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Baked Goods

Bobbette & Belle

Posted by Staff / Posted on January 9, 2011

Bobbette and BelleBobbette & Belle, an artisan patisserie that began as a studio that catered to couples looking for wedding cakes and wedding reception favours, moved into a retail location in Leslieville late last year, and already they have regulars. After checking out the gallery wall of cakes and its counter array of tarts and scones, and after chatting with owners Sarah Bell and Allyson Meredith, I could see why. Bobbette & Belle offers sugar, art and community - always an irresistible combination.

Bobbette and BelleBobbette & Belle has already made its name in the wedding industry, with Allyson's cakes featured in wedding magazines and Allyson winning the Canadian Wedding Industry Award for Cake Designer of the Year. Sarah's French macaron favours have also made their mark, building on Sarah's background as executive pastry chef at Canoe. However, when customers began asking about the possibility of individual orders, Sarah and Allyson decided it was time to expand into retail.

While most people think of pastry shops as take-away places, Sarah notes that "people now are interested in experience." I found the design of the shop an interesting combination of art gallery and living room, where baked goods are art to be admired, but the point of visiting is to sit back and relax with friends.

Bobbette and BelleStark white walls are offset by a comfy sofa set, an imposing gallery-style wall of tiered cakes faces shelves of packages to take home ($8.50 for a package of 8 handmade caramels, $10.95 for 8 packaged cookies), and a glass counter display of tarts ($3.50 each, flavours include lemon meringue and chocolate ganache) and cupcakes ($2.75 each, assorted flavours) is made welcoming by the long tables that invite you to sit for a while. These long tables usually become "community tables," Sarah says, where groups of people who didn't come in together end up sitting at the same table and chatting. "It's very European," Allyson says, adding that it reminds her of cafes in Paris.

Bobbette and Belle's business model is very customer-driven: Sarah and Allyson create products that customers want. For example, their handmade marshmallows began as garnish, but when customers began asking for it, Sarah and Allyson made it a separate menu item. Created in-house with real fruit puree, these marshmallows come in flavours like passion fruit and chocolate chocolate chip ($4.95 for a package of 8).

They also serve hot chocolate (mix created in-house) with homemade vanilla marshmallows that they toast right at the counter with a torch. "It's part of the whole experience," Sarah says. She remembers how as a child, she loved getting hot chocolate with marshmallows as a treat, and she wanted to share that experience with their customers.

Bobbette and BelleTheir cupcakes ($2.75 each) are also very popular. Larger than most competitors' cupcakes and moist with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, their cupcakes come in a variety of flavours including chocolate with Lindt chocolate buttercream, chocolate with Gianduja buttercream (milk chocolate and hazelnut), vanilla with mango passionfruit buttercream and apple spice with maple buttercream. Allyson describes buttercream frosting as "light and rich without being overly sweet," which sets it apart from traditional cupcake frosting.

Bobbette and BelleSharing the home-baked experience is key at Bobbette & Belle, so all their items are freshly baked. While their baked goods are veritable works of art, beautiful pieces that will certainly impress at any wedding or special event (for smaller parties, a 7-inch cake with buttercream flowers costs $34.75, 9-inch cake is $44.75), Sarah and Allyson focus on providing tastes that give customers the comforting, home meal experience.

Bobbette and BelleOn weekends, Bobbette & Belle serves French baguette sandwiches for lunch ($8, assorted meats and cheeses, vegetarian option). Bobbette & Belle's scones are created from Allyson's grandmother's recipe. Allyson remembers how when she was a child, her grandmother, who was herself in the wedding cake business, would bake these scones at home. Nana's scones beat out other contenders in a blind taste test and are now served with fresh Devonshire cream ($3.25).

Bobbette and Belle"My philosophy on flavours is that they should be approachable and classic, with a twist," Sarah says. This, Allyson says, is why most of their macarons ($2 each) have chocolate-based fillings. Flavours include classic (rich and creamy ganache with semi sweet chocolate), caramel (rich butter caramel with fleur de sel) and gianduja (dark chocolate ganache with praline and roasted hazelnuts).

