The Best Italian Bakeries in Toronto
The best Italian bakeries in Toronto call on one of the world's most cherished culinary histories for recipes and inspiration. Italy's many varieties of bread and baked goods each reflect a different regional experience. Take, for example, the cassata, a Sicilian cake that features Middle Eastern flavours held over from a period of Arab dominance in the region. Tuscan bread tends to be plain, as it's used to dip into the rich stews typical of local cuisine, while Milan was the birthplace of panettone, the domed egg bread that's a favourite Christmas treat.
Now the bakeries of Toronto, each in the own way, and usually with their heart linked back to one region of Italy (North, South, Sicilian, etc.), provide examples of the rich baking traditions of the mother country. They're serving the strong Italian communities of Toronto, bringing them back with a slice from home, while spreading the good taste to everyone.
Here are the best Italian bakeries in Toronto.
Photo of Lamanna's by Libby Roach.
Since 1969, SanRemo Bakery in Etobioke has been bringing the best of Italian baking to the GTA. Loving that bun your meatball sub is on? Chances are it's SanRemo. Craving panettone? They've got them in every size. And while donuts may not scream 'Italia!' to you, SanRemo makes some of the best, proving nobody but an Italian does it better.
Terroni offshoot Sud Forno showcases how the most sophisticated Italian baking is often the most firmly rooted in tradition. Using high quality grain from a third generation family mill in Marche, Italy, they create and use natural yeast (lievito madre) for their loaves and make fine biscotti, puff pastries, cannoli and my favourite - the Bombolone.
Third generation baker Andrea Mastrandrea and co-conspirator Laura White built a bakery miracle out of a tucked-away basement location on King. They dig into traditional Italian recipes, natural ingredients and organic flours to create some of the most awe-inspiring and tummy-grumbling baking in the city. The flavor palate is especially balanced at this bakery, where the sweet and the savoury co-mingle.
North York and Weston residents have long been familiar with the treats from Rustic Bakery. It's old school in that 50s-60s first wave immigrant way, still fully steeped in the pasticinni and paste da te traditions of brightly-coloured pastries that are sweet and smooth, white loaves dotted with seeds, and plenty of fondant cakes.
Over 50 years, Tre Mari Bakery has been at the heart of the Corso Italia community on St. Clair. Think of it as 'by the people, for the people', a bakery supplying beautiful cannoli, shiny loaves of Italian bread and decadent cakes for all neighbourhood celebrations for over half a century.
Scarborough's Lamanna's Bakery is a family business, with Peter, Rosa, Lorenzo, Joe and David Lamanna all helping to bake traditional Italian favourites - bread, sweets and a wonderful hot table - just like back in Puglia, where Peter originates. But they're happy to incorporate the old world into the new - just try their cannoli cupcake.
The Romagnuolo family started Agincourt Bakery back in 1984, making a selection of cakes, breads, and pastries. Though they're still tucked away in a little plaza near Pharmacy and Finch, they've grown over the years into a full-scale operation, with a delicious hot table and many new recipes joining the familiar treats.
Another gem in Scarborough comes by way of Francesca's Italian Bakery. The choices will make your head spin - in addition to Calabrese, ciabatta and Sicilian loaves, there's Italian cookies (like reginelle, amaretti, biscotti and treccine) and pastries (nocciolata, tiramisu, cartocci, setteveli, cannoli and more).
La Rose bakes fresh, hand-shaped loaves and buns daily, from Calabrese and flaxseed to egg challah and even eggplant parmesan bread. The dizzying array of cake varieties - Italian rum, Black Forest, nocciola, frutti di bosco and more - makes La Rose a perfect place to find something for a holiday, family or religious celebration, or sample one of the pastries and you have yourself an everyday treat.
Most are familiar with the 24-hour Commisso Brothers hot table, but those veal sandwich buns don't get shipped in - they are also baked fresh in-house in the Racco Italian Bakery portion of the family business. Bread recipes come from the Calabria region of Italy, where the early roots of the Commisso family began.
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