We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

D.C. is a bakery wasteland. Sure, you can find some excellent French desserts and pastries around town, but mostly in restaurants, which eliminates the easy decadence of dashing in for a croissant. Too many sweet shops are shticky, like the one-note wonders selling mediocre cupcakes for $6 a pop. If you want a full-service bakery, you’re pretty much stuck with Whole Foods. But salvation can be found at Arlington’s Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe. Wolfgang Büchler, a German pastry chef and baker, opened his place in 1975 and still runs the show with help from his wife, Carla. Heidelberg does it all, from dyed-green sugar cookies for St. Patrick’s Day to European-style cakes and pastries for any day of the week. The maple donut is a masterpiece—a fluff of yeasty white dough topped with a thick glaze of aromatic maple icing and chopped walnuts. Büchler imports European flours to ensure the density and flavor of his Old World ryes and pumpernickels. And if you must have that cupcake, Heidelberg’s version beats the rest. Its bestseller is a giant cup of moist devil’s food stuffed with a creamy truffle filling and topped with a hard cap of chocolate fondant.