Duchess Bake Shop
By Catherine Dunwoody

Proper Pronunciation

“We never say ‘maca-roon,’ says Giselle Corteau, part owner of Duchess Bake Shop. “It’s spelled ‘macaron’ and pronounced that way. We are fighting the good fight, [we] even have had people contact us saying we misspelled it on our website,” she laughs.

To say Duchess Bake Shop has been a hit in Edmonton would be selling it very, very short. The 124th Street bakery and café has daily lineups of folks who cannot get enough of the French-inspired patisserie, that shares showcase space alongside good old fashioned baked goods, such as butter tarts and brownies.

The name Duchess was chosen because “We wanted a royal feel, but not a scary, impossible to pronounce name,” says Giselle. The bake shop has since grown to a bigger space, and added a next-door boutique called Provisions, which sells tools and ingredients for the home baker, as well as cook books. Speaking of, Duchess Bake Shop’s first cookbook was launched in late 2014, selling like hot cakes - or make that lemon meringue cake, one of their bestsellers.

But what is the item they’re best known for? Their world-class macaron, especially the salted caramel flavour. “We make everything from scratch using real ingredients,’  says Giselle. “We have suppliers banging on our door [wanting us] to use their macaron mix; I can’t tell you how many bakeries use that mix. We often sacrifice our bottom dollar for good quality ingredients; we bring in Valrhona chocolate, and almond flour from California that we could get for half the price elsewhere, but everything is made with pride here.”

We never say ‘maca-roon.’ It’s spelled ‘macaron’ and pronounced that way. We are fighting the good fight; [we] even have had people contact us saying we misspelled it on our website. - Giselle Corteau, co-owner
Duchess Bake Shop, Pastries, coffee, light lunch, macarons, butter tarts, brownies, lemon meringue cake
Perfect pastries – where does one start? Photo supplied.

Modern Family

Owners Giselle Courteau, Jacob Pelletier and Garner Beggs have an interesting back story. A few years ago, Giselle and Garner (then husband and wife) opened their Edmonton bake shop after a stint teaching English in Japan, where Giselle taught herself how to make the perfect French macaron.

The couple split up, and now “Jacob and I are shacked up with a baby. It’s all very complicated and we are very proud of our modern family,” laughs Giselle. “We are a happy mixed family who work super well together. A lot of businesses crumble after divorce but we all wanted to find a way to work together; we have all grown into our roles.”

Duchess Bake Shop, Pastries, coffee, light lunch, macarons, butter tarts, brownies, lemon meringue cake
Pretty as a picture – Duchess’s vintage-modern vibe. Photo supplied.

Edmonton Pride

While the success of Duchess is evident and out-of-town customers are just aching for them to open other locations elsewhere, don’t count on that to happen. “We really are proud Edmontonians,” says Giselle. “We want people to be excited and proud to live in this city. There are great culinary things happening here, and we (at Duchess) get up every day to do a better job. People in Calgary want us to open there — not happening."

Pastries, coffee, light lunch, macarons, butter tarts, brownies, lemon meringue cake
Home made pies better than mom made. Photo supplied.
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