Forno Cultura (First Canadian Place)
Forno Cultura in First Canadian Place is a smaller to-go incarnation of the main Forno Cultura on King West. All the tasty goods here are supplied by the third-generation Italian bakery, delivered fresh three times daily.
Here you can’t sit and see how things are made as easily, but it’s an oasis of sumptuous Italian baking and food in the midst of a glitzy downtown office building.
They want you to be coming here for your breakfast, lunch, and to pick up dinner on the way home, and Forno Cultura is never going to discourage you from eating more.
Aiding with the laid back feel are a few leaning bars so you don’t necessarily have to rush off with your food even though this is a grab-and-go establishment.
The coffee here is by Rufino, as Forno Cultura likes to support local quality products.
The PLT ($4.50) is an Italian triple decker of pancetta, arugula and Swiss with a ton of house aioli on their five seed bread, which contains coriander, cumin, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.
It’s a lot of food (and a lot of bread and aioli) for the price point but the bread, a customer favourite, is really complex and seedy and the arugula is peppery against the rich pancetta.
The martitozzi ($3.50) is a classic Italian pastry made with brioche, an egg bread that isn’t crazy sweet. This one is made from regular brioche but hides a twist of chocolate, and is topped with bursting poppy seeds and rock sugar. It feels somewhere between dessert and a dense dinner roll.
Amaretti are traditionally gluten-free, made only with Amaretto, almond flour and egg whites. These chewy, classic cookies with crunchy almond and powdery sugar tend to delight everyone. They do cookies by weight here at $50/kilo which is hard to picture: it’s more like 75 cents for lighter cookies and $1.75 for heavier ones.
We can’t miss the classic olive oil cake ($3), which goes with Forno Cultura’s adage of always having something savoury in with the sweets. There’s only one bitter, punchy sun-dried Moroccan olive in there, so don’t split this treat.
This location boasts a full fridge of snacks, meals and Italian ingredients that take the dirty work out of classic cooking. Portioned, pillowy pizza dough rings in at $5 and sauces appropriate for pies or pastas come in at $6, and it’s about $15 for a gnocchi pomodoro that you can heat up in the microwave.
There are no chairs to speak of, and the displays of panettone between the bars make them tough to walk between, but I’m quite comfy wolfing down my PLT at one of them. Food this good gets eaten quickly.