Bobbette and BelleTheir flavours "aren't out there," Sarah says. While some places serve such exotic macaron flavours as lavender, Sarah notes that very few people, if any at all, would list lavender as their favourite flavour, whereas chocolate is generally well-loved. Still, these "classic" flavours are by no means ordinary. Sarah and Allyson spent months in Paris doing research to develop their French macaron recipe. What sets their macarons apart? Allyson says that it's the method they use. Sarah adds, "That's a secret."

Bobbette and BelleWriting by Jaclyn Eunice Qua Hiansen. Photos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

38 Comments

Lisa / January 10, 2011 at 11:18 am
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Pros: Cute store, really beautiful cake designs, cozy atmosphere.

Cons: dry stale macarons, crunchy and hard
cake was not bad, one of the better ones in the city. the buttercream was nothing but butter. I couldn't even taste the cream cheese in the red velvet.
disinterested attitude at the counter

I know they just opened so it's probably just a few wrinkles that they need to iron out.
Theressa / January 10, 2011 at 11:54 am
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We're so happy Bobbette & Belle finally have a retail shop. We served their macarons (and cupcake) at our wedding last year, and have been craving these little gems ever since. We've tried lots of different macarons, and we think theirs are the best in the city.

And the scones with clotted cream are to die for. Welcome to Leslieville!
Maria / January 10, 2011 at 01:24 pm
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I am constantly amazed at the beautiful artisanal pastries that Sarah and Allyson produce. I was there the past week and had their home made hot chocolate and I can honestly say it was the MOST amazing hot chocolate I have ever had. Their special recipe makes a thick chocolately, but not too sweet, hot chocolate and their homemade marshmallow on top is an incredible touch. Definately a new favorite!
Alicja / January 10, 2011 at 01:27 pm
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I popped into Bobbette and Belle after a Saturday brunch in Leslieville (I don't make it out to the area often). The service was warm and friendly. The attendant took the time to tell me about some of their products and even took me on a tour of the back kitchen where one of the bakers was detailing these absolutely gorgeous little Christmas cookies meant to look like little vintage postcards. It was clear to me that this was a place that takes the quality of their products very seriously.

And the macaroons are without a doubt the best in the city! Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside... Very reminiscent of a Parisian patisserie. I could easily eat them by the dozen.

I’ve already recommended this beautiful and unique spot to several of my friends. When can I expect a West end location?
RogerW / January 10, 2011 at 01:50 pm
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I recently saw a whoopie pie throwdown on the Food Network and was happily reminded that they can be found at Bobbette and Belle!

Not only are their whoopie pies fantastic, but their other offerings are as well. The macarons have a delicate crunch, with a slightly yielding chew that gives way to a variety of delicious fillings. The cupcakes are moist and flavorful - so much so that I ate four of them in one short sitting! The humble marshmallow, with flavors such as passionfruit, raspberry, vanilla-toasted coconut, among others, are delightful.

Highly recommended!

Trish / January 10, 2011 at 03:16 pm
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I've followed Sarah and Allyson's work for years, and the extent of their talent never ceases to amaze and surprise me. From new creations that I've never tried before (such as whoopie pies or handmade salted caramels), to the greatest classics (cupcakes and macarons); they truly are pastry magicians.

I continue to return to them for special events (cakes, favours, etc.), and can't recommend them, or the store, highly enough.

Their new shop transports me, and reminds me of my favourite places for sweets in London and Paris.
Alan Smith / January 10, 2011 at 03:29 pm
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I'm a big macaroon fan and these rank up there with Ladure Paris, but for my money its the handmade marshmallows. These girls are artists, and it shows in their work.
Mabel / January 10, 2011 at 03:43 pm
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We have been stopping at Bobbette & Belle on a regular basis since they opened in our neighbourhood.  Everything I've tried has been delish!  My husband loves the bread pudding.  My scone on the weekend was still warm from the oven… Perfection!  The owners are very nice and welcoming, as is the one man/chef who is there; he even gave my son one of his paper hats on the weekend.  Some of the other staff aren't as friendly or helpful.  Wish they had latte's, but they've said that they might have an espresso machine soon.
Rieko / January 10, 2011 at 04:18 pm
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I'm just floored by the quality of their desserts. there is nothing quite like it here in dc (and i've tried a lot of desserts!)

