J’Adore Macarons! Bringing Home Sweets for Grandma from J’Adore Cakes & Co – Macaron Day TO 2014 Adventures, Part I

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4 stops, 2 dozen macarons, 1 memorable, wonderfully delicious day.  Macaron Day TO 2014 came and went last Thursday and despite the chilly, windy weather it was everything I hoped it would be!  Even though I didn’t surpass last year’s total of 5 stops, I truly had so much fun and in addition to raising money for Red Door, that’s the point of Macaron Day: to have fun and to build passion, excitement and awareness for these mouthwatering desserts that we love so much.  I hope everyone had a really great time noshing on macarons and being swept up in the excitement because I sure did!  I was raring to go early in the morning with my trusty Hello Kitty tin lunch box in tow, waiting in the wings to be filled with luscious macarons throughout the busy day and I’m happy to report that the highly anticipated day didn’t disappoint.

I passed by so many macaron-happy folks out and about with their baggies and boxes and I’m excited to find out if our final total for Red Door this year exceeded the one from last year.  I’m hoping – fingers crossed!  I had been anticipating this day for so long, not only because I was looking forward to having a ridiculous amount of macarons in my mouth and belly but also because March 20 is my anniversary with my sweetheart.  Macaron Day, my anniversary, and International Day of Happiness – it was meant to be.

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I switched up my Macaron Day route this year.  For the last two years I generally stayed close to Yonge Street, attacking several different patisseries each time with a few repeats thrown in: in 2012 I hit up Patachou, Daniel et Daniel, La Bamboche and Petit Thuet and in 2013 I paid visits to Patisserie La Cigogne, Rahier Patisserie, and Yorkville Espresso Bar with return visits to Petit Thuet and La Bamboche.  This year I really wanted to choose either an east or west end area and swing back central so I chose to start out east and I’m so glad I did because I FINALLY made my way to J’Adore Cakes & Co. on the Danforth after all this time!

Located at 3308 Danforth Ave. in the east end of the city near between Warden and Victoria Park, J’Adore Cakes & Co. is a beautiful and sweet cake and dessert boutique and cafe specializing in cake design and all the fresh, homemade sweet treats dreams are of made of: cupcakes, donuts (owner Isabelle was a winner on Food Network’s Donut Showdown!) and macarons!  In addition, the shop serves plenty of hot drinks and panini sandwiches for the times when you need some food to round out the sweetness.  The sweet-as-pie shop is painted in pastel blue and pink-and-white stripes with bursts of sleek and modern black and white designs adorning their decorated cakes and beautiful framed watercolours of yummy desserts on the walls.  It’s a lovely space bursting with beauty and delicious things to eat.

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Macarons are $2.25 each with half a dozen coming in at $13 (tax inclusive) and a dozen at $25, also tax inclusive.  On Macaron Day, 8 macaron flavours were on deck, ripe for the picking and patrons were allowed to choose any flavour of their choice as their free one so I chose their Flavour of the Month, Apricot Ginger with chocolate drizzle!  In addition to my free macaron, I bought a dozen to take home with me (L to R): 2 each of their Yuzu, Blood Orange, Praline Crunch, Earl Grey, Guava, and Apricot Ginger.  The only two flavours I didn’t choose were the Pistachio and Peanut and it certainly wasn’t because I didn’t want to!  The peanut one sounded delicious, like a peanut butter cookie with creamy peanut butter filling or something and I’m always up for Pistachio but I wanted to try something different so I chose the flavours that were most different to me.

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Their macarons are so beautiful and colourful and yes, delicious!  They’re about the size of a typical macaron (comparable to an Oreo cookie) and their fillings are mouthwateringly yummy.  While I didn’t try all 6 flavours (remember I took these home for my family with the intent of sharing – I had to keep my word and save some for them!) I did try their Yuzu (the bright yellow with black sesame seeds), Guava (the lovely pinky-coral one), and Apricot Ginger with chocolate drizzle and I enjoyed them all.  The fillings were light as air and so soft and creamy.  If I had to choose a favourite I’d choose Guava simply because it’s extremely true to the fruit and also because it’s very unique.  I haven’t come across another guava at any of the other patisseries thus far so it totally gets my vote!  I can’t wait to go back to J’Adore Cakes & Co. for more macarons and to try their cupcakes and donuts.  An honest-to-goodness sweet tooth like my self wouldn’t do justice if i didn’t!

