Location: 35 Tank House Lane, Toronto
Cluny is a French bistro in the Distillery District that also has an attached bakery where they sell various pastries and sandwiches.
The bakery has the requisite sweets, of course, along with a handful of tasty looking sandwiches and savoury pastries (the quiche looked good, as did the tourtiere). I went with the ham and brie sandwich.
I got it toasted, though I think untoasted might be the better option. Toasting gets the bread a little too crunchified, and melts the fat in the ham, making the sandwich a drippy, greasy mess.
Even so, it’s a tasty sandwich. The bread, even in its over-crunched form, is top-notch, and the speck ham and brie work nicely together. It’s a simple sandwich, but if you’re dealing with high quality ingredients that compliment each other well, further ornamentation is unnecessary.
Location: 1121 Queen Street East, Toronto
It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Bobbette and Belle is one of the best bakeries in the GTA. Maybe the best? It’s right up there, that’s for sure.
I tried the apple bread pudding on a recent visit, which they heat up and serve with a very tasty custard sauce. I mean, look at it. Do I even need to mention that it’s delicious? Of course it’s delicious.
It’s crispy on its exterior and creamy inside, with a great custardy flavour. The apples give it a nice zing, and the melty chocolate (yes, there’s melty chocolate in there, in case it didn’t already seem amazing enough) compliments it so well. My only real complaint is that the apples are a bit crisp. I know some people like their apples firm in pies and baked goods, but those people are wrong. Tender apples 4 eva.
Still, the whole thing is so tasty that it just barely matters.
On another visit (yeah, I’ve been there a bunch, so what, wanna fight about it?) I tried the coconut banana cream pie, which was even better.
I love both banana cream pies and coconut cream pies, so I have no idea why it never occurred to me that you could combine the two, but you can and it’s amazing. There’s also a layer of dulce de leche at the bottom of the pie, which gives the whole thing a rich, caramely flavour — and yet it’s not too sweet. It’s perfect.
The crust is great too — crispy but not overly crunchy, with a nice buttery flavour and a mild sweetness that works amazingly well with the rest of the pie. The whole thing is ridiculously good.
Location: 28 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Donut Monster is a really acclaimed doughnut joint from Hamilton that recently opened a location in Toronto’s Stackt Market. I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about their doughnuts for a while now — if they hadn’t opened an outpost in Toronto, taking a long drive to Hamilton might have been in order.
I’m so glad I didn’t drive all the way to Hamilton for this.
I tried the Cherry Cheesecake Bullseye, which features sour cherry pie filling, cream cheese icing, and a graham cracker crumble.
I know a lot of people are more concerned about a doughnut’s fillings/toppings than anything else, and on that level this was pretty decent — the balance between the tart cherries and the sweet frosting was actually quite good.
But the doughnut itself was seriously disappointing; it was dense and dry and boring. It was like Wonder Bread. There’s nothing to it. I’m pretty sure the prepacked doughnuts you can get at the supermarket aren’t much worse.
It certainly wasn’t unpleasant, but from a high-end doughnut place it’s a huge let-down.
Location: 755 Queensway East, Mississauga
My first time hearing about La Casa Dolce, an Italian bakery in Mississauga that specializes in desserts, was when I recently saw a photo of the Pumpkin Butter Tart on Instagram.
Obviously, I felt an immediate and overwhelming urge to eat it ASAP. Why? Look at it, that’s why.
Butter tarts are delicious. Pumpkin pies are delicious. Surely when you cram the two desserts together, you must end up with something magical. Right…?
Well, maybe not.
It’s certainly not bad; it’s one of those things that would be very difficult to completely mess up. But the one-note sweet butter tart is nothing special, and it completely overwhelms the comparatively subtle pumpkin pie filling.
The crust is the weakest part — it’s soft, doughy, and bland. The tart is mostly inoffensively tasty, but that crust does its best to bring the whole thing down. It definitely makes me wary to go back and try some of La Casa Dolce’s other baked goods.
Oh, and that stuff on top that looks like cream? It’s actually Cool Whip or something similar. It’s not great.
Location: 28 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
I’ve tried to get the cinnamon bun from Fika Cafe a few times, and it’s been sold out every time.
I finally got one. It was worth the wait.
Fika Cafe is a Swedish bakery and coffee shop in Kensington Market; they sell a Swedish-style cinnamon bun, and it’s fantastic.
It’s basically like a cross between a Swedish cardamom bun and a more traditional cinnamon roll, and it’s so damn good. It tastes more strongly of cinnamon than cardamom, but that slightly floral cardamom taste is definitely there; it’s a delightful balance.
Everything else about it is pretty much perfect — it has the perfect amount of sweetness, with a light sugary glaze and additional pops of sweetness and texture from the pearl sugar on top. It’s pretty restrained, however, so if you’re expecting a Cinnabon-esque sugar-bomb, look elsewhere.
The pastry itself is dense but not too dense, with a nice chewy texture and just the right amount of fluffiness. And of course, the aforementioned cinnamon/cardamom balance is just right. It’s one of the best pastries I’ve had in a while.