1. Crust Bakery, Victoria
Photo, Crust Bakery.
Run by husband and wife duo, Tom and Crystal Moore, Crust Bakery makes all of their baked goods on-site using simple, quality ingredients. While their pastries draw sizeable crowds, selling out early in the day, they are also known for their naturally leavened sourdough loaves and pork and fennel sausage rolls.
Must try: Sour cherry cream cheese Danish. This Instagram star is only sold from Thursday through Saturday, but is so high in demand that it might end up on the regular roster.
2. Beaucoup Bakery & Café, Vancouver
Photo, Beaucoup Bakery & Café.
Owner Jackie Kai Ellis studied pastry arts in Paris (after walking away from a successful design career), and it shows in her beautiful French-inspired pastries like pain au chocolate, scones and kouign amann. The menu at this chic café also includes some of Jackie’s childhood favourites like peanut butter sandwich cookies and apple tarts. And if you’re wanting to take a butter and sugar filled vacation, Jackie also hosts pastry tours of Paris whenever she is visiting the city of lights.
Must try: Croissants. One of the most popular ones is infused with local honey, filled with almond frangipane and fresh banana slices, and then topped with rye crunch, honey caramel and crushed banana chips.
3. Duchess Bake Shop, Edmonton
Photo, Duchess Bake Shop.
All of Duchess Bake Shop’s treats, from the eponymous Duchess (a traditional Swedish cake with green marzipan and raspberry jam) and best-selling Duke (dense chocolate cake with salted caramel and whipped chocolate ganache) to rave-worthy eclairs, only contain premium ingredients like French Valrhona chocolate, organic flour and European-style churn butter. Owners Giselle Courteau, Garner Beggs and Jacob Pelletier, recently branched into a specialty market, Duchess Provisions, that stocks “the finest flours, preserves, extracts, chocolates and confections.” Duchess Bake Shop also offers baking classes so you can learn how to make their delicious treats at home.
Must try: Macarons. After being introduced to the French confection while living in Japan, Giselle spent perfecting her own recipe. Over 2,000 are made daily and come in five classic flavours (salted caramel, pistachio, lemon, vanilla, rose) plus three rotating monthly flavours.
4. Manuel Latruwe, Calgary
Photo, Manuel Latruwe.
After winning the International Patisserie Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious pastry awards in the world, pastry chef Manuel Latruwe moved from Belgium to Calgary to open his namesake shop in 1998. His contemporary European-style creations incorporate some of the finest ingredients including butter and cream from Alberta, pure maple syrup, European cheese and French wine.
Must try: Tonka bean signature cake. It consists of a chocolate brownie base, topped with Tanzania dark chocolate mousse, and covered with a decadent chocolate ganache.
5. Christie’s Il Secondo, Saskatoon
Photo, Renée S. Suen.
In addition to its daily-baked artisan breads, this Nutana-neighbourhood hot spot is known for its fresh, wood-fired-oven Neapolitan-style pizzas. Fun fact: Second-generation baker and co-owner Tracey Muzzolini won silver in the 2008 Louis Lesaffre Cup (a sibling competition to the World Cup of Bread Baking).
Must try: Cinnamon buns. The ooey-gooey swirled morning buns are made using croissant dough and filled with cinnamon, sugar and raisins and then drizzled with syrup just after baking.
6. The Thaw Bakery – Winnipeg
Photo, Michael MacDonald.
This fusion-style bakery, located in the Fort Garry neighbourhood, meshes classic French techniques with global and as many local ingredients as possible. Although the bakery has only been open since March, it’s already drawing in large crowds thanks to its original creations like squid ink croissants filled with a maple-smoked extra-old Bothwell cheddar béchamel sauce, and rhubarb compote turnovers.
Must try: Matcha brioche. This fast seller that frequently sells out features an airy matcha pastry cream hidden matcha brioche shell that’s topped with a thin matcha cookie cap and dusted with icing sugar.
7. Millie Patisserie, Toronto
Photo, Millie Patisserie.
Millie started as a creperie in Toronto’s downtown Kensington Market neighbourhood, and has now expanded with a downtown patisserie and a café north of the city. Each spot features owner Christinn Hua’s delicate pastries made using classic French technique and Japanese flavours and methods. Some examples include gelato, cheese tarts, Japanese pudding cups, and Japanese-style layer soufflé cheesecakes.
Must try: Mille crêpe cakes. The labour-intensive creation consists of many layers of delicate crêpes with light pastry cream spread between each one. Signature flavours are vanilla bean, matcha, earl grey, and Tiramisu.
