Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Quebec (inc. Montreal) >
Jan 31, 2007 05:12 AM

Fine Bakery in Cote St-Luc

Does anyone remember Fine Bakery, located in the Caldwell shopping centre? They had some of the best pastries and cakes available in Montreal, from the 1960's through to their closing sometime in the 1980's (I could be wrong about the date).

The milles-feuilles, eclairs, and Swiss chocolate cake were wonderful. But the ultimate was definitely the German chocolate cake. On our birthdays when we got a little older, we no longer wanted a birthday cake from Steinberg's; we wanted a German chocolate cake from Fine's, and my mother would happily oblige. I have never tasted a German chocolate cake as fine (pun intended) as this since.

Are these cakes and desserts gone forever? Does anyone have the recipes?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hiya, wish I could help cause it all sounds delicious. I asked my mom who grew up in NDG, but she wasn't familiar with Fine. However, your talk of German chocolate cake reminded me of a recipe Cook's Illustrated ran recently - the ultimate German chocolate cake. They also covered it on their America's Test Kitchen cooking show on PBS, so you might want to try it & see how it compares to your memories of Fine's!

    You can see the recipe here (requires free registration):

    1. Thanks, kpzoo. I'll give it a try.

      1. Hi! I remember my mother buying the Fine Bakery German Choc.cake from the Fine bakery in Caldwell as well as the Fine bakery in Cavendish mall(Same Owners).I have never in all my life had a cake as delicious as that cake!The icing was out-of-this-world.And the cake was a light-colored chocolate.I do not recall the pastries,but they also had great cookies -the white cookie had a whitish icing and the chocolate one a chocolate icing-you bought them by the pound and the lady weighed them on a white-old-fashioned scale in a white-painted scoop.Have you ever tasted a similar cake since?

        1. That sounds lovely. the title "Fine bakery in Côte St-Luc" sounded generic, and Adar came to mind: (I love Mediterranean food).

          Were Fine German, or at least Central European?

          1. I seem to recall Fine had another location when I was a kid. Possibly on Victoria in CDN, not far from the old Arena Bakery (best name).

            Anyway, the good news is that the Dirty Bakery in Chomedey is still going stong, and still makes the best poppy seed strudel outside of Hungary.

            22 Replies
              1. re: bomobob

                Address please? Strudel sound delish... Is it a Hungarian bakery? They don't make the fried bread known as Langosh, do they?

                1. re: moh

                  Or ludlab? (Please, please, please say yes.)

                    1. re: carswell

                      Carswell you need to take a deep deep breath. I posted months ago on a few boards here looking for an original ludlab recipe - the likes of the Coffee Mill or what we had in Budapest. Alas, nary a post.

                      If anyone can find me a recipe for the original stuff - shortbready crust, inch or two of chocolatey silkiness studded with sour cherries and crackly chocolate kind of hard ganache layer topping it off, I will make that person one - or two.

                      1. re: maisonbistro

                        «I posted months ago on a few boards here looking for an original ludlab recipe - the likes of the Coffee Mill or what we had in Budapest. Alas, nary a post.»

                        Yes, I know. But hope springs eternal...

                        «If anyone can find me a recipe for the original stuff - shortbready crust, inch or two of chocolatey silkiness studded with sour cherries and crackly chocolate kind of hard ganache layer topping it off, I will make that person one - or two.»

                        I've looked and found nothing that resembled Coffee Mill's ludlab. I'd walk barefoot to Chomedey for a slice.

                        1. re: carswell

                          you are both making me weep.


                          1. re: carswell

                            hey you guys, i was lurking on the Ontario board, and someone posted about a "Coffee Mill" in GTA that serves Hungarian palascinta! I have posted asking about ludlab. You never know! We may have to take a trip to TO if this lead works out... I could drive, no need to walk barefoot to TO.

                            1. re: moh

                              Here is the thread about the Coffee Mill in Toronto: Look for Estragon's post


                              1. re: moh

                                Interesting. Maybe there were branches in both cities. Finally, a reason to go to T-zero.

