk has made me awfully, awfully hungry.

I don’t have any pictures of donuts, but I wanted to share a couple of pretty shots from around Winona – man this place is beautiful…

From the air over Winona - gorgeous!

Stunning view from Great River State Park area

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