Montreal Patisserie & Bakery Top 10

1. Fougasse Péché Mortel et Chorizo /or/ Baguettine Cheddar & Figue Bio (pictured above)

Where: Boulangerie Guillaume (Plateau Mont-Royal, 17 ave Fairmount Est.)

2. Any of the Moroccan pastries from Pâtisserie Le Ryad

Where: Le Ryad (Center of the Jean-Talon market, between the two ATMS)

3. Egg Custard Tart

Where: Rôtisserie Piri Piri (415 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est, (514) 504-6464)

4. Mini Chocolate Babka

Where: Cheskie’s (359 Bernard West)

5. Custard Cornetti

Where: La Cornetteria (6528 St Laurent)

6. Dragon Beard Candy

Where: Dragon Beard Candy (52 Rue de la Gauchetière West)

7. Macaron de Reglisses // Licorice

Where: Boutique Point G (1266 Mont-Royal Est)

8. Kouign-Amann from Au Kouign-Amann

Where: Au Kouign-Amann (322 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est. 514-845-8813)

9. Tart au Citron // Lemon Meringue

Where: Fous Desserts (809 Laurier Avenue East)

10. Chocolate-Cherry Macaron

Where: Cerise sur le Gateaux (107 Fairmount Avenue West) (closed)

And… honourable mention – Mango Gelato & Matcha Ice Cream from Kem Coba

Not technically a baked good, but you’d be missing out if you skipped this or any of their other flavours!

Where: Kem Coba (60 Avenue Fairmount Ouest)

I <3 Patisserie Harmonie, it is cute and full of mango goo

Also, you can buy bubble tea there.

I think those are coffee buns

Why have I not boughten (that’s a real word!) bubble tea there yet????  Mysteries of the world never cease to amaze me, darn I really well should.  That will be a special mission, and Cloudy has never even tasted bubbly chew-orbs of tapioca weird/awesome suspended in milky sweet and creamy cold drink!  I really must remedy that, too, and soon….

taro puff cake…. I know!

Okay, onto the post.  I adore Patisserie Harmonie!  It first appeared as if by magic, a golden halo-d sun rising glorious from the depths of the otherwise boring-tastic Guy-Concordia metro, a Hong Kong style bakery offering impossibly cheap Puffybuns (another new word) in both sweet and savoury forms.  I’ve also been to the Chinatown location which is smallery, brighter, has more modest selection but is in the best neighbourhood in Montreal.  Choose your panacea wisely. ;)

I haven’t even begun to sample their savoury things, mostly because I get so distracted by the panoply of desserts while I’m there, gleaming all perfect and full of things I love to eat, like red beans, matcha, custard, and nuts.  That being said, the perfectly crisp and square prisms of garlic bread are calling my name at the moment – another reason to return!  And to try the pork buns.  But of course.

Last time we sampled some green tea cake.  Sometimes, I’m not a fan of Chinese sponge, since it can be a little rubbery.  But, Harmonie’s green tea cake is really great!  It’s a mild sweet buttery thing, just a hint of bitter tea, (more vanilla present really), perfectly spongey and a treat with coffee.

Another knocker-out-of-the-park (praised by my old roommate as well) is the mango bun.  It’s a towering square-ish donut-y thing filled with the most lovely of mango custards.  MMMMMMM is the sound you make while eating this and swearing you will bike all the way home from Rene Levesque.  MmmMMMMMMMM.   (The red bean bun was a bit sweet for me, but only a bit, and still very fresh and flavourful.  Red bean stuff is always sweet, anyway)

Ummmmmm oh weird, I guess that’s all that I’ve tried there!  Ha, well, apparently that was enough to win me over to the side of exclamation points and superfluous gushing.  That, and, I’ve tried a few Hong Kong style pastries here and there, both in Montreal and elsewhere, and these are the real deal.  Solidly made, good clean flavour, and very, very fresh.  They even have those egg tarts that are so good after Dim Sum.

OH right!  I tried the sesame mochi too, which was another winner and hit with intense sesame-essence from oh, maybe 3 different angles.  And I’m not even usually a mochi fan.

<3 <3 Harmonie.  Wish there was one closer to my house.

Just One Bite — Dragon’s Beard Candy

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Being attracted by the artistry of food-making as it’s done before the eyes – I initially discovered Montreal’s Dragon Beard Candy shoppe quite by accident.  I was just walking by when I suddenly got an enormous sensation of authenticity and street-food soul, and swerved to my left to discover this gem of a candy makers right here in Montreal.  Barely the size of a large elevator, this place always seems to have a steady stream of curious sweets-buyers, wanting to try the ethereal product. Continue reading

Fous Desserts for a crazy girl

It’s officially autumn in Montreal!  The days alternate between so gorgeous you can’t believe the bright and sunny-crisp air and oh jeebus it is COLD out but hey the leaves are still nice.

On the nice days I like to walk to bakeries.  It’s a peaceful thing, with sugar at the end, and my hope is that over the next few months that I have here in this city, I might gain a kind of perspective on the relative quality of Montreal patisseries.  Some equations are obvious: Au Pain Doré is everywhere (and the quality I’m finding is surprisingly good, at least at some locations).

