The west end of the city just keeps bringing on the amazing bakeries! After a brief glimpse into the foodie and bakery scene in Roncesvalles Village and Bloor West Village, I figured it was time to give The Junction some love! I would give you all the link to the indepth Junction post I wrote in the spring, but the internet sometimes works in funny (read: aggravating) ways and my beloved Junction post magically disappeared one day, lost forever and never to be seen again. Some of might even remember it because it focused on vegetarian, vegan, and organic food in the area in addition to the history of the community and its introduction to the blog.
I can’t even tell you how exasperated I feel about this, especially considering the post was part of the official Junction community blog. I still haven’t been able to muster the brain power and heart to write the post from scratch all over again (I don’t even know how to begin to reconstruct an entire blog post from 7 months ago from memory), but one day I will because the black hole does not sit well with me!
In a nutshell, the Junction community name is quite literal: the crossing of railways, specifically of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National. Its name pays homage to the area’s deep, historical manufacturing roots in Toronto and much of this history continues to define the identity of the neighbourhood, with train graffiti art and murals on the side of buildings and Junction banners attached to lamp posts, proudly displaying images of the iconic railway tracks. There’s plenty of the food in the area, with everything from vegetarian and vegan restaurants and bakeries to coffee shops to diners and organic markets. Solero Bakery, located on Dundas West in the hubbub of the The Junction community just west of Keele Street, is such a gem.
Solero is a delicatessen, bakery, and pantry grocery shop all in one. The deli portion of the shop serves fresh cheeses and meats, the bakery boasts loaves and loaves of bread, pastries, cookies, cakes, and sweets, and the grocery section is well stocked with staples such as jarred jams, olives, antipasto, bags of coffee and tea, spices, mixes, and sweets such as candies, biscuits, wafers, chocolates, and more.
Everything about Solero screams European, especially Eastern European. It’s here that you’ll find sweets from Croatia and Serbia: KiKi toffees and fruit candies (with their signature bright coloured packaging and clown logos!), Jadro milk and cocoa wafers, Napolitanke hazelnut wafers (Croatian), and Serbiam Yo D’Oro wafers and Eurovafel wafers with hazelnut cream filling. There’s horseradish relish from Slovenia and some Western European treats from the UK, such as Jaffa cakes! I’m a huuuge fan of European cream wafers and if I had to choose between Chinese ones and European ones, the European ones would win hands down. They’re just so much more creamy and you need that in a cream wafer because otherwise, the wafer part is too dry and unappetizing to eat.
In the deli, you’ll find cold cuts (turkeys, hams, salamis, pastrami, corned beef, and roast beef among others), sausages, Polish kolbasa, and a large variety of European cheeses. Aside from different types of havarti and cheddar and a selection of gouda, provolone, brie, mozzarella, and asiago, Solero carries Danish blue cheese Rosenborg, edam Dutch cheese, kefalograviera Greek cheese, and Jarlsberg Norweigan cheese.
I’m a lover of cheese and just looking at the menu board makes me salivate. All I can think of is, “I am going to grab some bread from the bakery, get some meat and cheese slices, and slap me a sandwich!” There’s so much cheese here that I’ve never tried or even heard of and I can’t wait to get my hands and tastebuds on some fresh cheeses and deli items for sandwiches one day. Everything is priced by weight (per 100g) and their selection varies depending on their supply. If they don’t have it, they cover up the menu item listed on the menu board and leave the items they do have out in the open uncovered.
I mean it when I say I need to come back here to make me a fresh sandwich because their bakery is wonderful. They had a wall of fresh baked bread, a glass case with cakes and mini desserts, and wooden trays of pastries and cookies that included muffins, poppy seed and walnut streusels, cherry, lemon, and apple danishes, apple turnovers, chocolate croissants, broccoli and spinach pies, gingerbread man cookies, and sugar cookies with sprinkles! My favourites were the little pink sprinkled ducky and bunny cookies!
I was in awe of the prices. I couldn’t believe that there were giant loaves of rye, caraway, calabrese, French, and Italian bread for $0.75, $1.75 and $2! I know I’m not the only one who sadly sighs about rising food prices these days, so it made me so happy to see such reasonable prices for bread here and I’m so looking forward to taking my mum and my brother here someday. They love bread so much and I usually stand back and let them have their fun picking out all the bread they want because I’m pretty indifferent about it. I know they’re going to love Solero so much and as my brother said, “we’ll shop Supermarket Sweep style!” I don’t doubt that. While they’re picking out eleventy billion loaves of bread, I’ll be filling up a basket with cheese, chocolate, and wafers. I cannot wait to go back.
Solero Mediterranian Bakery is located at 3029 Dundas Street West in The Junction neighbourhood, west of Keele Street.