Location: 3507 Bathurst Street, North York
I assumed I was in good hands when the woman behind the counter at Gouter spoke with a heavy French accent. Not that every French person can automatically make delicious pastries, but it made me think that the place was probably legit.
Yeah, about that.
I had the raspberry croissant, and it was fine. I certainly didn’t dislike eating it. But there wasn’t a single element that was better than okay.
The first sign that something was amiss was the paper bag it came in. The croissant was in there for about twenty minutes before I ate it. A good croissant should be buttery enough to immediately leave grease stains on a paper bag, but that bag was pristine.
The second sign that something was amiss came when I tore it in half and saw that it was filled with about a jar’s worth of raspberry jam. That’s too much jam. And I mean, it wasn’t unpleasant to eat, but there’s no balance there.
And as suspected, the croissant — though mildly buttery — wasn’t nearly buttery enough. It also had zero exterior crispiness other than at the very ends, and was generally lacking in flavour.
The overall experience was basically like eating a slice of Wonder Bread slathered with raspberry jam. There just wasn’t much to it — the lack of textural contrast and the one-note flavour was a bit of a bummer.
Location: 235 Spadina Avenue, Toronto
The dessert pizza at Big Trouble Pizza — called the Butter Jam Jam — is quite odd. It features raspberry jam, butter cream, bocconcini cheese, mozzarella cheese, balsamic reduction, and lemon zest.
It sounds kinda absurd, and… yeah, it’s absurd. I was hoping it would be one of those things that sounds weird but is actually great; no such luck.
It’s not bad, though. It’s generally tasty enough — all of the components are good — but the flavours/textures never quite cohere in any meaningful way. It’s a little too salty for something that’s supposed to be a dessert, and nothing about it particularly pops.
It tastes like something you might whip up in a moment of bizarre inspiration (perhaps under the influence of a certain substance that was just legalized) and then, once you actually try it, never make again.
Still, I didn’t dislike eating it, I guess. And the crust was actually quite good, with a light exterior crispiness, and a pleasantly chewy interior. It definitely makes me want to go back and try one of the traditional pizzas.
Location: 510 Yonge Street, Toronto
Creme brulee: delicious. Crepes: delicious. A creme brulee crepe? Yes please.
I will, however, admit that I was skeptical; would this be one of those Instagram-friendly food mash-ups that never should have been mashed up?
Nope, it’s exactly as delicious as you’re hoping it’ll be. Actually, no; more delicious.
My only real complaint is that the top didn’t have the sugary, crackily crispiness that you’re looking for, despite being thoroughly torched.
Other than that, it was top notch. The custard was a little bit too sweet — I suspect that it came from a mix — but it was still quite tasty, and certainly got the job done.
There was also quite a bit of it; every bite had a generous amount of custard, even right at the bottom of the cone.
The crepe itself was the highlight; it was freshly made, with a chewy interior and a lightly crispy exterior that set it apart from the norm. It complimented the custard perfectly.
I enjoyed it so much that I went back a few days later for round two. I tried the Mango Raspberry, and it was just as good as the creme brulee. The crepe had the same addictive crispy/chewy contrast, and the filling featured a great balance of tartness and sweetness, with perfectly ripe chunks of fruit.
Location: 477 Queen Street West, Toronto
I guess those stupid overpriced macarons from Ladurée in Yorkdale have ruined other ones for me. Because I just ate a couple from Butter Avenue, and they were pretty good, but I couldn’t help but compare them to Ladurée — and they came up short.
I tried the pistachio and the raspberry white chocolate, and there certainly wasn’t anything wrong with either. The pistachio had a really enjoyable nutty flavour, and the raspberry white chocolate featured a delicious raspberry jam centre surrounded by creamy white chocolate. They were both quite tasty.
But the flavours just couldn’t compare to what they were serving at Ladurée, and the texture was overly dense and chewy, in stark contrast to the almost ethereal lightness of Ladurée’s version.
They were three bucks each, which is certainly less than the almost four that they’re charging at Ladurée, but not exactly cheap. If you’re already spending three bucks on a tiny macaron, you may as well spend the extra dollar and get the superior version.