There is nothing quite as lovely (or nothing that will make you quite as popular) as getting a box of gourmet donuts delivered to your workplace.
Jelly Modern Donuts are what most donuts aspire to be. Each donut is hand filled and dipped, made fresh daily with inventive, gourmet ingredients.
This popular Calgary gourmet donut shop finally has a store in Toronto. The list of flavours is dazzling! Some flavours that I had my hands on were: Bacon Maple (one of their most popular), Lemon Curd, Peanut Butter Cup, Skor Bar, Marshmallow, Nenshi’s salted caramel and Callebaut chocolate just to name a few.
I loved the way that the donuts were presented, and how fresh all of the ingredients were. The donut itself is very light and airy classic honey dip. The toppings and filling are what make the donut. Everyone at my office that tasted the donuts (what, you didn’t think I ate those all by myself, did you?) were smitten, and asked where they could be bought.
My personal favourites were the Lemon Curd and the Marshmallow donut. The lemon curd was delightfully sweet, with just enough sour to make it perfect. The marshmallow donut was topped with handmade marshmallows and marshmallow cream. Delicious!
Taking a peek at their menu, I’m really excited to visit them and try their red velvet cake donut and their whoopie pie ones. You can order your donuts online or in person at their shop. 1 dozen donuts are $29.95, and they also make smaller 3 bite donuts.
Earlier this month, I found myself downtown on a Saturday afternoon with time to kill. After thinking about what to do, I realized that I could use this time to visit one of my favourite neighborhoods in Toronto (Kensington Market) to check out Nu Bagels!
Nu Bügel opened earlier this year. They specialize in traditional Montreal style wood fired bagels. (I have a bit of an obsession with these bagels and can been frequently seen toting bags of bagels from Fairmont Bagels in Montreal. Just sayin’.) Montreal bagels are Jewish in origin. These bagels are boiled in honey sweetened water before they are popped into a wood burning oven.
The shop is family owned, and I spent some time chatting with the owner and his son as I put my order in for 1 dozen bagels. I’m a bit worried because it’s 5pm on a Saturday- just one hour till closing time. Will I be able to get hot bagels?
During the day, these long skinny poles are filled with bagels ready to be scooped up by hungry customers. During my visit, they are empty, empty poles. Ssold out!) The shop, however, is buzzing with activity. Their baker is hard at work sliding long thin trays of bagels into their brick oven.
I’m rewarded with fresh, piping hot bagels in minutes. I order a dozen sesame seed ($9) and the owner warns me not to close the paper bag, or else my bagels will become soggy. I immediately sit down and demolish a bagel. It’s sooo good. Crisp on the outside and chewy and slightly sweet on the inside. Perfect.
In addition to sesame, bagels are available in poppy seed, everything, plain, and onion. For those of you who prefer to eat your bagels in sandwich form, this bakery will also prepare fresh sandwiches and salads from their diverse menu. You can also enjoy coffee and tea with your bagels.
Tucked into a quiet section of King West is a charming bakery in a unexpected place. Ps by Prettysweet is one of the most well designed bakeries that I’ve seen in the entire city.
The owner, Adjoa Duncan, has decorated the store in pink and white, with items from her own collection. Charming touches include vintage frames, a handmade spoon and fork chandelier and giant whisk lights.
The food is just as sweet as the decor. Cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, butter tarts and blondies are available daily. I sampled the best blondie ($1.75) I’ve ever had. Chewy and dense, this blondie could very well be your new best friend. You can buy bags of brownie or blondie “ends” for $5. Yum. I also loved the chocolate chip cookie: chewy, buttery and studded with large chocolate chips, it was perfect.
Tea, hot chocolate and lattes are available to go with your tasty treat. You can also order custom cakes or pick up one to go. Judging from the amount of people I saw in the store within the short amount of time that I was there, I think that it will do well!
I drive by this place all the time…and this time I remembered to stop! Patisserie Royale (1801, Lawrence Avenue East Unit 9) is a Scarborough store that specializes in Middle Eastern pastries. The recipe has been handed down from generations (from Syria) and they use clarified butter, Californian nuts and pistachios from Turkey in their sweets.
