Queen of Tarts

Reigning over Roncesvalles village, The Queen of Tarts is hailed across Toronto as one of the finest - and most decadent - bakeries in town. Friends who share my weakness for tarts (and pastries of all kinds, to be frank) have been urging me to go there for ages. Finally, I decided I couldn't wait any longer so I made a special trip just to sample the goods I'd been missing out on.

When I first stepped into the shop, I was hit with two immediate disappointments. First, the lack of selection. The lengthy, mouth-watering online menu had won me over. But so many of the tarts I'd been hoping to try were either sold out (Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Tart) or missing altogether (Milk Chocolate & Chai Spice Tart; White Chocolate & Balsamic Fig Tart; Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart with Chinese Five Spice & Candied Orange Zest). This let-down was shared with a slight shock over the prices: $4.25 - $4.50 per tart.

Thus restricted to a maximum of two tarts, but still undettered, I went about making my selections.

The first choice was easy: the Mexican Chocolate & Chipotle Tart (chipotle infused dark chocolate ganache with chunks of Mexican chocolate) was a no-brainer. It looked rich, tasty, and was exactly the kind of creative baking I'd been hoping to find here. I waffled a bit over the second choice, and nearly went for the Peppermint Patty Truffle Tart, but decided to fall back on an old favourite: the Coconut Cream Tart (which really needs no explanation).

I wish the Queen had made room in her quarters for a couple of tables or stools so I could enjoy my tarts then and there, but since she hasn't, I had to control my sweet tooth until I got home.

I went for the Mexican Tart first and was instantly won over. This tart was everything I'd hoped for: the chocolate was rich and smooth, and the chipotle infusion caused a gentle heat to rise up the back of my throat. A thick swipe of cinnamon decorating the top lent a warming, aromatic kick to the whole experience, and the pastry had a delicate crispness to it.

Nex up: The Coconut Cream Tart. This one was much less exciting, but it was good to see the bakers know how to handle a classic. The cream was light and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness, and there was certainly no shortage of it - just the way it should be, in my book. I also loved the tender pastry and the crisp toasted coconut on top.

The tarts aren't cheap, but you're certainly not getting stiffed. These are tarts like you've never seen before: too big for one person to eat alone! Best of all, you can tell that the bakers take pride in their work. The menu offers both original creations and comforting favourites, each tart is presented with elegance, and you can taste the quality ingredients in each bite.

If this is monarchy, I say long live the Queen!

The Queen of Tarts

283 Roncesvalles Ave.

416 651 3009

Closed Mondays

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