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It’s a Snackdown! Southcoast bakeries battle it out to see who makes the best sweet bread

Guatemalan sweet bread from Sara's Bakery in New Bedford.COURTESY OF NEW BEDFORD FOOD TOURS

Sweet bread lovers, it’s go time.

Last February, sister cities Fall River and New Bedford competed in a month-long “Pastéis de Nata Throw-down” to see who made the best Portuguese egg tart.

(For the record: Goulart Square Bakery in New Bedford won; Fall River’s Europa Coffee Shop & Pastries placed second, organizers report.)

The sister cities’ friendly food fight went so well, organizers said, they’re doing another — this time, with the whole Southcoast family.

The 2024 Southcoast Snackdown seeks to crown the best sweet bread on the Southcoast. Voting runs Feb. 1- 29. Vote up to once per day. (Thanks to it being a leap year, you get an extra chance to vote for your favorite.)


Puerto Rican sweet bread from Lorenzo's Bakery in New Bedford.COURTESY OF NEW BEDFORD FOOD TOURS

Cohosted by New Bedford Food Tours and Viva Fall River, the sweet snackdown is a collaborative effort to increase tourism and help restaurants during a typically slow month.

“Based on the success of last year’s throw-down, we said, let’s ask people what the next [food] should be,” said Patti Rego, executive director of Viva Fall River. “The overwhelming majority” of pollsters wanted sweet bread.

Most of the 20+ bakeries on the group’s online map are in Fall River and New Bedford. But know of a hole-in-the-wall in Westport or Mattapoisett? Write it in. Rego says you can vote for any Southcoast spot as long as they make their own sweet bread (no outsourcing) and are an actual store (“You can’t write-in your grandmother’s sweet bread”).

Portuguese sweet bread from Goulart Square Bakery in New Bedford.COURTESY OF NEW BEDFORD FOOD TOURS

A press release mentioned 14 area towns and cities eligible for voting: Acushnet, Berkley, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester, Somerset, Swansea, Wareham, and Westport.

Rego said she’ll also count write-ins for two towns right over the border: Little Compton, R.I., and Tiverton, R.I. (“We’re all Southcoast. They’re our neighbors.”)


While it’s “overwhelmingly Portuguese” sweet breads listed, Rego said there are also Puerto Rican, Lebanese, and Guatemalan sweet breads on the map. “We’ve even got a gluten-free.”

The Snackdown aims to help local businesses — but it’s also a boost for locals in a dreary month. It’s “a reason to get out of the house. Not like you need a reason to eat sweet bread, but it’s a reason to visit other places,” she said. “These competitions are about so much more than the food. It’s about tradition and community.”

Vote and learn more at nbfoodtours.com/snackdown.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com.

Portuguese sweet bread from Tony's Bakery in Fall River.COURTESY OF NEW BEDFORD FOOD TOURS

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.