Von Doughnuts on the Danforth is the latest gourmet doughnut shop to toss their hat in the Toronto ring. With sleek orange and grey interior, they're due for some seating soon, but for now put your order in and take it to go.
Owner Dustin Vaughn (hence the name Von Doughnuts) and his wife experimented with several styles and flavours before launching the shop. Perfected by baker Melissa, they offer both raised and cake doughnuts ($2.85 each or $29.95 for a dozen). Sweet raised types include CrĂ¨me Brulee (vanilla custard filling with the wonderful crunchy burnt sugar glazed on top), and Pucker Up Sucker, a twist on the usual lemon-filled.
The Pucker Up is blessed to have Meyer lemon replacing the usual artificial sticky sweet and neon lemon filling, but could use more piped filling to counter the dough. There is also the Spiked Doughnut, like the Drunken Nut, a combination of pineapple and shredded coconut dunked in Malibu rum. I love this one, coconut being one of my favourite flavours, and I'm glad to see it paired with the pineapple for a kind of pina colada effect.
The yeast dough base is light and pleasing, but occasionally I think these doughnuts rely a little too heavily on the dough base, as sometimes the distinct flavours could use a stepping up. A case where everything works is the Caramel Salt n' Pepa: you taste the caramel first, it's toasted buttery sweetness highlighted by bursts of the sea salt flakes, and finally the surprising subtle heat of crushed pink and black peppercorns to finish.
I also loved their savoury cake doughnut (they have sweet as well). The Jalapeno Cheddar Popper is nice and dense, and the jalapeno added a feisty touch, but it could have used just a smidge more cheddar to bring out the needed salt. The Von kabob ($2.95) is a signature- think double size doughnut holes skewered five deep with a sugar dusting. You can add a dipping sauce ($0.50), there's caramel now, and fruit jellies to come.
While you're stocking up on doughnuts make sure to grab a hot or cold drink, they've got a beautiful range of Lemon Lily teas , and a Fiorenzato machine ready to make up an espresso-based drink. All in all Von Doughnuts is a great place to pick up some sweet, or savoury, treats and a coffee- a decadent doughnut delight on the Danforth (how's that for alliteration?).
Photos by Jesse Milns