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who's got better bread Cobs or Epi? (bayview & millwood)

live close but haven't had time to go to either of them yet :(

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  1. i havent tried epi, but i've bought cobs bread several times. I adore the Cape seed bread, the scones are great as well, especially the cheese and herb ones.

    1. Epi is better than COBS by a small margin. As well, though I don't know this either way re Epi, I can say that COBS' ingredients are often chemical-heavy. Check out the pdf nutritional info/ingredient lists on their website. Also, I find COBS' sweets just TOO sweet.

      If you're into artisan breads, and just good and WHOLE overall quality, you should probably avoid both. But if choosing one, I'd go with Epi for sure.

      In the area, try some of the French bakeries/patisseries. As well as Bagel House - they may have some okay breads.

      1. While I haven't tried Cobs, I have walked in a few times only to see what looks like white or grocery store-like bread with added flavours/ingredients - I have yet to be enticed by either the look or the smell of their breads. Keep in mind that Cobs is a large chain as well. Epi, on the other hand, sells natural (many organic)sourdough based breads with a great chew and excellent crust. All that I have tasted so far are excellent. I would definitely classify it as "artisan" bread, contrary to sweetspotlee's opinion.

        Toronto Life's Food & Wine 06 City Guide provides a pretty accurate description of both - it doesn't appear to have been updated on their web-site yet, however.

        1. We like epi better for bread. Neither of them for other things like croissants... best to stick to Rahier for those... :)

          1. I have purchased breads from both and think they have different strengths. Epi makes wonderful artisan loaves in the ACE bakery vein, bringing different flavour combinations and textures together, whereas Cobs loaves are more what you would expect from an old-fashioned baker; they have an excellent dark German rye, for example, and the "Cape seed loaf" is moist and seed-filled but also quite tasty. Cobs loaves tend to be in the shape of a traditional loaf, which makes sandwich-making easier for some. I don't generally like the sweets at Cobs--they tend to be reminiscent of grocery store danishes slathered in white icing, and I find them just too sweet and starchy and without depth. If I'm looking for something sweet, I'd much rather have a ginger cookie or a lemon tart, for example, which are things you wouldn't find there. I have enjoyed Cobs ham and cheese croissant, by thinking of it as a crisp-chewy roll filled with ham and cheese instead of hoping for croissant heaven. Rahier, just up the street, also has a small selection of good breads, but I don't think they keep baking throughout the day, so once the morning stock is gone, that's it.

            1. It's not even close. Hell, it isn't even a race.

              Cobs makes some breads that look good, but even the best of them (in my opinion the seed bread) isn't nearly as good as comparable breads from Loblaws or Dominion, much less from Ace or Epi. Most of the Cobs breads seem to be variants of commercial North American sandwich breads masquerading as olde fashioned bakers' breads - and failing.

              Although the original post mentioned only bread, I'd add that I have found Cobs sweet breeds consistently underbaked internally and disgustingly over sweetened but otherwise almost tasteless.

              Epi makes some delicious artisan breads, but I don't find them better than similar widely available breads from Freds or Ace.

              Definitely stick to Rahier (or even Le Cigogne) for croissants or patisserie.

              1 Reply
              1. re: embee

                TOTALLY agree with you, embee!! Cobs products taste like they are props or display models: look pleasant but are not tasty at all. Also, you are right, Epi is equivalent to Ace, though Fred's can do no wrong in my mind!

                If you go one major street astray westwards, try Jules' breads and baguettes. For a family of baguette and ficelle epicures, it is our reigning fave patisserie.

                1. Try St. John's Bakery period!! Traditional French style sourdough organic bread and other goodies. Great stuff. Broadview just north of Queen St. East.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bombom

                    St John's is amazing, just finished a Brie loaf. Also available at SLM at Carousel Bakery and I believe also at the Big Carrot.

                  2. Here is an update from both bakeries. The product cannot compare really, Cobs is a fast food chain,, there is no secret to it really..My suggestion for customes is to avoid
                    the sweet by example the cinnamon buns at 8% yeast OnWhich the glaze and sugar is applied on the buns because it will get hard as rock as soon as it get out the oven..The same can be said for all the sweet made with the same dough..Cobs import its croissants from frozen and chemical products are added to regular bread doughs. I would as well stay as far as possibel from the scones also.

                    Epi is a small artisan bakery that research the traditional way of baking bread on stone.
                    The owner, an artisan himself and a purist is very passionated on bread and has continuously improved his product making his French bread line nearly impossible in 2008 for a French to tell the difference between EPI and with ones made in France.

                    Epi also produce its own soudough from scratch. Its whole wheat bread and multigrain are the the only one I personally can eat in the Toronto Market. Epi has also added a young specialist to insure consistency , shape, taste and life in the variety of products; Epi now produces its own croissant which are crisps, tasty and show great professionalism.. No chemical added; but good artisan sourdough mothers to enhance fermentation and slow process of doughs.

                    The difference is simple ; at Epi they know what they are doing; At Cobs they don't know what they are eating.

                    This writer is an experienced baker with over 17 years in the bakery industry; currently work at IBM..

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: stephane verreault

                      You traded 17 years as a baker for IBM? That must hurt! I agree with you about Epi - thank God the Leslieville Cheese Boutique sells Epi, otherwise I'd never get to Bayview for my fix. I much prefer their baguette to Ace. And the Epi fruit and nut loaf..... I could eat the whole thing in one sitting!

                      1. re: stephane verreault

                        They (Epi) also make wonderful sandwiches...the roasted lamb on fig bread is devine!

                      2. I would also encourage you to try the bagels from Bagel House (real Montreal style w wood oven and everything.) The staff is a bit surly, but the food is good. Rahier is exceptional for crossaints and french pastries.

                        For bread, I almost always go to Nunzios to get the baguette from Celestine (or go over to Mt. Pleasant to get it directly). They are AMAZING white french baguettes. I think there is a now magazine review of them alongside of ACE etc..

                        Also, for cinnamon buns, definitely check out Sweet Bliss on Queen E.