Minnesota’s best doughnut? Food & Wine magazine says it’s in Lindstrom

Food & Wine magazine has just posted some serious clickbait. Because when doesn’t the word “doughnut” send everyone reaching for their smartphone? Especially when there’s a Minnesota connection, and the subzero weather has everyone craving sugary carbs. Or, at the very least, images of sugary carbs.

In “The Best Doughnuts in Every State,” author David Landsel runs through what he describes as an “intensely personal” roster of deep-fried artistry, “assembled after several years of doughnut eating in the name of research,” from Boston creams to beignets. “The American doughnut is as varied as we are, and there’s almost no corner of the country that hasn’t been hooked for generations, or failed to put their own stamp on the genre,” he writes.

When the travelogue hits Minnesota, Landsel enthusiastically endorses the Scandinavian doughnut, the 80-cent house specialty at the Lindstrom Bakery (12830 Lake Blvd., Lindstrom, 651-257-1374), which is about 50 miles northeast of downtown Minneapolis.

Owner Bernie Coulombe has a one-word response for all the hoopla.

“Unbelievable,” she said.

She became aware of the accolade the old-fashioned way, via word-of-mouth.

“I heard on Saturday, when so many customers started coming in and telling me,” said Coulombe. “I don’t own a computer and I don’t have a smartphone, so when my son got here I said, ‘Go on your phone and find out what’s going on.’ ”

The doughnuts — slightly crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside — are sold in four variations: plain, honey-glazed, cinnamon-sugar and chocolate drizzle. They definitely reside on the old fashioned side of the doughnut family tree, but their Nordic roots are not immediately evident.

“Years ago, the great Michael Stern asked Coulombe what made these donuts Scandinavian,” writes Landsel. “Her response: I’m Scandinavian, and I make them. No further questions.”

It was Stern — with longtime eating and writing partner Jane Stern — who gave Coulombe her first taste of national acclaim. True to their brand, the Sterns — they’re the intrepid authors of “Roadfood,” which chronicles “authentic American eats” in magazines, books and at roadfood.com -— were driving through town when they zipped past the bakery, spied the sign over the door that announces, “Home of the Scandinavian Donut,” and made a U-turn.

“They told me that whenever they saw a sign that said ‘Home of the….’ they had to check it out,” said Coulombe.

Surprisingly, the Scandinavian Donut isn’t the top seller at the bakery, which is marking its 48th anniversary in May. That distinction belongs to Coulombe’s labor-intensive version of rusk, the Swedish cinnamon toast-like (and hygge-inducing) delicacy.

“When people head south for the winter, it’s nothing for them to come in and buy 20 or 30 bags,” she said. “They fill their luggage with it.”

Rick Nelson • @RickNelsonStrib

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