I feel so blessed having access to so many delicious eats. I spend a lot of time in the city, but really, I’ve spent most of my life growing up in the suburbs and bouncing back and forth has sometimes made me temporarily forget about the treasures that surround me closest to home. As you explore you learn that, yes, Toronto has some amazing stuff that you can’t get in the suburbs (case in point: in Markham, the AYCE sushi greatly outnumbers the simple sushi lunch sit-down spots with the regular menu. AYCE is great for families and gatherings, but not so much for a single person who want to have a quick and inexpensive lunch), but you also learn that there are gems right under your nose that are simply irreplaceable. For instance, Markham has waaaay more HK style diners and nobody holds a candle to my turkey sandwiches at the Raymerville Deli & Bakery. Which is way I feel incredibly lucky. I was born in the east end of Toronto, spent most of my childhood in Scarborough, and have grown up into adulthood in Markham, all the while spending as much of my free time as I could -and can- in the city.
The Old Firehall Confectionery is located in a neighbourhood very near and dear to my heart: Main Street Unionville. I love the feeling I get when I spend time here, especially during the fall. When there’s that awesome nip in the air, everything is just more beautiful, more peaceful. It’s a beautiful neighbourhood and I don’t think I spend enough time here. I have SO many wonderful memories of being around this area. I rememeber doing science projects at Toogood Pond with friends in the 10th grade, spending countless hours at Unionville Library (I wore out their Nancy collection), having lunch at Jake’s Pub & Grille (their halibut melt is amazing), enjoying a little retail therapy at Blossom (quite possibly my most favourite place to blow treat money in Markham), taking pictures of the beautiful fountain behind the library, and strolling through Toogood Pond and park. And this summer, I found one more reason to love Main Street Unionville even more: the dessert utopia known as Old Firehall Confectionery.
Today’s sweet treat focus: macarons!! My eyes just lit up when I saw these delicate morsels of yumminess. So colourful and perfect and gorgeous. And not over the top expensive either. At $1.99 a piece, the prices are pretty average and expected in comparison to other patisseries. Old Firehall has a bounty of different flavours that they rotate through on daily basis. Their menu is split into two categories: classic and specialty flavours. Their classic menu includes chocolate, raspberry, green tea, lavender, cassis (black currant), praline, orange, and chocolate mint. Their specialty flavours are super special, with flavour combos I’ve never seen at other places. These include strawberry balsamic, lemon thyme, pina colada, mango passion, white sesame, salted caramel, and peanut butter and jelly.
I tip my hat to all bakers who make macarons because it couldn’t have been easy with the level of humidity we’ve had this summer. Macarons are supposed to have light, airy, and crispy meringue shells and with the summer we’ve been having, I’m sure there were many a batch that either turned out soggy or just plain collapsed with the dense humidity.
Knowing how indecisive I am, you can imagine how difficult it was to choose just one. And you can also imagine how excruciating it was to choose which desserts I wanted to eat at Old Firehall. I mean, holy mother of pearl, there was ice cream, truffles, fudge, cupcakes, cookies drizzled with fudge, and oodles of other things. I convinced myself to only try two things and then I further convinced myself that those two things would be one macaron and one cupcake. I exercised a lot of self-restrain; be proud. I lovingly chose a peanut butter and jelly macaron. Peanut butter and jelly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. At the age of 3, 4, and 5, I loved coming home from kindergarten to a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into quarters and the combo still earns happy fists from me till this day.
For this macaron, the top and bottom shell mimicked a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a pale cocoa brown top and a fuschia purple-y pink bottom and the filling…oh the filling. The meringue shells were great, but the filling totally made this macaron with its two layers of sweetness. One layer was a thick, creamy caramel peanut butter and the other was a sweet, fruity strawberry jam that was absolutely delightful. The combination of sweet fruitiness with that subtle salty, savouriness from the peanut butter hits you when you bite into and the let flavours hang out on your tastebuds. I know some people have a tendency to eat fast and gulp stuff down, but with this one, you have to let it melt in your mouth and zing around your tongue to get the full effect and trust me, it is so worth it because it’s SO good. I was so happy eating this because it tasted EXACTLY like a PBJ sandwich, only much more decadent.
It was so cute getting my little desserts to take away. My little macaron was put into a little cello baggy and closed with an Old Firehall Confectionery sticker and I was a given a special Old Firehall paper shopping bag for both my cupcake and macaron. In case you’re wondering, I kept the bag, ha. I’m so looking forward to trying more flavours (especially the orange, chocolate mint, and a host of the specialty flavours like lemon thyme, pina colada, and mango passion!) and you can look forward to another sweet post tomorrow to end off this 3-part series: cupcakes!
Old Firehall Confectionery is located at 170 Main Street in the historic Main Street Unionville neighbourhood between Carlton Rd. and Hwy 7. The dessert haven is located between Carlton Rd. and Fred Varley Drive. Main Street is located just east of Kennedy Rd.