The French have a certain “je ne sais quoi” when it comes to the world of pastries, viennoiseries, and macarons. Yvonne Tsui rounded up some of the best French bakeries in the city for Vv Magazine…
You know those commercials that show people eating uncontrollably like they’re possessed or compelled? That’s me and all things baked and buttery, which pretty much sums up French bakeries. The French just have a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to the world of pastries, viennoiseries, and, of course, macarons. Below is a list of our favourite places to indulge in Toronto…
This King West bakery is a one-stop shop. Grab a lunch sandwich such as the ham and Swiss wedged between a crusty French baguette, tack on a salad, and finish with a macaron (or two). I personally love the blueberry lavender and the black sesame; a perfect sweet ending with a cup of coffee. But I highly encourage you to try their chouquettes – eggy, choux pastry sprinkled with large sugar crystals. You won’t ever go back to a Timbit again. I should also mention that the packaging here is beautiful if you ever need a gift for a hostess.
Colette Grand Café
Everything about this place screams Paris! Walk through the white doors into an oasis of baked goods. Everything is baked in-house by pastry chef Leslie Steh. The pièce de résistance here is definitely the croissant (plain or chocolate) — I daresay they’re the best in the city. And I’m thanking the gods that someone is finally doing a passion fruit macaron sans milk chocolate: here, it is done with a white chocolate (which technically isn’t chocolate) and it is definitely a divine combo. Grab a seat on the scenic patio overlooking the park and you won’t even realize you’re in Toronto (save for the dump trucks driving by).
I don’t think there is one Torontonian who hasn’t heard of or tasted the beauty of Nadège’s macarons. Located beside Trinity-Bellwoods Park, it’s the perfect place to grab ‘n go for a picnic. From their sandwiches filled with ham from Paris on freshly baked bread to raisin buns, cannelés, and madeleines, you’ll probably spend a good few minutes just gawking at the display until your mouth starts to water and the urge to splurge comes over you. Nadège is also one of two known Toronto pastry shops to make macarons the traditional French way (the hardest method of making macarons) that includes aging the egg whites as part of the process — you need a special license for that. While it is not always available, I personally love the Camembert-flavoured macaron the best. Cheese in a macaron? Pourquoi pas?
The wonderful Butter Avenue may not be French-owned but they know how to make killer macarons and fabulous pastries. On Bayview, Epi Breads makes, in my humble opinion, the city’s best baguette. Also, Patisserie La Cigogne, on Saturdays and Sundays, serves up a mean tarte flambé.
What are some of your favourite French bakeries in the city? Let us know your thoughts on “The Best French Bakeries In Toronto” in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.