Patisserie Gascogne at least LOOKS fabulous, and worth any kind of inconvenient trip to cross it’s huge corner-front doorstep.  Is it newsworthy to walk around and spend $2 on a cookie, eat it with gusto and then talk about it?  It depends what you consider news I guess.  And even if the answer is no, it’s not like I’ll stop.  Food bloggers the world around rally with me on this one!  Pleasure is worth talking about.

Yesterday, I managed to convince myself that a lemon meringue pie would make a fabulous lunch, and lo and behold it really did.

Lemon Meringue Tart, $2.50, from Patisserie Fous

If I could make a pastry like this, I might retire from making pastry and uh, MAKE PASTRY.  Hehehe, well dude, this was awesome.  I kinda like my lemonyness to kick me down and dance a little citric acid dance around my gumline, and this one was a lot gentler than that.  At first I lamented!  I really did.  Okay, not that much.  And soon I loved it.  What it lacked in sharpness it made up in pure clean flavour, and paired with that melt-away campfire meringue and, that sandy super-browned crust that broke off like sedimentary layers made mostly of butter, it balanced real nice, sir, it did.

And since I couldn’t leave such an adorable place without craning my neck at the extra little elegant nibbles they’d had out, I picked up a few extras.

A yuzu truffle ($2) and an earl grey madeleine ($1) went on the order, too.  Both pretty good specimens of the type, with some interesting flavours to keep one interested beyond the promise of sugar.  And it was my first madeleine ever!  Can you beLIEVE that?  I’m such a cookie virgin.  I was surprised at how subtle the flavour was, and the crumb was surprisingly sturdy to me.  Eggy, and rich, but still somehow light and not too sweet.   And the yuzu truffle?  MMmmmmMMMmmm one bite coats your mouth with impossibly creamy milky deep chocolate with overnotes of exotic citrus.  Not quite tangerine, not quite grapefruit, but there like a bright yellow trim on what would otherwise be a regular truffle.  Really nice.

Fous desserts on Urbanspoon

crispy rice @ maison bulgogi, and a lovely gateaux-meets-terrace moment

YOGGIES!!!!

By which I mean yogurts.

Yeah, so working full time at a cafe means my fridge is almost embarrassingly empty of the makings of a complete meal, because I mostly eat at work.  Actually, it would be easy to say it’s embarrassing, but the truth of it is this amuses me to no end, lest I would never dream of displaying my mono-product placements online.  YOGURT!  hahahahahaha, oh man it’s amazing.  I can’t even tell you how many of these I go through.   … and hey, at least I still make my own granola.

(Gateaux Macaron, $3.67, from Au Pain Doré, white chocolate mousse with Frangelico, chocolate macarons, hazelnut praline and some kinda dacquoise bottom layer…. yum)

But I don’t always eat such a refined and creamy diet.  Nah, sometimes I skip lunch and head to the patisserie mecca that is the Parc/Laurier area of Montreal.  There, I select, ever so prettily; finger outstretched, scarf poised ever so, latent french skills bubbling to the fore as I speak, “un petiti macaron, s’il vous plait,” a tiny gateaux for a sundrenched october kinda day…

See, I’m doing research; I need to sample charlottes and opera cakes, tartes d’amande and chocolatines, cupcakes, galettes, canelles, mousses and all the layers and components between.  Bubbling together ideas, remembering the whisper of cream as it melts and coats the tongue and teeth with dairy-white satin, comparing the crackle of meringue and the snap of a tuile… oh yes, my career path is so taxing, I tell ya.

I bought a black coat today, and a white cat came to join me while I ate my black-white dessert, and the air was cold but I also had new mittens, so everything was actually pretty much perfect.

Night before: Maison Bulgogi!  After an attempt to go for Ethiopean at Magdala (and finding it apparently closed for the evening), my buddy D and I said fuck it, let’s do Korean.  And oh man!  man man!  Maison was so good, or at least I loved what I got.  The barbecued eel bi bim bap (I forget the actual Korean/hangul name for this) came on this great piping hot stone, with plenty of tender vegetables, not-too sweet but definitely-sticky barbecue sauce, and loads of white rice which, thanks to the stone, got totally crispy and amazing on the bottom.  crunch crunch!  Plus of course, plenty of hot sauce and kimchi mixed into the complimentary miso soup and vegetable sides (marinated potatoes, fat sprouts, and tender seaweeds).

D got the raw fish rice bowl, which would probably be the best damned thing this side of the pacific on a warm day, but as it stood I was really happy with my spicy hotness.  I didn’t try the raw fish, although the roe was super cold, almost frozen… so again good for summer I’m thinking.

Oh yeah – and the eel itself!  I almost forgot.  Like slurping up meltaway fatty strips of sweetness, SO GOOD.  Yeah, check out this restaurant, plus it’s full of Koreans which is (duh) a good sign.
La Maison Bulgogi on Urbanspoon