Perfectly delicious bakeries

Chantal Ireland picks her top five bakeries in the city

In the often gray mornings of November, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the fall colours drop away and it’s the perfect weather to tuck into a bakery for coffee and pastries. Mornings in a bakery are always the best — the cases are filled with warm, flaky things, the coffee is fresh, and staff is usually pretty friendly (it’s a shop filled with pastry after all). Choosing just five to describe was tough because it means leaving out some of my favourites. Pure Vanilla Bakery and Cascadia Bakery are owned by the same folks, and they make my favourite cookie in Victoria — it’s like a mini cake, a pumpkin cookie with maple frosting. It’s fantastic. Then there’s Ruth & Dean for cakes and lunch, and more cake — follow them on Instagram to see all the beautiful cakes. I love Wildfire Bakery for its loaves, Ottavio for the shortbread, Italian treats and gelato, and Bond Bond’s for the sourdough and buns. Check Facebook and websites for hours, specials and craving-inducing photos. Enjoy your cozy indoor time this November, in one of these local shops or at home with your provisions.

La Roux Patisserie, 519 Fisgard StreetOne of the newer bakeries in town, this shop is owned by two women who met while working at Murchie’s. Rebecca, with a legal background, and Emily with culinary experience in Paris, opened the shop in Chinatown and filled the front window with a glass encased goodies that entice passersby to join them inside. Much like the shops in Paris, the display is filled with patisseries and macaroons — check out the emoji versions, too cute — and their space inside is bright white. They serve Fernwood coffee and Silk Road tea, and you choose your own teapot from a pretty collection displayed on the back wall. It’s hard to choose between éclairs, tarts, cakes, scones and all that they offer, so I had a flakey, delicious croissant and a pumpkin tart in a chocolate crust. It was a nice balance of the two. The lime chocolate tart is next on my list. They also do whole cakes and pies to go. Enjoy a rainy November day staring out the window from a lovingly restored vintage chair, pastry in one hand, and tea in the other.

Fol Epi, Dockside Green, 101 – 398 Harbour Road, and Downtown, 732 Yates StreetWith the new location including a full service restaurant, Agrius, you can now find Fol Epi in Vic West and downtown Victoria. Mostly known for their breads, Fol Epi uses organic grains, milled on site, and baked in a wood-fired brick oven. Cliff and his team are so committed to Slow Food (a global grassroots organization started in Italy in 1989 to preserve local food cultures and traditions) that it’s evident in everything they make. With full shelves (maybe not in the later afternoon) of breads and baguettes as the backdrop, the pastry cases shine with tarts, pies, pastries, sandwiches (I love the egg salad), cookies and more. Fol Epi is one of those places that can transport you to a European vacation memory, a childhood cookie memory, or a simple daydream over Caffe Fantastico coffee. They are the perfect places to duck in out of the rain and experience a true commitment to one’s craft.

Fry’s Bakery, 416 Craigflower Road and Moss Street Market Saturdays April – OctoberWhen I showed up unannounced on a recent stormy Friday morning, I was quickly welcomed by Byron to step behind the counter in his small storefront and into the bakery. He extended a flour-covered hand, and introduced me to each of his crew. It was like stepping into an old friend’s kitchen. I discovered Fry’s at the Moss Street Market a few years ago and fell in love with the veggie hand pie, and Pain Rustique loaf made with red fife and other flours. Milling their own organic whole grain, they use sourdough fermentation to make the breads in a wood-fired oven. Hand pies in meat and veggie choices are fantastic, croissants are flakey and perfectly crisped, and on Sundays there is pizza and doughnuts. Just a few seats, so plan to take your treats home to curl up with.

Crust Bakery, 730 Fort StreetThe front window at Crust is the edge of a display counter where all the things you crave get slowly taken away throughout the day. It’s the perfect height for peering from the street, but as you step inside, the case continues and the choices multiply. Tom and his wife Crystal came from owning restaurants in Australia where he’s from, and eventually found their way to Canada where she’s from, to open Crust in Victoria a few years ago. They make a light rye loaf that I love — it’s our everyday breakfast and sandwich bread at home. You can find their pastries around town at a few cafes that order them in, or head right to the source. You’ll find a bright, small shop, with limited bar seating, serving coffee, lunch and all the treats you can imagine. Natural, whole, seasonal ingredients are the foundation of tarts, doughnuts, pastries, personal size pizzas, sausage rolls and more. Choose something from the gorgeous array of tarts, the chocolate ganache is divine, and the pumpkin — a seasonal favourite.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Lantzville singer Raymond Salgado will sing ‘O Canada’ before the Vancouver Canucks’ upcoming game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 17. (Photo submitted)
Lantzville singer to perform ‘O Canada’ at Vancouver Canucks game

Raymond Salgado scheduled to sing the anthem at Rogers Arena later this month

Nanaimo children’s entertainer Steve Romanik, represented by his character Mountain Dweller, is giving away his songs and stories to help raise money for children’s causes. (Photo courtesy Steve Romanik)
Nanaimo children’s entertainer ‘Mountain Dweller’ helping raise money for kids’ causes

Steve Romanik partnering with Nanaimo Child Development Centre, B.C. Children’s Hospital

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

‘We Are All Beautiful’ by Elise Cole and ‘The Modern Thrall’ by Enigye (Happy) Amarkah (from left) are two of the pieces featured in VIU’s Anti-Racism Arts Festival. (Images courtesy the artists)
Vancouver Island University holds first Anti-Racism Arts Festival

Three-day online event to feature visual arts, performance, film and poetry

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Most Read