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The Great Montreal Bakery Hunt 2007

Probably an exaggeration, especially if some cardiologist finds out about this. To celebrate my liberation from work (opening up some free time during the crucial weekday mornings), I've decided to indulge my taste for baked goods. What I'd like to know is: 1) Am I missing something from the following list? Especially the non-French ones, particularly Italian since I should be so much more knowledgeable in this respect. Also, distance means nothing to me. In fact, it will help me burn off the end product. 2) Does anything not deserve to be here? 3) Specialties in either the list below or for the extra recommendations. And now the list:

1) Les Co'Pains (d'abord); 2) Mr Pinchot; 3) Les Saveurs du Plateau; 5) Le Fromentier; 6) Fous Desserts; 7) Patisserie de Gascogne; 8) Patisserie Belge; 9) Duc de Lorraine; 10) Le Paltoquet; 11) Premiere Moisson; 12) Autour d'un Pain; 13) Bela Vista and 14) Samos for Portuguese; 15) Olive + Gourmando; 16) Alati-Caserta (did I get that right) for Italian; 17) Wawel for paczki; 18) Cocoa Locale; 19) Patisserie Nancy to bring me back to NDG.

So, quite a list, but I remain undaunted. Though I may need a little help avoiding massive weight gain. So, anyone wants to join a leg or two, let me know.

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  1. Well, since you're in Old Montreal anyway, may as well make a stop in Chinatown for an egg custard tart,coconut bun ,redbean bun, coconut bun, sponge cake,etc........

    1. I personally have a soft spot for Roma on St-Laurent between St-Zotique and Dante. I live near Alati (the one on Jean-Talon in St-Léonard) but don,t know whether they sell that kind of stuff, but if you're in for a cannolli in the morning, this is the place.

      4 Replies
        1. re: Campofiorin

          Don't forget San Marco on Jean Talon just west of the Fabre metro station. Alati, Alati-Caserta and San Marco: Montreal's cannoli triumvirate.

          1. re: carswell

            Thanks for the cue, I'll stop by this weekend. I see the place every weekend on my way to and from JTM but never bothered to stop and I'm always in for cannoli.

          2. re: Campofiorin

            Roma has the best cannoli. I tested cannoli from Alati (277 Dante) and Roma, side by side, and I find the ones from Roma to be crispier, creamier and tastier... Yummy!

          3. Patisserie de Nancy has gone through an owner change and has improved a bit, but not that much in my eyes. Your best best on that stretch of Monkland in my eyes is Premiere Moisson.

            Wawel does make good packi - you even got the spelling right. If you go to the one on the corner of Sherbrooke and Girouard early in the morning, you can get warm/hot ones - beats a KK donut any day!!

            If you just want a baguette or a small brioche or brioche au pepites de chocolat, there is a french bakery on the corner of Melrose and Sherbrooke that is very good. Nice authentic baguettes.

            Enjoy!

            3 Replies
            1. re: maisonbistro

              If you live in NDG it might be a criminal offense not to try the scones at Gryphon d'Or.
              (The short bread is pretty damn good too.)

              1. re: maisonbistro

                After hearing a lot about packi I decided to try 'em @ Wawel downtown. Not crazy about it was okay. I still love a Dunkin Donut when i could find a location. This is a good thread ~ lots of diverse goodies to choose from. Some of these locations are actually close by me. Moosemeat is Gryphon d'Or on Monkland or am I mixing it up with another tea shop there?

                1. re: Yummy Stuff

                  5968 Monkland, between Royal and Hampton (street where the NDG Y is located.) They also do an outstanding afternoon tea, you need to reserve in advance. I posted some pics in this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/395649

                  As an aside, it's also a great place to meet with clients for those of us who have home offices in NDG. Very quiet outside of lunchtime hours and all-you-can-drink, self-serve coffee and tea to go with the exquisite scones, homemade raspberry jam & shortbread!

              2. De Froment et de Sève at 2355 rue Beaubien E. is not to be missed. Very possibly the best croissant in town and everything else is fantastic too.

                7 Replies
                1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                  Au Kouign Amann, 322 Mont Royal Est, west of St. Denis. As the name suggests it specializes in Breton pastry. They sell their signature pastry, carmelized, a buttery, sugary, flat layered confection in two forms, by the piece (in a small slice) or by weight as a larger sheet. I have tried both and the larger piece is much better. However they may run out of the large size as early as 4 so get there before hand. The staff are conscientious to a fault. They reminded me that the kouign is best reheated if one has to leave it out for awhile. In the shop it is held in a slightly heated case.

                  The other Breton pastry shop I tried was at the opposite end of the street, past Papineau on the way toward the Journal de Montreal building. It was called either La Pomme de Pain or Au Boulangerie Bretonne, or perhaps it bore both names or maybe I have conflated the names of two separate shops. The baker here looked like he could have stepped out of a Bretonne farm house, wizened, sunken cheeks from too many years of puffing cigarettes. He might have stepped out of a Cartier-Bresson photo from the fifties. If only his pastry tasted as good. His kouign amann was a real disappointment, lacking the crispy carmelized butter sugar of the shop at 322.