                                1. re: bomobob

                                  exactly what I am hoping! i've now posted a specific thread asking for ludlab in TO, hopefully someone will be able to help us.

                                  And if we are successful, and you go yo T-zero, you gotta check out T & T especially on the weekends where they do a lot of free samples! Lots of fun unusual tofu products and dumplings.

                                  1. re: moh

                                    I have two restos that I always hit in Toronto. One is Mata Hari, a fantastic Indonesian/Malaysian place on Baldwin, and the other is Swatow on Spadina, one of my all-time favourites.

                                    1. re: bomobob

                                      Sir I have added them to my itinerary, many thanks!

                                      1. re: moh

                                        If you do go to Mata Hari, order the Laksa Lemak.

                                      2. re: bomobob

                                        Swatow is famous. Never been to Mata Hari. Thanks for next trip to Toronto (via Via).

                            2. re: maisonbistro

                              Strangely, Chomedey Best Quality Bakery has the keywords "Dirty Bakery" in its Yellow Pages listing - bomobob, is this the one you mean?


                              MB - I assume you've already tried these Googleable recipe finds and found them lacking?


                     (scroll to recipe at bottom)

                              1. re: kpzoo

                                Thanks KP - but I did an exhaustive search. Neither of recipes come close. It isn't so much a cake as a... well, it's not a cake. The first recipe lost me at "sponge" cake.

                                Thanks for trying though. As I mentioned in my original posts months ago, I think the real ludlab recipe is a closely guarded Hungarian National Secret. I swear.

                                1. re: kpzoo

                                  That's the one. It was there, in that very spot, when I was a kid growing up in Chomedey in the 60s. It became known as the dirty bakery because, surprisingly, it was dirty. Imagine. The nickname stuck, and they kind of latched onto it. They had a sign for a while the actually said "The Dirty Bakery", but have since dispensed with that.

                                  When I was a kid, they had what Fairmount calls "matzoh boards", but what most Jews just call "those flat crunchy things with seeds on them", because most people don't know the real name. I used to, but that was long ago, and there's limited space upstairs. Anyway, I just call them crunchies, but they made them like nobody else ever has. They put an egg wash on them prior to pouring on the seeds, and that gave them a lovely, shiny finish. They were by far the best matzoh boards ever. Sadly, they don't make them any more, but Fairmount's are still really good.

                                  My brother still loads up there before he flies home to Winnipeg, filling his bags with their small danishes. My sister-in-law accused him of having "tramp" tastes when it comes to pastry (the word she actually uses is sl*t, but they might censor those words here), as she prefers French to Danish, but shoot, they do do the best danishes I've ever had.

                                  But their poppy seed (mun) strudel is mind blowing. Most places use way too much dough, not to mention the wrong kind, and are pretty skimpy on the poppy seeds. Wawel and Bucharest are cases in point. Good, but not really satisfying. The first time I visited Hungary, I found a bakery that essentially rolled two pounds of sweet, gooey poppy seed mud into some filo. That's a slight oversimplification, but this place was the benchmark for mun strudel. The Dirty Bakery comes close. I bought some last week, not having been through Chomedey in years, and I wanted to die it was so good.

                                  Now, why did someone have to go and bring up the Coffee Mill and ludlab? That's just cruel.

                                  1. re: bomobob

                                    I also have fond memories of dirty bakery in Chomedey, way back in time.... when I come up to Montreal to visit (once or twice a year, from NY), I still try to make a visit to Dirty Bakery. My kids, who were both born in the States, also appreciate it immensely......

                                    1. re: rikk

                                      Dirty Bakery isn`t as good as it was years ago

                            3. re: moh

                              Poppy seed strudel - pardon me while I drool all over my keyboard...I definitely need the address of this place!

                            4. re: bomobob

                              I believe there was a Fine bakery on St. John's Road in Dollard des Ormeaux. I liked the cake with the white icing and lemon dollops in it.