The top 5 bakeries in Scarborough
If I were to describe Scarborough to someone who had never visited, I would describe it as diversity by bakery. It is in these bakeries where dedicated people take flour and sugar and interpret them in global ways. For those looking to discover where to go when the next craving for bread and pastry sets in, here are 5 bakeries in Scarborough worth a visit.
ABC Bakery Coffee Shop
3618 Victoria Park Avenue
ABC stands out from a sea of Chinese bakeries because of their focused selection of sweet and savory buns (80 cents - 95 cents) that are just the right size for a mid-afternoon snack. My favourite is the pineapple bun which surprisingly has no pineapple but a sugar cookie crust. Also noteworthy is the tuna bun which makes me forget about all those soggy cafeteria sandwiches I've eaten in years past. For an amazing 95 cents, a snack size chicken pot pie can be had with discernable pieces of meat.
Francesca Italian Bakery
2 Invergordon Avenue
On any given day, Francesca offers between 20-30 Italian-style cookies ($25/kg) and pastries ($2-$3.75), along with a small selection of breads and cakes. Stay for the substantial cannoli ($2.25), dusted with icing sugar and filled with either sweet ricotta or vanilla custard. The former are the ones put on display, so for those who are a sucker for custard like me, be sure to ask for the latter. They're even better the next day when the filling has melded with the still-crisp shell.
Gerhard's Cafe & Bakery
1085 Bellamy Road North, Unit 1
A celebration calls for a cake from Gerhard's. Made in the German tradition, there are around 30 different kinds ranging from Apple Crumble Torte to White Chocolate Mousse Bombe. Prices start at $19.95 for a 6-inch cake. But what if you just want a nice Black Forest cake that isn't full of preservatives and enough sugar for a room full of screaming kids? Gerhard's not-too-sweet version is made with chocolate sponge layers sprinkled with kirsch, and garnished with fresh whipped cream.
1801 Lawrence Avenue East, Unit 9
Patisserie Royale is the mecca for Middle Eastern pastry, where phyllo, honey, and nuts are layered in various combinations to create bite-sized pleasures. Will it be Balaurieh with its shredded wheat-like top and rosewater soaked pistachios? Or finger-shaped Assabeh filled with ground almonds and smothered with syrup? At $23.00/kg, the assorted box does the trick so I'm not burdened by choice.
105 Midwest Road
Since 1970, the Lang family has been selling preservative-free, homestyle European bread and other delectable baked goods directly out of their mid-size bakery. Tucked away in an industrial area, it's worth the trek for this reason alone: nothing is over $5. From soft pretzels (70 cents), to white or whole wheat sandwich loaf ($1.70), to strudel with their own blueberry filling ($4.95), it's no wonder that customers buy two, three, or ten at a time. Can't eat gluten? Rice bread, buns, and pizza shells ($2.75 - $3.50) are available by special order.
Writing and photos by Helen Lee