Find all kinds of these petite pastries at Tarts Bakery
Do you heart tarts? Lisa and Shawna Coan of Tarts Bakery do. Inspired by a coconut jam tart their mother used to make, the two sisters opened up shop to bring their pastry passion to Vancouverites. If you have trouble deciding on just one (and who wouldn’t, with tempting choices like butter pecan, chocolate mousse and raspberry macaroon?), scoop up several of the smaller tartlets to sink your fork into. Savoury options grace the menu as well, and all the goodies are made from scratch. Treats for sweet- and savoury-lovers alike—sounds like a recipe for success to us.—Rachel Dunlop
Second generation restaurateur Beth Grubert is a Paris-trained baker with a hands-on management approach and exquisite attention to detail. Her Osborne Village eatery Baked Expectations been drawing locals to a fabulous display case of mile-high cakes, tortes and pies for three decades. Choices can be tough here, where decadent strawberry pecan torte covered in glistening chocolate ganache competes with rich peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake for a coveted place on your plate. A menu of short-order favourites that stars a triple decker grilled cheese with bacon is equally grand. Let them eat cake!
161 Osborne St, 204-452-5176.
The Middle Spoon Desserterie & Bar
Halifax’s first desserterie and bar, Middle Spoon on Barrington Street, is the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth. Indulge in fresh desserts like Chocolate Lava Cake, Peanut Butter Pie, New York cheesecake or a create-your-own sundae. The cocktail menu is just as decadent with choices including the Ruthless Ruby, Obsession and Pretty in Pink.
Fans of cheesecake will love Broadway Cheesecake Co. on South Park Street. But these aren’t your traditional flavours. Try tastes like apple caramel, Baklava, cherry crumble, chocolate banana rum and Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Or you can sample the pies or cupcakes. The menu also serves a selection of savoury sandwiches.
APRIL 1-30 Chocoholics will get their fill during Chocolatefest, Ciao! magazine’s annual celebration of everyone’s favourite indulgence. For the month of April, participating bakeries, restaurants and cafés will offer one or more signature chocolate creations — be they sweet, savoury or sippable — for just $7. Call 204-943-4439 for more information.
In the true holiday spirit of joy we bring you a run down of the city’s best crème brûlée. Indulge in local chefs interpretations of this rich dessert topped with tantalizing discs of crackling caramelized sugar.
For a sweet finish to a brawny meal at Chop Steakhouse, bust through a golden layer of caramelized sugar to get at sweet white chocolate and raspberry-laced crème brûlée. 1750 Sargent Ave, 204-788-2015.
At The Current tuck into a flawlessly executed classic rendition of the dish (pictured). Divine vanilla custard is contained beneath a delightfully crunchy sugar crust and accompanied by dried fruit biscotti ideal for dipping. Inn at The Forks, 75 Forks Market Rd, 204-944-2445.
At In Ferno’s Bistro, diners relish the exquisite desserts crafted by Chef Fern Kirouac. Saddle up to cappuccino crème brûlée with a clever trace of bitter espresso enveloped in luxurious cream. 312 Des Meurons St, 204-262-7400.
A savoury take on this classic French sweet is made with corn at Lobby on York. The golden side supports an entrée of oven-roasted salmon along with a tart slaw of bitter greens. 295 York Ave, 204-896-7275.
On the Corydon Avenue strip, make a beeline for Mise, where pumpkin crème brûlée celebrates warm and decadent holiday flavour. 842 Corydon Ave, 204-284-7916.
Dessert from Il Mercato
Il Mercato, a popular trattoria with locations on Spring Garden Road and at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, offers a top-notch casual Italian menu. A new summer menu has fare such as flash-fried calamari with roasted garlic, tomatoes and chilies, and lamb chops crusted with Sicilian pistachios and breadcrumbs, served with fresh mint. A decadent summer tiramisu is the perfect coda.
After 15 years in its old spot, popular Dartmouth eatery Rocco’s Italian Ristorante is in a new location at Baker Drive. As regulars would expect, the menu still highlights Southern Italian favourites, paired with Italian wines. Try the house specialty Capasante alla Rocco (scallops simmered in Marsala wine and demi-glaze).