Macaron Day this year was extremely special.  I got to visit a beautiful sweets boutique I had never been to before, I got to try a plethora of new flavours, and I got to enjoy the special day with my sweetheart.  And you know what else?  This Macaron Day enabled me to share my love and passion for macarons with my grandma on her birthday.  6 of those macarons were for her because I knew I’d be seeing her the next day and I wanted her to try these amazing sweets and to be a part of all the fun I had.  Because of Macaron Day, I got to give my grandma her first macaron at the tender age of 81.  And she loved it.

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J’Adore Cakes & Co. is located at 3308 Danforth Ave. between Warden Ave. and Pharmacy Ave. (west of Robinson Ave.), walking distance from Victoria Park subway station in the east end of Toronto.  They are open 5 days a week from Tuesday to Saturday (10am-6pm Tuesday-Friday and 10am-5pm Saturday).  They are closed on Mondays and only open on Sundays for consultations and appointments.  You can visit their official website at  http://www.jadorecakesco.com/, ‘Like’ them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @jadorecakesco

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Butterflies, Ooey Gooey Dulce de Leche & a Rainbow of Macarons at The Wedding Cake Shoppe!

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“Which cupcake do you want?”.  “Hmm…I really don’t think I should have one…”.  “But these are your favourites!”.  “It’s okay, you have one, I’m not going to get one”.  “But that’s why we’re here!”  Sigh.  Figures my mum would bail on me.  I look over at my dad and brother.  “Do you guys want one?”  Two head shakes respond back.  “Oh, fine!  I’ll have a cupcake all by myself!”  How disappointing that my whole fam did not join in on my cupcake fun.  My pouty huffy and puffiness did not last long though as my sweet teeth met with the thickest and gooeist of caramels and my eyes fell on the daintest of macarons in the sweetest of colours.  Cupcakes AND macarons – now THAT makes for the perfect sweet treat afternoon snack in my world!  And in a beautiful cake shop no less.  While my parents and brother sat at a little table in The Wedding Cake Shoppe watching me take photos, reposition my cupcake, reposition my macaron box, open my macaron box, take a bite of my cupcake and basically “do my thing” as my mum would say amidst sparkly butterflies, frosty gold finishes, and pastel brights, I salivated at the thought of finally sinking my teeth into The Wedding Cake Shoppe’s macarons for the first time!

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Along with an ooey, gooey Argentinian Dulce de Leche vanilla-caramel-y cupcake (oh my goodness, thickest caramel EVER!), I picked out a half dozen box of macarons ($1.85 a piece – can you believe it?!) for my family and I to share later on that day.  It’s remarkable how much more affordable Wedding Cake Shoppe’s macarons are compared to other patisseries and shops in the city.  I mean, I know we try to avoid making assumptions about people, places and things, but you have to admit, there’s no way anyone would have guessed that macarons coming from a wedding cake boutique would be less than $2 each!  But they are and the girls are always coming up with new flavours so there’s constantly something different to try.

I grabbed a mint chocolate chip (eeee!), chocolate, strawberry, mango, and 2 green teas.  While I can’t tell you which one was my favourite out of the 5 flavours because I didn’t try them all, I can tell you that they are so soft and delicate and they’re great for those who like the idea of macarons but shy away because they’re hesitant about the sweetness.  Much like Wedding Cake Shoppe’s cupcakes and buttercream, their macarons definitely err on the “I’m-not-sickly-sweet” side and they’re a real testament to the shop’s style and approach.  They don’t hide behind sugar; they simply allow flavours to shine on their own the best they can, with of course, a dash of sweet and sassy style!

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The Wedding Cake Shoppe is located at 859 College Street, just west of Ossington Ave.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays) and their weekday hours are from 11am-7pm, weekend hours from 11am-5pm.  You can check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

A Photo Spotlight on Luxurious Macaron Bites & Gourmet French Eats at Nadège Patisserie

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Nadège Patisserie is a gourmet food boutique and patisserie specializing in Parisian macarons, French pastries and cakes, and fine chocolates.  They serve two locations in Toronto: 1) 780 Queen Street West beside Trinity Bellwoods Park and 2) 1099 Yonge Street several blocks away from Summerhill subway station, where these particular photos were taken on a rainy Sunday afternoon!  They are open 7 days a week: 8am-8pm Monday to Wednesday, 8am-9pm Thursday and Friday, 8am-8pm Saturday, and 8am-7pm Sunday.

