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Western Canada's best bakeries lets make a list

I will be taking a RV trip across BC, AB and SK this summer. Heading East on Hwy 3 and West again on TCH, but am happy to divert onto secondary roads, especially for an incredible loaf of crusty bread.

I will start with my home region.

Cowichan Bay, True Grains Bakery is the place for wonderful breads made with freshly ground flour. They do not sell cakes or dough nuts, but have a great selection of yeast buns and pastries. Spelt cookies are on my shopping list too. Limited seating, coffee and tea and small bunwiches served at lunch. Open Wednesday through Sunday.

Duncan: Westphalia Bakery, A German style bakery with a large assortment of cookies, pasties, cakes, and breads. Their Orange Cream Cheese Cake is a family birthday cake favourite. Open Tuesday to Friday and Saturday mornings.

Shawnigan Lake: Elford Farm Bakery and Deli. Renown for his Cakes Gerald also makes great bread, pasties and lunch dishes. Seating limited to out on the deck. I am not sure about the hours.

Victoria: Mount Royal Bagel Factory. Small chewy malty bagels, available from the bakery or in several retail locations. We get them fresh from the bakery and several disappear on the drive home.

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  1. 600 Degrees, Tofino - for her amazing sourdough baked in a wood-fired fire-brick oven. Starter-leavened and all-organic ingredients.

    Terra Breads - Vancouvwer - sourdough breads

    Thomas Haas, North Vancouver - patisserie and chocolates. Thomas was Daniel Boulud's pastry chef at Daniel NYC for a number of years.

    Butter, Vancouver - cookies, and assorted stuff etc.

    Sweet Art - North Vancouver - assorted goodies.

    Notte's Bon Ton - Vancouver - patisseries, Diplomat Cake (their specialty)

    6 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      A similar question came up recently, focusing on Vancouver bakeries. Here are a few of my faves (some repeats from fmed's list), focusing on sweets. For danishes, my favourite is Patisserie LeBeau. I brought them for a work-related function in the spring and the docs are still talking about them. Be sure to pick up a loaf of craquelin too if they have it (sweet bread mmm). I like Liberty Bakery on Main for sweets, and Patisserie Bordeaux do a good job of the fancier French stuff. Fratelli's on Commercial will fill the bill for Italianesque goodies. I had cupcakes at an open house from Butter on Dunbar that were very tasty and full of their namesake. Sweet Es in Kerrisdale has some good offerings. Pastry Club also in Kerrisdale has good sweets made from quality ingredients and they also have great sandwiches if you're there at lunch. Tinker's Hatch on MacKenzie used to have good straight up non-fancy sweets (bear claws, anyone?) but I haven't been by in a while. Notte's Bon Ton on Broadway is worth a look -- just this past weekend had some really superb squashed fly biscuits from there and their version of cannoli is great too.

      1. re: grayelf

        Great list so far. To add to it... the French bakery outside Granville Island for chocolate almond croissants, Michele Bakery in Kerrisdale for Chinese mango or chestnut cakes, donuts from Valley Bakery on Hastings or Honey's in Deep Cove.

        I think it's so sad that we have to go so many places to get our baked goods. I wish there was one great place we could visit to get everything. Like Tartine Bakery in SF. But then again, if we had a Tartine, I wouldn't bake as much.

        1. re: im_hungry

          Oddly enough, I just discovered that we DO have a Tartine, though it's not the same as the one in SF of course. It's on Beach Avenue just west of the Granville Street bridge. I haven't had a chance to try it yet though...

          PS Honey's Doughnuts, mmm (said in Homer Simpson voice).

          1. re: grayelf

            i was so excited when i first saw that tartine in vancouver, but quickly found out it was not even close to the SF one....

            1. re: grayelf

              Tartine has the most amazing Crustic White bread! Always a huge hit at dinner parties. They sell out of it quite early....

              1. re: JanetAnd

                Thanks for the tips -- it's harder to find good white bread these days. I see you are headed to SF soon, JanetAnd; if you go to the Tartine there, so let us know :-).

      2. Does Manitoba count, even if you won't be driving through?

        Tall Grass Prairie--great organic stone-ground breads. The store at the Forks has more variety, but I prefer the original branch on Westminster. Awesome carrot cake and muffins. Best known for their whole wheat cinnamon buns (which are best when fresh), but their savoury bread pudding (only at the Forks, I think) is also a treat.

        Le Croissant--assuming it's still open, great French-style breads in St. Boniface. Good croissants, french pastries, etc.

