Duck Donuts (Charlottesville, VA)

Duck Donuts is a small chain that got its start in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which harbors a tiny town named Duck (yes, it’s a little confusing that my name is ). They added a new location in Charlottesville, Virginia this year and I happened to be in the area for work.

I prefer not to taste new donuts without my co-blogger — I feel guilty and I like to bounce opinions off her. But sometimes you just have to step up and do the hard work.

Duck Donuts is unique in that it fries donuts to order. Since this is impossible with yeast-raised donuts (which can overproof when left out), they exclusively serve cake doughnuts. Your options, therefore, are limited to coatings (glazes and icings) and toppings (things like sprinkles and peanuts).

An automated dispenser drops batter into a trough of oil and a conveyer belt draws them out for cooling. People working there apply your flavor choices.

I selected glazed, cinnamon sugar, maple, and strawberry.

Upon inspection, I found them to be absolutely delicious. A crunchy crust gave way to soft, warm cake inside. Laurel has commented on the tendency of cake donut batter to contain cinnamon even when the coating outside doesn’t mesh well with it. Duck Donuts didn’t have this problem — the dough flavor was sweet and rich, providing a delicious and versatile base for the topping options.

For the toppings I tried, most were successful. The sugar glaze was the right amount of sweet. The maple icing had just enough maple syrup flavor without being overwhelming. My favorite was the cinnamon sugar, which I tend to associate with cake donuts. The only disappointment was the strawberry icing, which didn’t have nearly enough strawberry flavor for my liking.

It can’t be a coincidence that my favorite doughnuts have been those that are fried fresh on demand. But, like Indian Creek Farm‘s donuts, I can report that Duck Donuts age well even 24 hours later.

So, in short, these are amazing. Keep an eye out for Duck Donuts’ ever-expanding empire because it’s certainly worth driving for.

Score: 5/5

(Yeah, that’s right, I’m just going to casually throw that out there. No big deal. Easy 5.)

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