Yalaha, Florida; have you heard of it? If not, the time has come for me to introduce you to this special little town that I laud for a few spectacular places.
Nestled in the center of Lake County, this rural hub is convenient for all. Tucked around the Southern shore of Lake Harris, the largest lake of the Harris chain of lakes, Yalaha is perfect for nature lovers and fishermen looking to explore the abundance of wildlife along this beautiful shoreline. In my opinion however, there are two places that make Yalaha worth visiting over and over again; and the best part? They sit on adjacent lots, one right next to the other.
Baking it Right
Yalaha Bakery is a family owned business that’s been around for more than 20 years and is deeply loved by many. Open 7 days a week, this gem specializes in breads, cakes and pastries. The selection is tremendous. I for one am partial to the Farmer’s Rye with it’s crusty top that begs to be torn off by hand and enjoyed while still in the store. It would be wrong though to leave without a pastry or two, so take your time perusing the case full of tempting goodies. You won’t be disappointed when you try the cream horn, filled with Bavarian chantilly cream and a layer of dark Swiss chocolate. You could also opt for my husband’s favorite, and a quintessential German dessert, a slice of black forest cake. This chocolate sponge cake is sandwiched with loads of whipped cream and cherries, then topped with chocolate shavings… YUM.
Come on a weekend to enjoy live music in the biergarten (beer garden) while enjoying a cold brew and some lunch from the delicatessen, also on site. Live music begins at noon each Saturday and Sunday and the beer garden is a great gathering place, so bring your buds or make some new ones.
Bootlegging it Right
Right next door to the Yalaha Bakery is one of the coolest places in all of Lake County, Blue Bayou Farm and Yalaha Bootlegging Co. This place is right up my alley and I’m certain you’ll feel the same way after a visit. You park out front and walk into the farm’s country store. This open air market has fresh produce, homemade jams, amish butter and cheeses, local honey and the pinnacle of the food offerings: homemade, made from scratch daily, pies! I have tried each one (for the sake of research of course) and they are ALL great. They offer both sweet and savory mini pies and my favorites are the tomato pie, which is divine and the apple-blueberry-cranberry. You are welcome my friend, you are welcome. This is just one of those things that you don’t know until you know.
During season you can also pick organic blueberries right out back in the blueberry field. These blueberries are used for something else particularly special at this farm, the booze of course.
Yalaha Bootlegging Co. has its own craft distillery, curating small batches of excellent moonshine and brandy in a variety of flavors. If you haven’t had much moonshine, your in for a treat-this stuff is good! While at the country store you can sample and choose your favorites. The staff is very knowledgeable and their story is worth learning so go and pick up some essentials from this family owned and operated business in our great county and ‘shine on my friends.