Spring arrived and that means more sunny walks in Noorderplantsoen, city center and Stadspark. And walks mean coffee to-go, and coffee to-go means donuts to eat! Time for a to-go test: where do you get the best donuts in Groningen?
At HanzeMAG, we love to test food. But in these times of closed restaurants and bars, we are left with food and drinks to-go. And what’s the best food to go with a coffee-to-go? Exactly, donuts! I decided to pick six places that sell donuts and are along nice walking routes. A list was quickly made, but I missed a real sweet tooth to test along with me. So I asked Chiara to join, because she could even eat spinach with sugar. Together, we wandered around Groningen to find the best ‘creamy’ donut.
The criteria? Surely taste is the most important. Does it taste like a donut are or more like sweet bread? Does it make us want to eat another one right after? How is the consistency? Does the dough stick to your teeth worse than second glue? And last but not least, how are they packed? Can you eat the donut without getting sticky hands? Is it recyclable or plastic?
The first stop is Jumbo. It is one of the main supermarket chains in The Netherlands, so you can find one really easy in the city. The environment inside is the typical one for a supermarket: really organized and neutral with shop assistants ready to help you in case you can not find donuts, even though they are right in front of your eyes. Out of all the places, Jumbo is the winner when you consider the price/quantity ratio. Here you can have five yummy donuts for less than three euros.
Chiara ate three of them in a row, but she is special
As we get outside, and we bite one, we are surprised. Usually, supermarket donuts are nothing special, but these ones are great. They actually taste like donuts and not as sweet bread – this did not happen in all the places we went to, little spoiler. However, they are not sold separately, so if you want the ‘creamy’ one you need to buy the whole box of five. Each of them is really colorful and with a promising smell. And even if they are produced industrially, they are soft, not like the usual dried supermarket one, and the dough did not stick to our teeth. So, to sum up, we are really surprised. Chiara ate three of them in a row, but she is special. Anyhow, there is a negative side to these donuts: the packaging. The box they come in is made of unrecycled plastic, which protects the donuts from damaging, but does not protect our environment.
The second place we headed to was Pure. This place is specifically known for its donuts. It is located at Vismarkt, a super central location. Here a donut can cost from 1,75 up to 2,95 euros. This time, we go for the cheapest option, a ‘creamy’ one with some cookie bits on top. It is as big as your hand and really filling, so the price is more than justified. It is not too sugary, but instead really soft and it melts in your mouth. The taste is round and dense, in a positive way. It can be defined as a soft, lasting explosion of sweetness. Even a small bite fills your mouth with flavour. And when you eat it, the dough does not stick to the teeth or to the fingers.
It can be defined as a soft, lasting explosion of sweetness
The packaging, a box, and bag – all paper – is handy to hold the donut, without touching it directly. Very useful when you are eating outside. The shape and glossy cover of the donut make it appear cute. The place itself and the people working there deserve positive feedback as well. Internally, it is decorated in a chic industrial style with the bricks of the walls exposed. And once you step inside you can find really kind girls working and a huge variety of different donuts. The only negative point with these donuts is the thirstiness they leave you with and the sad feeling they leave you with when you finish them.
Bakker Bart is our next stop. It is pretty close to Pure, just at the end of Herestraat, the large street where Zara and Hema are located. This was one of the places that disappointed us the most. A ‘Creamy’ donut here is cheaper than at Pure (1,50 euro each) but this is still not money well spent. They have a dry, industrial taste. And the dough is sticky to the palate and teeth. It tasted like a piece of sweet bread filled with butter. Anything positive to say? Well, their appearance was appealing, the colors were vivid and the toppings placed tidily on their tops. But once you bite into them, the magic disappears.
It tasted like a piece of sweet bread filled with butter
Once we stepped inside, the place seemed to be kind of industrial and the overall impression was like entering a McDonald’s or Domino’s. However, something positive can be said also about the packaging. It was all paper, no plastic was involved and it was also functional. Thanks to the napkin inside, you do not have to directly touch the donut, something really convenient when you are eating on the go.
The Donut Company
As we finished at Bakker Bart, we headed to The Donut Company. It is really close to the Academy Building and Mr. Mofongo. The thing about this place that impressed us the most was the girl working there. When we stepped inside, she was sticking some labels on some boxes, but as soon as she saw us, she stopped and welcomed us with a huge smile on her face. She seemed like one of those people giving you just heartwarming vibes. Surely, she was the kindest of all the people we met for this article.
As soon as she saw us, she stopped and welcomed us with a huge smile on her face
Their attention to customers could be seen also in their interior design and in their attention to details: all the pillows have a donut shape and every donut is different. The taste variety of donuts available is limited but the toppings are really different from each other: all kinds of chocolate chips, smarties, candies, cookie bites, and many more. One donut here is more expensive than at Bakker Bart (1,70 each) but it tastes as it is supposed to, as a donut and not as sweet bread. We picked the ‘creamy’ one and it was soft, not sticky to the palate or teeth, and neither too sugary. It was the lightest out of all the ones we tried, and the only one that did not make us thirsty. Moreover, it is the only place using recycled paper for packaging, a total plus, as the box coming with the donut is also useful to grab it without directly touching the donut.
The second-to-last stop is Plus. Here we found two ‘creamy’ donuts for less than 1,50 euro, which is more expensive than Jumbo but less than at local bakeries. It is a supermarket, so you can easily imagine the atmosphere inside and the kindness of the people working there. Even though they are industrially produced they have an appealing smell and appearance. But we can not be so positive about the taste. Indeed, they taste like sweet bread and not as real donuts. The dough is not gummy, it does not stick to the teeth or the palate, but it is dry. And they leave a film on the walls of the mouth which makes you wish for some water.
They taste like sweet bread and not as real donuts
The ‘creamy’ one has a cream filling inside which tastes good and not too sugary. However, it does not make you wish for a second one right after. As you can see in the picture above, they are sold inside a plastic box, which is not environmentally neither hygiene friendly, as you have to touch the donut with your fingers, unless you have a napkin yourself. While Jumbo made us consider changing our opinion about supermarket donuts, the opposite happened with Plus.
Last stop: Albert Heijn. Here you can purchase two donuts for 1,82 euros. They come inside a transparent plastic bag that makes you see what you are buying but is not really a good choice environmental-wise. As Jumbo and Plus, Albert Heijn is another well-known Dutch supermarket, so you can easily find one around the city. Here the ‘creamy’ donut has a pleasant appearance, but you can definitely see that it is an industrial one. The smarties on the top are too small and the cover topping is too flawless to be self-made. The dough has a soft consistency, not dry at all. It has a satisfying flavor, however, it tastes just like sugar, nothing special.
It is definitely better than Plus, but it can not keep up with Jumbo’s standards
It is crunchy, not too sugary but really sticky. However, the softness of the dough balances the stiffness of the topping, so overall the donut does not stick to the palate and neither to the teeth. And once we finished eating one, we were both left with a film in our throat, which made us thirsty, but also had a pleasant aftertaste. It is definitely better than Plus, but it can not keep up with Jumbo’s standards.
In fifth place, we can find Bakker Bart, followed by Plus and Albert Heijn. The bronze goes to The Donut Company and Jumbo wins silver. However, the absolute winner is …. oooooh: Pure! This place, without any doubt, deserves the gold caramel medal!