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Montreal baked goods - specific questions

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Hi Chowhounders,

I am quite excited to get to spend a day in Montreal next week. I get to visit relatively often and have a few questions for you. I am pretty obsessed with bread and baking, and that is often my focus of eating in Montreal.

I have had amazing croissants at Fous Desserts now, and am tempted to return for my favourite - croissant and cafe au lait for breakfast. But should I try Mamie Clafoutis instead? I used to be a Kouig Aman croissant fan, but have been disappointed lately.

I plan on stocking up on bread from Boulangerie Guillaume as I love their walnut bread, chocolate baguette, and kamut/sesame bread. Anything else I should try there?

This new Olivier Poitras shop is also intriguing as they are bringing bread in from the Au Pain des Voiles, which I have heard of but never get to visit. Are there any breads from that shop that are a must? I am generally fond of baguettes, and like whole-grain breads as well. Is the food they offer at lunch good as well? Any recommendations?

Any other amazing new bakery finds or recommendations? My kids and spouse are expecting some exceptional pains au chocolat and apple turnovers to be brought back, and possibly some little entremets.

Thanks,

Hannah

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  1. I've heard great things about Pâtisserie Rhubarbe but haven't yet tried it.

    5091 Rue de Lanaudière
    Montreal, QC H2J3P9
    (514) 903-3395

    http://patisserierhubarbe.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: kpzoo

      Oh, yes. Rhubarbe should be on your itinerary. The quality and presentation of the pastries are outstanding.

      1. re: kpzoo

        If you are going to Rhubarbe there is Le Formentier nearby although not in my top 10 but YMMV. Also on 1459 Mont-Royal est is Patisserie 3M. They have a unique viennoiserie called bichon au citron. They have cakes, a lunch menu, chocolates and the best madeleine in town.

      2. Boulangerie Guillaume also makes some excellent viennoiseries (croissants, croissants au chocolat/amandes, etc...). I would try them.

        Mamie's are also good. In fact, there is a thread on this board comparing the two, with no clear winner it seems.

        Maybe not the best, but Froment et de Sève on Beaubien is also pretty good, and if you are there next week, you can try their croissant with Maple butter, since it is sugaring season. I believe they are the only ones doing that.

        As to Olivier Poitras, it is brand new, you can read the thread on this board, but other than that, I haven't tried it.

        1. There's a lot of good ideas in this thread if you didn't see it : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796290. I would probably repeat most of the things I suggested there.

          About Olivier Potier (not Poitras), the Pain du peuple is absolutely amazing and unique. I also really liked the Pain aux oignons, but this one is not from Le pain dans les voiles. Other than that I've only tasted the pastries and they're the best in Montreal.

          I would also suggest De Froment et de Sève. You will not find a lot of reviews here like most place in Montreal east, but it's a really really popular place in this neighbourhood. The bread is not the best (still worth it if you want to try some) but some baked goods are really great. I would suggest the Caener, the maple butter croissant or danoise, the maple torsade and the most amazing thing on this earth : the chocolatine aux amandes.

          Rhubarbe is amazing, but mostly high-end pastries, not a lot of baked goods. A lot of pictures here : http://patisserierhubarbe.com/

          Have you ever tasted the bread at Olive et Gourmando? Unfortunately they stopped baking all sorts of breads like they used too, but you can still buy the Pain grillé (the one they use in their sandwich). I think it's my favorite bread in Montreal. It's also a baked goods paradise if you've never been.

          1. Olivier Potier's croissants not as good as Fous Desserts I find, kinda spongy.
            Apple turnover pastry quite nice but the insides like store-bought applesauce.
            Maybe Sweet Lee's for homey stuff; tasty little cheesecakes if you like.

            1. I had the St-Honoré at Olivier Potier today, it was creative and lovely, with a banana-passion fruit custard and a vanilla bean flecked chantilly and teeny tiny choux around. Didn't try the bread (they sure had lots of varieties but the loaves looked on the small side - I bake my own bread so I payed less attention).

              In any case, I was just sacrificing my body to the gods of desserts...

              (a review from another gourmand: http://willtravelforfood.com/2012/03/...)

              1. Mamie is an excellent croissant but for a better experience, like at any bakery, I would ask for the baking schedule. Nothing like eating a croissant that is fresh off the oven.

                1 Reply
                1. re: maj54us

                  Thanks for all of your responses.

                  Here are my thoughts on what I got to eat....It was a delicious, carb-heavy day. I have a freezer full of delicious bread to keep me happy in Ottawa for the next week or so.

                  Boulangerie Guillaume

                  Love the bun aux pommes (a tiny bit too sweet for me, but I guess that is the nature of the beast) Goes very well with coffee.
                  Really like the bun au chocolat/orange...one of my favourite flavour combinations.
                  Baguette au chocolat (mmm, especially with a banana, I ate vast quantities of this stuff all afternoon)
                  Like their Kamut/poppyseed bread, and bought a baguette.

                  Fous Desserts
                  Croissant and cafe au lait (and an espresso to follow) for breakfast. Excellent, but slightly surly service.
                  Cafe au lait could have been hotter, but the croissants are perfect.

                  Olivier Potier
                  I got to try the Pain aux Peuples, which was delicious. Unfortunately there was none left to buy.
                  I bought a baguette (levain) and a whole-grain Kamut sesame bread, both from the Voiles bakery (Ste Hilaire)
                  The pistachio, vanilla and raspberry pastry received rave reviews from my wife.

                  I did a quick taste test of the baguettes from Guillaume and Voiles, and I think I prefer the Voiles, but both are good.

                  For lunch I had the Mekong sandwich on Chapati from Aux Vivres, which I adore.