Diners can always find something inventive (and delicious) at Allium.
The low-key dining room at Allium has all the makings for a great night: attentive service, delicious food, and a fun atmosphere. The menu changes on the first Thursday of every month, meaning you can make many return visits and try something different each time (they also offer a popular tapas menu on Monday nights). One of the items you don’t have to worry about changing though is the banoffee pie. This to-die-for treat (and local favourite) features a graham cracker crumb crust, banana slices, toffee, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. A perfectly decadent way to end the meal. 87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313.
If you’re the sort of person who skips straight to dessert, be sure to visit The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street. The “desserterie” specializes in decadent desserts and cocktails. The Peanut Butter Pie draws rave reviews.
The Middle Spoon, Photo: Michelle Brunet
The forecast is for sunny skies and summery weather, so we highlight three sweet treats to satisfy your sweet tooth (and one of them is ice cream!).
Local fave Pascale's All Natural Ice Cream is available at stores and restaurants around Ottawa. Photo credit: Alexandre Mattar.
Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream
Rich, creamy, and made with fresh ingredients. The unusual gourmet flavours, such as white chocolate pistachio and dark chocolate sea salt, have made it a local favourite. Retails for $10.95-$12 for a half litre. Available at The Piggy Market, 400 Winston Ave., and several other stores and restaurants in Ottawa. www.pascalesicecream.com
Flourless, Decadent Chocolate Cake
Dense, moist, and not overly sweet, just what a flourless chocolate cake should be. $8. Flying Piggy’s, 1665 Bank St., 613-526-4900. www.flyingpiggys.com
A restaurant staple at Allium, this pie boasts a graham crumb crust filled with toffee, bananas, cream, and shaved chocolate. $8. 87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313. www.alliumrestaurant.com
Delicious goodies at Thomas Haas Chocolates and Patisserie. Photo by KK Law
Splurge on a delectable dessert for you and your honey on Valentine’s Day. An evening at Thomas Haas (pictured), Sweet Obsession or True Confections is sure to win you brownie points.—Kristina Urquhart
Bath products from Frilly Lilly make perfect stocking stuffers
Lemon meringue, marshmallow cream, strawberry shortcake and chocolate fudge. No, it’s not a dessert menu, it’s an assortment of yummy-sounding bath cakes from Yaletown’s newest beauty shop, Frilly Lilly. Lotions, body butters, perfumes and more: never has bath time been so sweet.—Jennifer Patterson
Vancouver's gorgeous cherry blossoms paint the sky pink. Photo by Tom Ryan courtesy Tourism BC
1 Cherry blossoms. Nothing says “springtime” quite like the cheerful pink blossoms.
2 Using our noodle…for a quick, cheap meal at the West End’s Kintaro Ramen, Legendary Noodle or Hon’s Wun-Tun House.
3 Rogers’ Chocolates, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Chocolate lovers choose the irresistible Victoria Creams—with fillings ranging from coffee, ginger and orange to vanilla, strawberry and always-patriotic maple.
4 Walking or biking along the seawall on a blustery day.
5 The annual Chutzpah! Festival (to Apr. 8).
6 Sipping a hot cuppa coffee while perusing the designer shops along bustling Robson Street.
7 The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
8 Tasting the very best of British Columbia at Edible BC, including organic jam, wild pacific salmon and local honey.
9 Grinder and Coola, two orphaned bears who reside on Grouse Mountain. They usually come out of hibernation in April.
10 Lingering over dessert at Lupo.
11 The larger-than-life art installations located throughout the city during the Biennale.
12 South Granville Street—aka Gallery Row—for its never-ending selection of art galleries.
Eye-pleasing confections at Lupo Restaurant & Vinoteca. Photo by KK Law
13 Dim sum, or any quick-to-eat Chinese food, such as take-out barbecue pork, from Chinatown.
14 Cheering for the Vancouver Canucks.
15 The Richmond Olympic Oval, which reopens to the public this month. It was the official speed skating venue for the 2010 Winter Games.