The Great Doughnut Debate

Who makes the best artisan doughnuts in Virginia?


In the June 2012 issue of Virginia Living, Greg Weatherford’s article “Don’t Mind If I Doughnut” chronicles the polarizing rise of the artisan doughnut, which is poised to be the next big thing in the culinary world.

So where does all the controversy lie? When people say they “like” doughnuts, this doesn’t mean they actually believe all doughnuts are created equal. The fact is that when we think of doughnuts today, we typically think of one of two archetypes: Either the denser cake-like version, which uses baking powder as the raising agent – the Dunkin’ Donuts special – or, as Greg Weatherford describes, the doughnuts made with yeast which puff up into “a sort of transcendentally airy product that evanesces into sweetness like cotton candy” – the Krispy Kreme phenomenon.

When it comes to deciding which method yields the superior product, doughnut enthusiasts on both sides of the spectrum tend to be opinionated to the point of hunger-fueled aggression. The rise of the craft-doughnut muddles the picture even more because, when it comes to made-from-scratch doughnuts, no two are going to be alike.

So it has come to this. With National Doughnut Day (June 1) nearly upon us, we at Virginia Living feel it is extremely important to set the record straight. Where are the best doughnuts to be found in Virginia, and what makes them so good? Aside from the mass-producing doughnut monsters, Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, which have locations around the state, there are a variety of increasingly popular artisan doughnut shops in Virginia, including:

Carpe Donut (Charlottesville)

Country Style Doughnuts (Richmond)

Mama’s Donut Bites (Vienna)

Spudnut Shop (Charlottesville)

Westhampton Pastry Shop (Richmond)

Was the best place left off this list? Can anyone compete with the chain restaurants? (Is Krispy Kreme a restaurant?) Do you make the best craft-doughnuts?

Let us know in the comments: Who makes the best doughnut in Virginia, and what is it that makes their doughnuts so delicious?

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