                  I didn't have time to get to Mamie Clafoutis, or Rhubarbe, or the bakery in Montreal East, so will have to return soon.

                2. I bought 2 cakes from Patisserie Rhubarbe this week, both were exceptional, and exceeded my (high) expectations. One was the pistachio and apricot layered cake (I forget the official name of this) and the other was the chocolate/praline/noisette 'gateau d'occasion'. I now feel satisifed that my search for great cakes in Montreal is over. Cocoa Locale for homemade style and Rhubarbe for high end. They both looked and tasted beautiful - the apricot/pistache cake had a couple of people oh-my-god-ing for pretty much the entire evening. My favourite, because I have a sweet tooth, was the chocolate cake, but it wasn't overly sweet at all, very luscious without being heavy or too-dense. The apricot-pistache was VERY apricot-y - if you like intense fruit flavours in your desserts/with your sweets, I highly recommend this one (I found the apricot to be slightly strong in comparison with the subtle pistachio flavour, but that's personal, and no one else agreed with me, ha).

                  Cake Mission: Accomplished.

                  Sandwich Mission: Ongoing

                  Challah Mission: Ongoing

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: montrealeater

                    Pardon my ignorance but what are the Sandwich Mission and the Challah Mission?

                    1. re: montrealeater

                      Thanks for the report - I need to get to Rhubarbe at some point.

                      re: challah - I'm curious what you think about the challah at Fressers (Decarie & Cote-Ste-Catherine) and Cheskies. I think they're both very good. I think Cheskies only makes it on Fridays, though - could be wrong.

                      1. re: montrealeater

                        thanks for report, I went to patisserie rhubarbe but it was closed so still on my list to do. I see on their website they now make popsicles with flavours changing, good idea for summer.

                        http://patisserierhubarbe.com/

                        1. re: mangoannie

                          I saw those popsicles, but I was taking my order home and knew they would just be a melted mess by the time I got to eating them. I do intend to try them, tho.

                          EaterBob - the Sandwich and Challah Missions are personal missions of mine (as was the cake mission and the quit in disgust Cupcake Mission) to find the best (imo) of these items in Montreal. So far Olive et gourmando is winning the sandwich category and the challah category needs more sampling.

                          Re: challah. Kpzoo, the best one I've had came from a bakery in Westmount with an italian name (or owner?) andby far the worst came from the St Denis location of Mamie Clafoutis. It wasn't even challah, as far as i'm concerned, it was puffy, eggy bread-like thing. Have you had it from there? And I have bought 3 of them at different times, big and small, and all were exactly the same un-challah challah. It's not terrible, but it isn't challah, imo. Cheskies is on the list and now Fressers is, too, thanks!

                          1. re: montrealeater

                            "the best one I've had came from a bakery in Westmount with an italian name (or owner?)"

                            Ah - the one on the north side, nearish Victoria? Carvallo or something like that? (Google is failing me). I've never tried the challah there but I used to get a round Belgian loaf that was fantastic, back when I lived closer.

                            I've never tried Mamie Clafoutis for anything. Let me know what you think of Fressers!

                            1. re: kpzoo

                              Cavallaro. Excellent bread, and the owner, Tony, is a great guy.

                              1. re: C70

                                Yes my favorite Challah is Cavallaro's! Also love their meatballs.

                                1. re: causeimhungry

                                  I have purchased 3 breads from Cavallaro's - twice I had to return since when I brought home, they had giant holes in the center! Never had that experience at any other bakery in Montreal.

                                  Re. Challah - agree with Catroast - Kosher Quality on Victoria on Friday morning when they are just out of the oven. Challah from Boucherie Atlantique (Queen Mary and Cote des Neiges) is amazing, tastes like cake, available most of the week. Whole wheat challah from Exceptions (kosher catering on Robert Burns in Cote St-Luc) is the best whole wheat version IMO. Cheskies - everything from there is delicious - but ask for one that is less well done. Fresser's challah is pretty good (as are their challah rolls) and they make the best cheese bagels, but I wouldn't go out of my way just for the challah.

                                  1. re: mikjomom44

                                    I second the challah from Atlantique. Although denser, sweeter and more oily compared to Cheskies (too well baked IMHO) or Kosher Quality, Atlantique's challah reminds me of the cake-like challah my bubby used to bake for Rosh Hashana. I have easily devored 1/2 loaf before it got back home.

                            2. re: montrealeater

                              kosher quality on victoria has good challah

                              1. re: montrealeater

                                For sandwiches, have you tried the cevapi at Balkan Foods? The smoked tongue at Bratwurst Colbeh? The Cubano at Chipotle and Jalepeno? Smoked Meat at Delibee's and Smoked Meat Pete's?Grilled Cheese at L'Empotre Piece? The Shami at Chez Nouri? Or the Bifana at Rotisserie Portugalia?

                                Granted it might be difficult to make comparisons between them, but I enjoy all of them at various times.

                                1. re: EaterBob

                                  Hey Eaterbob, just wanted to thank you for these specifics. Of your list I have only tried the grilled cheese (it wasn't bad, but I didnt think it was anything special) from L'Emporte Piece and the smoked meat from Smoked Meat Pete's. Was good, but smoked meat isn't something I'm finiskcy about, to say the least, heh. In fact the only disgusting smoked meat sandwich Ive ever had was one I made myself at home with PC brand smoked meat I picked up at Loblaws. It was baaaaaad. I'm going to make an effort to try the others you mentioned, thanks again!!!

                                  1. re: montrealeater

                                    Hey, no problem and my pleasure. Personally I'm on the lookout for a great chicken salad sandwich, beyond the balut if you come across any great ones please let me know.

                          2. If you happen to be on the West Island, Patisserie Maison Mallet. Lovely desserts, croissants etc.