8. Roselle Desserts, Toronto
Photo, Renée S. Suen.
This three-year-old dessert spot features picturesque French-inspired composed desserts. Co-owners Stephanie Duong and Bruce Lee both worked abroad in Michelin-starred kitchens, and brought that training home to open their small pastry shop. Friday and Saturday nights feature piped-to-order desserts, such as a heavenly fresh blood orange Pavlova or a whipped chocolate mille-feuille.
Must try: Banana cream pie éclairs. The dainty, finger-long pastries are layered with caramelized bananas and vanilla bean custard, and topped with ripples of whipped white chocolate. (Confection lovers take note: don’t miss picking up a bar of their marshmallow-y nougat and soft handmade caramels.)
9. Three Tarts, Ottawa
Photo, Three Tarts.
This downtown Ottawa bakery has been an institution for over 20 years. While staying up with all the of-the-moment bakery trends, their never lost sight of their roots: wholesome ingredients. In the summer, they get their fruit from the local Parkdale farmer’s market.
Must try: Decorated shortbread cookies. While the cookie flavours change weekly they are always made with a simple combination of butter, sugar and flour, and finished with a milk glaze.
10. Pâtisserie Rhubarbe, Montreal
Photo, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe.
Pastry chef Stéphanie Labelle’s quaint little Plateau Mont-Royal patisserie showcases her exquisite creations that are often twists on beloved classics. There’s the elegant pistachio layer cake, cute little pot de crèmes, granola topped panna cottas, and popular lemon desserts topped with plump dollops of silky Italian meringue.
Must try: 1,000 feuilles. A dreamy multi-layered dessert made by sandwiching vanilla bean-speckled Chantilly cream and caramel pastry cream between shatteringly flaky caramelized puffed pastry sheets.
11. Patrice Pâtissier, Montreal
Photo, Patrice Pâtissier.
This little pastry shop in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood is owned by one of the best-known pastry chefs in Quebec, Patrice Demers. Eat in and enjoy a made-from-scratch lunch or Sunday brunch plate, or take away brown butter financiers, scones, cannelés, and verrines (layered dessert in jars).
Must try: Le Vert. A complex and brilliant dessert that combines all things green. White chocolate yogurt mousse is topped with refreshing green apple granita, fruity olive oil, toasted Sicilian pistachios and young cilantro shoots.
12. Slow Dough Pastries & Café, Wolfville, N.S.
Photo, Slow Dough.
The place to go for all-butter from-scratch pastries, grilled sandwiches using the bakery’s “slow” proofed breads and other small batch goodies made by former professional opera singer Elizabeth Charlton. After graduating from George Brown’s Pastry Arts program, Elizabeth worked in restaurants as a pastry chef before selling her treats at farmer’s markets and then opening her own place.
Must try: The bread. Made using a slow-rise process, which gives the loaves more flavour. It’s the goods that started it all.
13. Two if By Sea Café, Dartmouth
Photo, Kathy Jollimore.
Haligonians are known to cross the harbour to get their caffeine fix at this café. Two if By Sea Café co-owner Zane Kelsall also co-owns the coffee roaster, Anchored Coffee, located directly next door, which supplies all the beans for the café. It also features a selection of jumbo-sized baked-in-house pastries that are a meal (or two) in itself.
Must try: Pain au chocolat; prosciutto & provolone croissants. For the croissant of the week, co-owner and baker Tara MacDonald (who never made a croissant as a home baker before becoming a professional), generously stuffs the buttery, golden brown pastries with a rotating selection of fillings.
14. Leonhard’s Café and Restaurant, Charlottetown
Photo, Leonhard’s Café and Restaurant.
Owners Alexandra and Axel Leonhard are originally from Germany, and moved to PEI in 2008. A few weeks after arriving on the island, Alex started craving hearty German breads, but unable to find any, made her own. Soon after, she started selling the bread at a farmer’s market, which then led the couple to open their Bavarian café. Along with German cakes and pastries, the cafe also serves breakfast and lunch.
Must try: Croissants and danishes. Made fresh every day using top-quality ingredients, these pastries are they perfect example of why sometimes simple really is best!
15. Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food, St. John’s
Photo, Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food.
The retro-style bakery is located in a three-story heritage building in downtown St. John’s. The first floor of the building houses the dine-in and take-out area, the second houses the Rocket Bakery (where they make everything) and the third floor houses Rocket Room, an event space catered by Rocket Food that also serves as a community hub for local musicians and artists.
Must try: Signature cakes. Made fresh daily, and available whole or by the slices these cakes have been on the menu since day one.