5 fabulous Canadian patisseries

by Athena Raypold

A French-style bakery specializing in delectable desserts, a patisserie conjures visions of Parisian patios, good coffee, and, of course, flaky, perfect pastries. From cakes to croissants, brioche to macarons, tarts, and pies, here are five fabulous Canadian patisseries you’ll find across the country.

[Photo courtesy of Nadège]

5 fabulous Canadian patisseries

1. Boulangerie Kouign Amann – Montreal, QC

A tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery on Montreal’s Mont-Royal street, the Boulangerie Kouign Amann is named for a crusty, buttery layered cake from Breton. A rare treat, it’s this patisserie’s specialty. A favourite spot in Montreal, described as “a homey, old world, wooden space,” their menu is succinct, and intentionally so – they do only a few things, but they do them extremely well. The Boulangerie Kouign Amann has a cult like following who appreciate and extol the little shop’s pastry prowess and who appreciate owner Nicolas Henry’s penchant for quality over quantity. Try their “ethereal” croissant, their pains au chocolat, chaussons aux pommes, or their flawless quiche.

2. Nadège – Toronto, ON

A fourth generation French pastry chef, Nadège Nourian has created a Torontonian patisserie empire with Nadège, which has four stunning locations to serve lovers of fine French pastries and desserts. Lending her French creations a modern twist, Nadège offers her customers a gourmet French café experience: from outstanding hot chocolate creations to beautiful, delectable cakes and savoury sandwiches. Using only the finest of international ingredients and freshly baked breads, Nadège complements the international with hyper-local produce and artisanal ingredients. While Nadège masters the basics like croissants, their true specialty is their artful, delicate cakes that produce the kind of “eyes-closed savouring” that only the best can evoke. The Yorkdale location opened in October 2016, where grown adults “rediscover their inner child” as they devour Nadège’s offerings greedily with their eyes and their mouths.

3. Little Bird Patisserie and Café – Saskatoon, SK

Tucked away in what feels like the “loft apartment of a European artist,” the Little Bird Patisserie and Café is in the historic Adilman building in downtown Saskatoon. Not only do they serve up some of the city’s finest French pastries and desserts (think delicate macarons, gooey pain au chocolat, and oozing eclairs), but Little Bird also offers some delectable lunch fare: sandwiches, soups, and salads that change weekly. Plus, they offer 19 varieties of Bellocq Atelier teas and fresh brewed Ferwood Coffee. Dubbed “Paris on the Prairies,” Little Bird is a simply and elegantly beautiful space offering simple and elegantly beautiful fare.

4. Duchess Bake Shop – Edmonton, AB

Another Parisian prairie destination is Edmonton’s Duchess Bake Shop, which was listed by Buzzfeed as one of the world’s best bakeries, listed by the Huffington Post Canada as one of the best bakeries in Canada, and is widely known for its daily (albeit quickly moving) lineups. Peering into its large storefront windows, Duchess is pretty as a picture: full of antique furniture, gilded ceilings, and ornate chandeliers. Inside, you’ll find expansive glass cases beautifully filled with cakes, macarons, pies, tarts, shortbread, meringues, madeleines, financiers, brioche, croissants, and bread pudding. Massively popular, and for good reason, owner Gisele Courteau recently published a Duchess Cookbook and partner Garner Beggs expanded the brand into Café Linnea where you can have breakfast and lunch or high tea. The trio also owns Duchess Provisions, which offers baking supplies, ingredients, and classes. Added bonus: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau loves it.

5. Thierry – Vancouver, BC

Called "one of the finest pastry chefs in the world" by Gordon Ramsay, French pastry chef Thierry Busset worked in two of London’s three-star Michelin restaurants and under renowned chocolatier Bernard Sicard before opening Thierry in Vancouver’s downtown. A modern, contemporary café, Thierry unites decadent desserts, fine coffees, liquid chocolate, and a wealth of spirits including bourbon, cognac, scotch and tequila. Open from 7:00am until midnight daily, Theirry offers a modern twist on the traditional patisserie, morphing it into a fancy yet accessible dessert cafe.

From the east coast through to the west, Canada is nailing the pastisserie game. Offering a variety of atmospheres with traditional French pastries, you can be sure to find a little taste in heaven in one of these lovely spots.

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