                  BTW I have tried only one thing at Patisserie de Nancy, their litchi-black cherry tarte. While not exceptional, it was certainly not worse than what one finds down Monkland at Premiere Moisson. And if you like litchis and cherries as I do, it is quite pleasant,

                  1. re: VivreManger

                    It seems I did neglect Au Kouign Amann in my original post. Consider that an oversight as it was definitely on my written list. I think La Pomme de Pain is right, as I've passed by before (or was it Pain aux Pommes?). In any event, thanks for the heads-up. I always thought that sign just referred to the grocery store under it, which I tend to avoid after seeing the produce they offer out front.

                    1. re: JQReid

                      I don't know if you are still doing this, or you decided to detox after butter overdose; but the tartelettes at Au Kouign Amann are very very good. And I can ensure that they have as much butter as there are in their namesake pastry.

                      1. re: emerilcantcook

                        Finally got around to trying the kouign amann. They are as fabulous as advertised. ummm, the butter, the butter.... I have had to institute a maximum consumption rate for these tasy morsels (no more than one a week, just like cocoa locale products). But as they say, rules are made to be broken.

                    2. re: VivreManger

                      Kouign Amann gets my vote, and if I could purchase/steal the votes of others, I'd use them here too.
                      Agreed that their namesake pastry is wonderful (though one large is often enough for a 4-person brunch, with strong coffee [not alone: eat your tofu scramble before it gets cold...]
                      I was in a bad way this Autumn past, sharing communal breakfasts with friends who would stop in on their way to work and three times a week at that bakery gave me a substantive layer of sub-dermal Real Butter.
                      Our favorite there is the Danoise Framboise, if you get there early enough, they aren't worth reheating (in my opinion) and the fresh raspberries are magical.
                      Pain au Chocolate liquifies spectacularly and their mini-pizzas are (for carnis) a real savoury treat.

                      1. re: VivreManger

                        make a stop in Chinatown for an egg custard tart,coconut bun ,redbean bun, coconut bun, sponge cake,etc........

                      2. re: ScoobySnacks20

                        Spent yesterday evening with friends -- both bread and pastry lovers, one of them originally from France -- who live near the bakery, so I asked them what they though about De Froment et de Sève. Their take: The crossants are excellent as are tarts involving frangipane. When not overcooked, the brioches are good. Nothing else excites them. And they much prefer the nearby Première Moisson outlet for their bread.

                      3. I most enjoy the fresh homemade baked almond cookies among other delicious breads at :
                        Boulangerie Au Pain Doré Ltée
                        Adresse : 5214, chemin de la cote-des-Neiges, Montréal, QC H3T 1X8
                        Téléphone : 514-342-8995

                        Check out their website - you`ll enjoy the music!
                        http://www.aupaindore.com/

                        1. I love the bread pudding at le Fournil in Westmount.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Joy of food

                            I am going to have to state the the Fournil would not be a bakery I would ever recommend. As I live nearby, I see the numerous transgressions this bakery is guilty of, such as how they purchase rotten veggies (you know, those 10 bell peppers for 99c) from the fruit guy to put in their savoury breads. Oh, and I never trust a bakery that is closed on Sundays but sells "Day old" bread on Mondays...

                          2. it's impossible towalk by cheskies without salivating

                            1. What about Nocochi at Mackay? I never tried their cookies but I am curious about them. When I ventured in to inquire about macarons, their offerings looked pretty good but I restrained myself because I were after some macarons afterall. I am off sweets for a week or too (too many indulgences recently), but I will be trying them next time I earn some cookie credit.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                The cookies are really nice - many are made with chickpea flour and the texture is so different but oddly addictive. They are delicate and perfect. You want to exhibit restraint, you can here in that you don't feel guilty for eating 10 cookies 'cause they're so small!!!

                                1. re: swissfoodie

                                  I finally got to try them. What a delight. The chickpea taste feels odd first, but then becomes indeed addictive. I didn't try their tiny baklavas, but their variations on chickpea flour was pretty good, especially combined with cocoa. Nice tea selection too.

                                2. re: emerilcantcook

                                  The chickpea cardamom is my absolute favourite. In this picture, it is the yellowish round one near the bottom left-hand corner, that's got a pinwheel design on it.

                                  http://www.mcgill.ca/files/reporter/3...

                                3. As long as you're going to Wawel, hit up Ryad right next to it for the baklava. I love the stuff!

                                  1. A huge qualified thanks to you all for helping me out on this. Not quite done yet (NDG in particular I have not been back to), but some great recommendations thus far. Especially de Froment et de Seve, who serve possible the most intense almond croissant in this universe. However, I did qualify my thanks. After all, how did no one think to recommend Cheskie? Man, that place is awesome!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: JQReid

                                      Mmm.... intense almond croissants. I may have to make a pilgrimage.

                                      BTW Celfie recommended Cheskie on Aug 22 in a very minimalist fashion. :-)

                                      1. re: kpzoo

                                        My apologies, then. Time to have my eyes checked.