I've sampled many macaroons in the past year and I think the ones by Bobbette & Belle are the most delicious. I prefer these to even Bouchon Bakery in NYC - both in terms of color (B&B's is less artificial looking) and because they are not as sweet. Bravo to them for making such a delicate, beautiful, moist, and tasty macaroon with a fabulous crunch on the outside!

Kimberly / January 10, 2011 at 07:37 pm
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I never thought I'd find a taste of Paris in Leslieville! The macarons are to DIE for. So delicately crispy and chewy with a creamy burst of flavour in the middle.
I also love that I can feel comfortable in such a beautiful cafe even with a little toddler in tow. Lots of room to park a stroller and enjoy a fresh pain au chocolat with a cup of the most decadent hot chocolate I've ever tasted. Kid-friendly, reasonably priced and very warm and friendly atmosphere...I'm definitely going to be a regular here.
Phoebe / January 10, 2011 at 08:22 pm
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Amazing addition to Leslieville! Its dangerous to have this beautiful shop with tasty goods nearby.Looking forward to trying all the treats!
Jon Thorpe / January 17, 2011 at 02:08 pm
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I always knew that you two would reach great heights with your fabulously delicious treats, but even I am blown away with the accomplishments and new heights that you are reaching!

Keep it coming! You are both an inspiration!
German Arias / January 24, 2011 at 05:27 pm
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BOBBETE AND BELLE is my inspiration ,is wonderfull,bravo
Judy / February 1, 2011 at 04:39 pm
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I went to Bobbete and Belle on the weekend and besides a beautiful store the cupcakes where not that good. WAY to much butter that is all I tasted and after taking with a girl that worked there about other cupcakes I expected better. I will not be returning there are better cupcake stores in the city!!
Ashley / February 2, 2011 at 05:24 pm
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Yummmm, these pictures are amazing looking! I can't wait to posh my life up a bit with something from here!
Kelly / April 22, 2011 at 10:43 am
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Super cute store. Had the best carrot cake ever there one weekend and still remember it. Great place.
Sara / December 12, 2011 at 10:05 am
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You can't dipuste the fact that Bobbette & Belle creates stunning cakes, and macaron towers. However, I purchased some macarons, and cupcakes to sample and I was anything but pleased.