They make all kinds of baklava, including cashew, pistachio and walnut. Never had baklava before? You’re missing out! These phyllo layered pastries are soaked in a honey syrup and are really sweet. These ones were good, and I actually found them less sweet than my go-to baklava places. (Ghazale & Paramount Fine Foods) I typically can’t eat more than two of these in one sitting!
It’s about $25 per pound for baklava and I paid $6 for 9 pieces. It goes by weight. Next time you are in Scarborough for Goody’s Burgers, stop by them for dessert!
I have been hearing good things about the Le Matin bakery in Leslieville, so I decided to check it out! The friendly shop owner told me that she had been studying baking in France when she met her husband. Now, they both run this popular bakery.
The bakery carries chocolate, croissants, baguettes and various breads. They make two different types of baguettes ($2.50).
A crispier darker version and a lighter softer one. I bought the lighter baguette, a specialty bread made with mozzarella and bacon bits ($4.00) and was able to snag a brioche. ($2.00) The baguette was delicious!! It’s now pretty much my favourite baguette in the city. It was chewy, fresh and filling. The best part is that the next day it wasn’t hard! It was still delicious, although obviously not as fresh as the first time. Usually baguettes have a shelf life of a day. The brioche was also tasty, and the specialty bread was interesting. Some of the pieces of bacon inside were fatty so it was a little hard to chew. Maybe it would have been better to use crispier pieces of bacon.
I can’t wait to go back and try the croissants and those yummy looking lemon tarts! Le Matin is located on 1560 Queen Streeyt East.
Coach House Shortbread is another Toronto staple for delicious shortbread! Coach house shortbread was founded in 1986 (it’s as old as me!) and was founded by Carl Stryg.
Coach shortbread can usually be found at gourmet food stores like the One of a Kind Show.
This time of year, you can actually visit the Coach house shop yourself! I stopped by last week and it was busy. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have single cookies for sale (like Mary’s!) but they had lots of samples available.
Coach house makes savoury and sweet shortbread. The shortbread is good, but it’s light and airy. I wish it were a little richer and heavier. One of my favourites that I tried was the Cheddar and Chipotle shortbread. This was described as, “A perfect pairing of flavours, with the tang of 7-year-old Canadian cheddar registering first, followed by the smoky heat of chipotle peppers, which lingers beautifully on the tongue.” It was delicious! My favourite sweet shortbread was the Dark Chocolate and Fleur de Sel. It was sweet with just the right amount of salty.
Coach House packaged their shortbread in a unique way. The shortbread are bundled into a cardboard roll, packaged into colour coded paper and tied at the ends with ribbon. I love it! A small is $9.00, and a large is $11.00. Coach House shortbread is located at 235 Carlaw Ave. They are open until the end of December, and will then re-open for Easter.
Shortbread is my favourite kind of cookie. Period.
Christmas is when shortbread gets to shine! You can find shortbread in pretty much every food store in the city.
Toronto has a couple of shops dedicated to shortbread. One of my favourite shops is Mary MacLeod Shortbread.
Mary MacLeod Shortbread is located on 639 Queen Street East.
The first time I visited this shop, I was taking the streetcar, and it was getting pretty late into the day. I called them to find out what time they were closing, and although they were closing within 5 minutes, they waited for me! As if that didn’t make my day already, when I stepped in they offered me my choice of shortbread! That might have been the moment I fell in love with this store.
Mary’s has been around since 1981, and the shortbread is handmade in small batches. When I walk into the shop this time, I am offered a cookie (yay!) and select a Cranberry Almond shortbread cookie. It’s good, studded with almonds and cranberry, but not my favourite. My favourite is the plain shortbread, and the chocolate crunch. Mmmm. I love these cookies, because they are heavy and taste like real butter. Shortbread is not meant to be light! Another favourite of mine are the butterscotch fingers. These moist cookies offer the same rich shortbread taste, but with a chewy twist of butterscotch!
Mary’s also sells shortbread in many different forms. You can buy a single shortbread cookie from the glass display case, or pick up some of the prepackaged sets. The packaged sets feature festive shapes, and my favourite were the snowmen shaped shortbread. Mary’s is open daily. Stop by to pick up a last minute gift!