Victor, Colorado is a perfectly quaint little mountain town that gets far less attention than it deserves. Just a short drive west from central Colorado, rough mountain ridges rise high above the town’s streets dusted with snow in the winter. Old headframes from the town’s infamous abandoned mines still stand tall above the frozen ground beneath which mining tunnels snake for hundreds of miles. The crushing of ore and the heavy mechanics of haul trucks hard at work may be heard in the nearest Newmont Gold Mine.
Just off of main street, you can follow the buttery aromas of baking bread to a staple of the town of Victor: The Gold Camp Bakery. The bakery is easy to find, and if you have trouble, follow the direction of a modest chalkboard sign stationed outside alerting visitors passing through that there are authentic German flavors nearby.
The Gold Camp Bakery opened in 2009 just nine years after the owners Gertrud Wuellner and Ralf Bock emigrated from Fulda, Germany. They had never owned a bakery before. Bock had started an apprenticeship as a baker when he was a teenager, but eventually switched to carpentry. Wuellner, however, had always spent time at home baking. The pair opened the bakery in Cripple Creek where it stayed for a year before finding it’s forever home in Victor.
As a child Bock wanted to leave Germany, and dreamt of moving to either North America or Australia when he had the opportunity. The pair ultimately chose to settle down in the Gold Camp District after visiting the area in 1998 – falling in love with the mountainous terrain, the rich mining history, and the unmatched landscapes.
The Gold Camp Bakery is the only German bakery in the district, and well-visited by locals as well as annual visitors to the area. Their signature items are their made-from-scratch baked goods and breakfast items. Order a warm ham and cheese roll with a steaming cup of coffee and cream. The extra cheese oozing from the end during baking makes for an extra crispy treat. For those with a sweet tooth, the bakery offers made-from-scratch fruit pastries with very little sugar that is still just enough to satisfy your cravings.
“We bake everything in small batches from scratch at our store in Victor. Many of our recipes are traditional German recipes. All of them are ‘trial-and-error’ adjusted to the specific Victor conditions, like the altitude of almost 10,000 feet.” Says Wuellner.
Wuellner points out that the cultural differences between Germany and the United States contribute to their fluctuating menu, saying that Germans tend to look for different items than Americans would: “Our most popular items are ham and cheese rolls, biscuits and gravy, sandwiches, chicken pot pies, miners’ pasties, bee stings, black forest cake, and peanut butter pie. Most of our goods are less sweet than typical American baked goods.” Says Wuellner. Closer to the holidays in December, the Gold Camp Bakery offers traditional German and European Christmas cookies.
Bring a healthy appetite when you visit the Gold Camp Bakery. In the words of the owners: “If you leave the bakery hungry, it is your own fault.” Customers who are looking for special orders, whole cakes, or large amounts of one particular item are encouraged to call ahead because limited amounts are available.
The Gold Camp Bakery is typically closed on Sundays during the winter months, but will be open seven days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas along with many other stores in Victor. If you’re worried about the snowy roads when planning a trip up the mountains, don’t. CDOT does a good job keeping Highway 67 plowed and clear due to the active gold mining operation happening just outside of Victor. So there’s no excuse not to take part in the various Christmas-y activities put on by the Gold Camp District, and stop in for a pick-me-up at the Gold Camp Bakery.
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