The macarons, were ok. Nothing special.
The cupcakes, were some of the worst I have had in the city! I was so diappointed.
Debra / January 26, 2012 at 01:21 pm
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I ordered a cake for my daughter's birthday, the most special day, I was trying to find the most special cake. The care was terrible, tasted like I was eating a pound of butter and bread, the cake was heavy and terrible, the cupcakes were dense and the frosting was like butter and sugar, but mostly butter, instant heart attack, very disappointed the cake went in the garbage, everyone refused to eat the cake. BAD CHOICE
small / January 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm
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A friend brought some red velvet cupcakes to work as a treat. I LOVE cupcakes, and have tried cupcakes from over a dozen cupcakes specialty shops, so I was very excited to try these, as she raved about them. My first bite I almost had to spit it out. The frosting tasted like it was straight butter! I scraped off the frosting (leaving only a trace layer on the cupcake itself) and ate it that way. The cake itself was really good, moist and chocolatey. If all of the frosting is that heavy and rich, I would not buy cupcakes from here again. Nice cake, not so nice frosting...
anophall / February 27, 2012 at 08:50 pm
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I am sure you will love chanel 2.55 and check coupon code available
Moodoo / March 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm
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Was very excited about these guys as well, but what's with the flavourless frosting? It's been said before, but really it's like whipped butter. Kinda wrecks the cake itself, which is pretty good. I prefer less frosting, with more to it than just air and fat. Had high hopes to use them for my wedding, but moving on...
Amber / April 24, 2012 at 03:58 am
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I was next door at Lil Beans (which I regret-ick!) with my kids, friends& their kids. Since I have been planning my daughter's birthday and being from Vancouver, am searching for a good bakery for cupcakes. I had sampled a few that left much to be desired-The Cupcake Shoppe on Yonge&Eg has moist choc cake, decent mango but rest was blah. All The Best in Summerhill is walking distance to my home and not at all good and tiny. Coras, Dufflets, Swirls, etc., Ive eaten a lot of cupcakes and unfortunately, was at the point of prefering Sobey's or Loblaws to be honest. Actually, Sobeys has decent baked goods if fresh. Chinese bakeries are my next pick.
This brings me to Bobette. First off, its huge, very white and empty seeming as far as product goes. However, it was full of customers until closing at 5pm on a Sunday.
I ordered 6 different flavors and sat with my friends to sample. The red velvet is usually my biggest disappointment anywhere but here, I and my friend said in synch "Its so moist!" and were genuinely surprised. Damn good cupcake. Chocolate Hazelnut was yummy. Lemon was good with a surprise center filling. The salted caramel was disappointing. It was on the verge of being really excellent but just lacked flavor and oomph. It was like an orgasm thats almost there but never comes. Lol! The vanilla with strawberry was my daughters pick and decent but nothing special. Now we had one more and it was so flavorless, I cant recall what I ordered. When we tasted it I thought it was going to be lemon but wasn't, it had a bit of flavor so wasnt plain vanilla...passionfruit? Anyways, no idea cause flavor fell short.
Overall, LOVED the red velvet and would like to try more flavors. I would never spit these out or say theyre disgusting cause they are far from that. They are larger than most cupcake shops, very moist and lovely to look at. A very decent product bordering on excellent.
Oh, my daughter had a vanilla macaron and it was very very soft and she liked it. Another child had the pistachio and liked it too. It was closing time and everything tasted good still so I dont get the comments on dry, horrible product. Maybe I got lucky.
The place is so busy that it cant really be that bad, especially with all the choices in TO, even close to B and B.
Cant wait for another Red Velvet.
Janice / May 2, 2012 at 06:23 pm
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The frosting had no flavor, very greasy texture. I felt gross after eating a bit of my cupcake. What a waste of money!
Cynthia / June 3, 2012 at 05:17 pm
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I hope their macaroons are better than their cupcakes. I bought a dozen for a office party and not one person had a positive thing to say about them. The cake was dry and the frosting was tooth ache sweet.
Sze Tam / June 7, 2012 at 02:19 am
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the environment of the shop was quite nice with its white walls and comfy sofa... however i wasn't all too pleased with the service from the counter. especially when the girl at the counter served a 'couple' of good looking guys regardless of me being in line before them.

the macarons i tried were ok, nothing special. and as others have said the cake of the cupcake was moist however the swiss meringue butter cream seemed a tad bit too 'greasy' or 'buttery'. we tried the mango passionfruit cupcake, however was slightly disappointed that it was just a vanilla flavored cupcake with mango passionfruit icing.