Will We Ever Meet Again? My Box of “Goodbye” Macarons From Cake Royalty Boutique, Cake Opera Co. on Eglinton West

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My beautiful box of macaron treaures

I have some bad news.

I know, how could anything concerning macarons be bad news?!  No, I didn’t drop a box and smash them.  Or come across any that I disliked.  Or lose my photos.  Nothing like that.  It’s worse.  Trust me, I was debating on making this post at all but figured it couldn’t hurt because no matter what, someone will most likely enjoy it or find it useful in some way.  If anything, I posted photos for everyone to admire and drool over!  It’s one of the reasons why I made the photo spotlight post on Cake Opera earlier in the week.  Okay, so back to the bad news.  It’s bad news when you find some of the yummiest macarons ever and find out that it will most likely be the only time you’ll ever get to eat them because the day you bought them is the last day they’ll ever be sold in their beautiful display cases.

It’s hard to say goodbye…

I don’t know what it is with my timing and luck lately!   Cake Opera has been on my mind and in my sights for months upon months and each time I passed by the boutique, I’d say, “I’ll come back” or “next time, really!”.  I finally made the commitment to visit the majestic cake and confections shop on Eglinton West last week, only to find a giant sign hanging in their front display window saying that October 13 would be their last day selling retail sweets and treats.  That October 13 would be the last day to enjoy their shortbread cookies, their petit gateaux, their cupcakes, and their macarons outside of catering events and custom orders.  That, in essence, Cake Opera was no longer going to operate as a retail bakery but instead, solely as a cake boutique specializing in custom orders, event catering, and wedding consultations.  Which means no spontaneous drop-ins for a cupcake or a box of macarons.

I cannot believe my rotten luck.

1st column on the left, top to bottom: pistachio, roasted hazelnut, vanilla orange blossom. 2nd column on the right, top to bottom: coffee, vanilla orange blossom, raspberry rose.

I mean, I know it would have been inevitable.  My going to Cake Opera earlier on in the year for their petit gateaux and macarons wouldn’t have prevented this from happening.  But I do feel awful because at least if I had visited the shop earlier, all of you would have known about it sooner and maybe would have had the chance to try them yourself.  But it’s too late now.  Sigh.

So, what’s the silver lining in all of this?  Well, this certainly promotes Cake Opera as a viable wedding and catering resource!  And just look at how absolutely gorgeous and stunning the boutique is!  It’s like walking into a space inspired by and dripping with royalty, luxury, and Marie Antoinette.  And just think, Cake Opera does custom macaron and cake table designs for special events so if you’re looking for a look that’s very artistic, classy, beautiful, and/or avant garde, their style and designs would be perfect.  I know many people who really dig the macaron trees and having them incorporated into centerpieces, sweets and buffet tables, and displays.

The macarons at Cake Opera, priced at only $2 each, are bathed in shades of red, peach, ballet slipper pink, and crisp white with luscious, creamy fillings.  Their macaron menu consists of 8 flavours: dark chocolate, dulce de leche & cinnamon, pistachio, salted caramel, vanilla orange blossom, raspberry rose, roasted hazelnut, and coffee.  On that last day of retail bliss, Cake Opera’s pastry Jessica had 5 of the 8 flavours whipped up and I helped myself to one of each with a duplicate to create my pretty box of six: pistachio, vanilla orange blossom (x2), raspberry rose, roasted hazelnut, and coffee.

Cake Opera’s macarons are so incredibly delicate and crisp on the outside and so creamy and generous in filling on the inside!  I don’t think I’ve ever had macarons with such so much amazing filling.  Every bite was truly like a bite of heaven and out of the 5 flavours that I had, hands down, the vanilla orange blossom was my be-all, end-all favourite.  You will never come across another flavour like it.  It was bright, fresh, citrusy, sweet, and creamy with vanilla.  Comparing it to a creamsicle doesn’t even do it justice.  And right behind the vanilla orange blossom would be the coffee and roasted hazelnut flavours followed by the raspberry rose which tasted like sweet and fruity floral rosewater.  These are truly exceptional macarons and while I know we can’t go into the shop to grab little boxes of them anymore, hopefully some of you will have the opportunity to try them some time in the future if you decide to consult them for an event.  Enjoy the photos!

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Cake Opera Co. is a cake boutique that brings macarons, cakes, and French pastries to life through art and design.  They are located at 1136 Eglinton Ave. West., just several blocks east of Eglinton West subway station on the north side of Eglinton Ave.