I really like small, local bakeries, where they still make everything themselves. Every bakery has his owns specialties and variety. Of course you find in Ghent the national chains like Panos or the local chains like Aernoudt or Panda, but I mostly try to support the self-employed baker. Luckily you can still find a lot of them in Ghent. My favourite one in the city center is Oud Huis Himschoot (Old House Himschoot). And it might be very small, they have loads of delicious breads and pastries.
As everything looks so tasty and you probably don’t have the time to try it all, pick the local specialty ‘mastel’. It’s a small bread, which almost looks like a donut, but it’s made of a similar dough as brioche, with cinnamon added. If you wanna eat it like the locals, just go and buy a mastel, cut it in half, put butter and brown sugar in between and close it again. Place the bread between aluminum foil, go over it with a hot iron and make it flat. Mmmmm!
If the weather is nice, why not go and buy your breakfast or lunch here? There is a superb picnic area at Graslei – Korenlei, also called Ghent Beach.