Jemma / June 8, 2012 at 06:57 pm
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Frosting was very greasy, the bottom of the cupcake wrapper was stained with grease. Gross.
Sarah / September 14, 2012 at 03:30 pm
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Shocked to learn that they freeze their cupcakes! I bought some cupcakes and ate one at the shop. Right away, I noticed It didn't taste fresh and the cake was cold. I brought it back to the counter and the girl who was very nice told me that they don't bake their cupcakes everyday, that they bake a big batch and freeze them and let them defrost the day they are sold. I expected FRESH cupcakes baked that day especially considering the price they charge! I called to inquire about this and no one returned my call. I suggest before you buy any cupcakes here ask if they freeze them!
Sandra / October 1, 2012 at 02:00 pm
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Excellent cupcakes! They are my favorite cupcakes that I have tried in Toronto up to date! If you haven't tried Bobbette & Belle's cupcakes, I highly recommend that you do so!!
Evelyn / October 11, 2012 at 05:08 pm
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Amazing Cupcakes! A lot of good cupcakes in the city but they have my favourite.
Jd / November 3, 2012 at 01:59 pm
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This site has some of the whiniest, hardest-to-please commenters on the internet. It's kind of funny how pretty much EVERYTHING in the Best of T.O. categories struggle to get a 3/5 average rating.
Kat / January 9, 2013 at 12:17 am
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I will start by saying this is a beautiful shop. This is where my praise ends. I was so excited to find a new macaron shop, that I went here about a day after I read this blog. The macrons, at best, are mediocre. They are flavourless and too artificially dyed; one of the 6 I bought (that being the mint) was tiffany-box blue, and as much as I love my jewellery, it is not an appealing colour to eat. They were not sweet, as many other shops are, but they tasted nothing like the alleged flavours. The mango passionfruit was the worst of the group, and the mint tasted like crest whiting toothpaste. The cupcakes were unfortunately even more disappointing. The icings on the lemon, coconut-lime, and vanilla were tooth-decaying sweet. Again, no flavour. The most revolting part was the store-bought "treats" on top. The raspberry cupcake had a swedish gummy on top, and the lemon had a jelly bean. For almost 3$ a cupcake, they really should have been making the decorations on top. I have no affiliation with Cake Opera, but their cupcakes had store-made fruit-rollup like treats, gold flakes and mini-macarons. Cake Opera and B&B's cupcakes are not even in the same ballpark. The chocolate based cupcakes were far too rich, on the other hand. Likewise, the hot chocolate was too thick and rich. Lastly, the blueberry scone was the best of the lot. However, that being said, the blueberries tasted like the frozen pre-bagged kind and were all clumped to one side, like they threw them in at the last minute and forgot to mix the batter. The pastries are subpar and over priced, and the lady who worked the cash was far from friendly. As my mom and I were the only ones in the store, we attempted to engage at chit-chat, but the employee was a cold as the ice dripping off their awning outside. Overall, I feel like I wasted 40$ sunday. I will not be going back.
Ivy / March 15, 2013 at 05:31 pm
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The cupcakes are great, but only when served at the right temperature. Macarons are hit or miss.
If there was better consistency and more attention to detail the goodies would be a lot better.
Aside from one downright cold lady working the front, this place is all right.
Odile / April 11, 2013 at 01:18 pm
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If you have never sampled macarons before or if you are among those lucky, who know the taste of the true macarons (by Herme, Laduree, Enric Rosich), please never ever buy them at B&B. You will be truly disappointed.

Yesterday was my first (and last visit to B&B), where I bought six regular macarons (with different flavours) and also that big pink one stuffed with custard and fresh raspberries.

The tasting verdict: this is a low end crap, dry inside and out, with hard tops and huge cavities. Calling them "macarons" would be an insult to real Parisian macarons. SHAME ON YOU, CHEFS!
Kai / May 8, 2013 at 04:01 pm
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I've been to Bobbette and Belle countless times, and I don't understand the comments here. Service is always very friendly with a genuine smile, and everything in the store is simply delicious. Macaroons, cupcakes, cakes, I've had everything many times and it's amazing. Oh, the hot chocolate is one of the best in the city - maybe the best actually, second being the one at Soma. I know desserts, and this place is a gem in the city.
Monica / September 2, 2013 at 07:32 pm
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They freeze their cupcakes. I worked here as an intern and they bake cupcakes the beginning of the week and freeze the remaining to be sold throughout the rest of the week. Ask them next time you are in. If they say they do not freeze ANY cupcakes they are not telling you the truth.
Monica replying to a comment from Ivy / September 2, 2013 at 07:35 pm
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@ IVY.. The reason the cupcakes are a hit or miss is because as you stated they have to be served at the right temp. Well that's what happens when you freeze cupcakes they will never taste as good as they did freshly baked that day. If you are going to charge $$$ for a cupcake you better make sure it was baked that day or you are better off going to Loblaws for a cupcake.
christina / September 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm
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This place is beautiful and makes beautiful cakes but as a very organized and informed bride I have noticed that the sizes they use for each cake slice is very small, many of the other shops i visited had much, much bigger slices. This may seem like a small detail but when your charging $8.00 and up a slice this difference adds up quickly. I also did not choose to go with them because I find an oversight like this slightly dishonest when there is an industry standard they don't seem to be following. I chose another shop where I got almost 30 more pieces of cake for less than the cake they quoted me.
Vivian / August 5, 2014 at 04:52 pm
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Can someone please confirm whether they still do macaron ice cream sandwiches? They did about 3 years ago.

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