                                    2. For ice cream and sorbet made right on the premises, IIUC, go to Meu Meu.

                                      On St. Denis just a few doors down from Mont Royal. I may have misspelt the name of the shop. I had espresso ice cream with a raspberry sorbet on top (the standard is 2 scoops, I think). And a 'real' cone. It was so delicious!

                                      Yeah, I know it's not a bakery but the product was outstanding.

                                      1. Au Kouign Amann is excellent, but for some reason it has been very variable in quality over the past year and on occasion just plain bad. One year ago it would have topped my list. I just tried De Froment et de Sève and I believe it may be my new title holder for best bakery.

                                        1. oh boy do I have one for you...
                                          Recently opened on St. Laurent just one block south of Little Italy is tiny place that makes italian croissants called coronetti. My friend from Rome says they are just like home. The name is something like Coroneterie. You can't miss it because it has a huge model of a croissant in its front window.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: edhazer

                                            You probably mean La Cornetteria (6528 St-Laurent just north of Beaubien West, 514 277-8030). Mile Enders can sample some of their wares at Caffè in Gamba. See www.chowhound.com/topics/98712#2860210

                                            1. re: carswell

                                              Em Café at Park/Bernard also stocks treats from La Cornetteria, along with some homemade pastries.

                                              Just so everyone knows, there's a new bakery about to open in Chinatown called Pâtisserie Harmonie, right at the corner of La Gauchetière and St. Urbain. Inside sources tell me that it will be authentic Hong Kong-style with buns, cakes and Chinese versions of Western pastries. We'll see how it turns out...

                                              1. re: KT MTL

                                                How soon will it open? That's a type of establishment we need in Montreal. I can find it in Toronto area in the Chinese suburbs.

                                                1. re: KT MTL

                                                  Mmm thanks for the heads-up on the new bakery - do you know if they will have Hong Kong-style milk tea? (made w/evaporated milk and poured through a fine pantyhose-like filter) That's my latest obsession but I've only made it at home so far. Would love to try the real thing.

                                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                                    I don't know if it will offer milk tea, but you can get real milk tea from two places in Chinatown: Dobe & Andy in the mall just below Kam Fung and M.M. Legende on the main pedestrian strip.

                                                    As far as I know, Harmonie is currently hiring staff (they'll be open daily from 8am-10pm, so they'll need a lot of people) and is supposed to start training this week. I would imagine they'd be open by the end of January.

                                                      1. re: KT MTL

                                                        Hello!

                                                        I made a new post about this Harmonie bakery you are talking about:
                                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/485893/

                                                  2. re: carswell

                                                    I passed by la Cornetteria today - they are open all day on Saturday. - they sell the plain Italian-style Cornetti (croissants) which are a bit sweeter and a bit less buttery than French ones, and also have them stuffed with various fillings. I bought two of the plain ones, which a friend and I will have tomorrow morning (not ideal, I know, but I lacked the courage to go there early in the morning when it was so cold this past week. Next week...)

                                                    They are open until about 6pm on Saturdays.

                                                    More interesting still, they are planning to buy a coffee machine and set up a few tables. Since they are open by 5 am, sounds like a nice place to have an espresso and cornetto before starting one's working day.

                                                    In a correction to the guy's comment in my earlier post, they don't seem to be expanding physically, just improving the premises where they are.

                                                  3. re: edhazer

                                                    La Cornetteria seems to be closed every time I pass by. I think one has to go there in the morning. I do want to pick up some of those (brioche-like, slightly-sweet) cornetti. Argentineans eat them as well; I used to get them at dear departed Tanguito at the corner of St-Zotique and St-Vallier (snif).

                                                    Edited to add: I phoned la Cornetteria - indeed they are often closed during the week by 11:30 am - they open very early, as a bakery supplying other establishments - they are there at 3 am and clients can pass by by 5 am - so pass by on your way to work. I live close enough that I can venture out on foot on pick some up - will wait until it is a bit less frigid.

                                                    The fellow said that they are expanding (taking over a closed business next door) and will then be open all day as a bakery.

                                                  4. I would like to add a non-bakery baked good to this list. Lately, I have been eating a lot of alfajores from Librairie Espanola. They are right next to the cash, and seem to be the only odd home baked item there. Don't know if they actually get them from a bakery, or someone affiliated with the store bakes them but they indeed are addictive.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                      Ditto the alfajores at Librairie Espanola. The shortbread ones. I can't enough of those. They are sooooo good.

                                                      1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                        Although I like alfajores, they are too sweet for me (I have been pretty much avoiding sugar, and anything sweeter than a croissant) but I can tell you a great bakery source for them, NAPO, on St-Michel near Sauvé, specialised in Argentine and Chilean bakery products, sweet and savoury. They also sell tapas (dough rounds) for empanadas and pascualinas (a large savoury pie originally from Liguria and common in Argentina and Uruguay, with an empanada-type crust.

                                                        Napo Traiteurs (Traiteur Argentin) - 514-387-5333
                                                        9897 St Michel , Montréal-Nord , QC H1H 5G7

                                                        I imagine you can also find them at Andes and Sabor Latino.