        La Grotta/Piazza de Nardi--good Italian-style breads, and a decent selection of cakes and similar goodies.

        Gunn's--for pizza bagels! (their other bagels are good, too), apple jacks, and florentine cookies (and knishes--do those count in this topic?).

        Just down the street from Gunn's is the Donut House--I've loved their lemon doughnuts for decades! Good sausage rolls, too.

        There's a good Portuguese bakery, too, but I can't remember its name.

        7 Replies
        1. re: prasantrin

          Manitoba counts of course.

          Where are the AB and SK bakeries folks?

          And what about more BC Bakeries outside of the larger centres? There must be great bread in the Okanogan, Kootenays etc.

          1. re: mlgagnon

            Vancouver:
            -Patisserie Lebeau (is this the one outside of Granville Island referenced above?) for Belgian waffles
            - Meinhardt for the mango sable
            - Trafalgars for palmiers

            Calgary
            -Manuel Latruwe for bread and croissants
            - Glamorgan Bakery for cheese buns and sugar bread (only made once a month)
            - Nectar for anything lemon-based
            - Rustic Sourdough for great rye and quick breads

            Canmore
            - The Gourmet Croissant (products also featured at Communitea which ahs a nicer ambience)

            Banff
            - Wild Flour homey baked goods and bread

            1. re: toutefrite

              I'll add Ganache Patisserie in Yaletown. Amazingly delicious and devine !
              http://www.ganacheyaletown.com/index....

              1. re: gourmet wife

                In a similar but not quite as top drawer vein I will add:

                Patisserie Bordeaux
                3675 W. 10 Avenue, Vancouver, BC

                Great croissants, cakes and other French delights on the way to UBC.

              2. re: toutefrite

                Calgary: I second Manuel Latruwe(www.manuellatruwe.com), hopefully he's reopened by the time the OP comes through...if not Rustic sourdough Bakery (at the Calgary Farmer's Market and 17th Av SW)definitely has wonderful bread - I'm partial to the cranberry pecan bread myself. L-o-v-e Nectar desserts (www.nectardesserts.com) ...I haven't found a single dish that didn't make me want to lick the plate clean. (although you'll find pasteries and ice cream here not breads... still worth a mention imho

                )

                Banff - 2nd Wild Flour Bakery for their breads and their breakfast paninis. Expect lineups. (www.wildflourbakery.ca)

                1. re: toutefrite

                  Saw this post and decided to check out "The Gourmet Croissant" in Canmore at 11:40 this morning. They had no croissants at all, in fact they had virtually nothing. When I asked why they had no product, they seemed very surprised and taken aback that I would ask such a question, then they answered that they had had "a busy morning". They are apparently open until 3:00, not sure what they were planning on doing for the rest of the day, just hanging out and getting paid for nothing maybe?

                  I wasn't impressed, I suppose maybe their baker works in the early morning, then goes home. Maybe this is normal for a french-style bakery, but if a restaurant is open until 3 I don't expect them to be completely sold out of everything by 11:40.

                  I suppose I'll try them again some other day, earlier in the morning.

                2. re: mlgagnon

                  Quality Bakery in Invermere BC. Local favourite for bread, cakes, and whole-wheat cinnamon buns. Take some of the oatmeal chews for a snack on the road.

              3. Also add Brulee in Calgary mostly for cakes and the shortbread lady in the CFM because that's some sweet shortbread.

                1. Ah yes, bread in Calgary. There's Urban Baker on Edmonton Trail and Prairie Mill Bread Co. on Crowchild north by Northlands.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sharonanne

                    It feels strange to reply to myself but I just discovered the chocolate chip banana bread at Prairie Mill Bakery. It's amazing. Filled with chocolate chips, moist and very dense. The size of a normal loaf this thing weighs 2lbs 6 oz.

                  2. In Calgary: Planet Organic and Lakeview Bakery are where I'd recommend for gluten-free/spelt products. Planet O is an easy drive off the Trans-Canada, exit Shaganappi Tr north, and it's maybe 5 minutes away, in a strip mall just off the Trail. Lots of gf cookies.(http://www.planetorganic.ca/ourstores...) Lakeview Bakery is a bit further off the T-Can, exit at Crowchild, and it's basically at the far south end of Crowchild Trail... about 15-20 minutes on a good day. Lots of GF rice and spelt products though so it might be well worth the drive(http://www.organicbaking.com/) HTH :)