Among all the big recent food trends, macarons have a lot to recommend them. Tidier to eat than cupcakes, lighter than doughnuts, and easier to transport than frozen yogurt, they’re a delicious, sophisticated French treat to be enjoyed any time, with minimal guilt. And they’ve hit Toronto in a big way. All over the city, white-walled bakeries showcase rows of brightly coloured merengues filled with buttercream and ganache. Toronto even has an entire day dedicated to them. Just thinking about the crisp shell and chewy centre, filled with decadent flavour, inspires a craving. It’s the perfect excuse for a bakery crawl with your friends — and these four spots all put a different spin on Toronto’s latest obsession:
Expertly concocted by Nadège Nourian, a renowned pastry chef from Lyon, the macarons here are almost too pretty to eat — almost. Nourian is known for her inventive and seasonal flavours, so you struggle to choose between tastes such as mojito, cotton candy, pistachio, rose, and cappuccino. This is why it’s good you came with friends. Everybody can try a different flavour and report back before ordering the next round.
Bobette & Belle
You and your group can get cozy at Bobette & Belle in Toronto’s east end Leslieville neighbourhood. Set up camp at the communal wooden table, order coffee, and indulge in some of the city’s most elegant macarons. Classics like raspberry, chocolate, and vanilla are available alongside more inventive options like salted caramel, cassis, and passion fruit. This place specializes in wedding cakes, so keep a look out for towers of gardenias and roses that you won’t believe are made of sugar.
Colette Grand Café
New on the scene, Colette Grand Café opened in the Thompson Hotel to rave reviews. The Parisian-influenced interior, with white and blue tiled walls, makes you feel like you’re sitting in an antique tea cup. Or, if you prefer, step out on Colette’s quiet terrace, overlooking the water just steps away from busy King Street West. It’s the perfect spot for maracons topped with coconut, peanuts, or dark chocolate flakes — a specialty here.
You may feel all macaron’d out by this point in your bakery crawl, but don’t stop now: Butter Avenue’s mini macarons are a perfect, one-bite sugar blast. And you’ll never regret sampling the wares here, especially because they import specialty ingredients (chocolate from France, matcha from Japan), which makes each bite extra-special. Expanding from its uptown location at Yonge and Lawrence, Butter Avenue recently opened up another spot in the heart of Queen West’s shopping district. Perfect for a post-snack shopping trip.