Bright Green Chocolate Candy Cane Macarons & Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies – Bobbette & Belle, Part I

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If there was a pastry shop, cupcakery, and macaron heaven fit for a princess here in Toronto, Bobbette & Belle would be it!  Ever since I found out about Allyson Bobbitt and Sarah Bell’s queendom of sweets from Where Toronto magazine months and months ago, I’ve been envisioning pastel colours and chocolate cookie biscuits and macarons and pastries and beautiful shop that would render me speechless.  Or at the very least a hushed, “Oooo” and “ahhh”.  And “Oooo” and “ahhh” I did.  After passing by Bobbette & Belle on the Queen streetcar more times than I can count on the fingers of my hand, I made the trip especially for the holidays and I squealed as I stepped inside the beautiful shop.  Wreaths!  A Christmas tree!  Poinsettias!  Edible Christmas gifts!  HOT CHOCOLATE, CUPCAKES, AND MACARONS.  I wanted to sprinkle flower petals while pirouetting around the lovely shop.  Oh, this was going to be fun.

Located in Leslieville, Bobbette & Belle’s pastry shop is beautiful, plain and simple.  The spacious interior oozes romantic, floral, Victorian, cozy, and modern rustic with its plush arm chairs, coffee table, couch, long wooden bench tables, large wooden communal table (perfect for cake order consultations!), stools, and shelves lined with sweets, gifts, and B&B’s gorgeous decorated cakes and wedding cakes.  The space is illuminated by natural light streaming in from the front and side windows and you feel like you’ve walked into a pretty in pink music box fairy land with dainty, feminine framed art on the walls.

Don’t be completely fooled by the flowers and bows though; behind the sweetness lies a subtle touch of fun attitude.  Nothing says “we are bakers and pastry chefs, we love sweets, and we’re damn proud of it!” like the framed criss-crossed whipping whisks!  Aside from those framed whisks, my favourite thing in the shop is a giant framed print listing some of Toronto’s popular neighbourhoods in big block letters on a turquoise background.  It’s bold, it’s punchy, and it makes it known that Toronto is home to B&B.

I know many have been to Bobbette & Belle and I know a number of people who’ve done plenty of press on them, featuring photos of cupcakes, macarons, and other sweet confections.  I never feel contrived though when writing about such popular places such as Bobbette & Belle because the perspective and feeling will always be different.  It doesn’t matter how many people know about them, how many times they’ve been showcased in media outlets, or how many photos I see of their products.  Everyone’s experience is their own and that’s why I don’t mind writing about places that probably seem like old-hat to others because what’s familiar and known to some is exciting and new for me, and vice versa.  Things continously and consistently change and even though I feel like I’m late to the party half the time, I feel like this blog is my way of seeing things with fresh eyes and for Christmas, I finally got to see B&B up close and in person.

Although French macarons are at the heart of Bobbette & Belle’s creation and birth, the shop specializes in professionally decorated cakes and wedding cakes, cupcakes, cookies, meringues, tarts, whoopie pies, and plenty of sweet pastries.  Along one wall you’ll find B&B’s retail section where you can pick up already packaged yummies and gifts including meringues (candy cane ones for the holidays!), marshmallows, cookies, and more.  Their selection of sweet delights include creamy buttercream frosted cupcakes ($2.95) in flavours such as mango passionfruit, apple spice, espresso, pumpkin, and lemon among others. 

They also had cake stands filled with blueberry scones ($3.25), pumpkin tarts ($3.75), toffee pudding ($3.75), Christmas shortbread cookies ($1.00 for small ones, $1.25 for large ones), chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies, vanilla raspberry whoopie pies, custards, tarts, and Christmas cupcakes for holiday orders in the glass display case, and of course, macarons!  Priced at $2 a piece (which is very reasonable and average priced across the board), flavorus include milk chocolate salted caramel, gingerbread, dark chocolate hazelnut, pistachio, and my pick for the day, chocolate candy cane!

I know most of you would have expected me to inhale a cupcake because I love cupcakes and would eat them every day if the opportunity presented itself, but there’s always a time to be unpredictable.  I went against the grain and instead of a cupcake, I had me a Christmas tree shaped shortbread cookie and a bright, vibrant green chocolate candy cane macaron instead!  C’mon, Christmas themed macarons?!  I would be a fool not to introduce one of those to my sweet teeth. 

The chocolate ganache filling was wonderfully thick and fudgy and rich without being overly sweet, overly bitter, or overly anything!  If I had to compare the chocolate filling to anything, I would say it tastes like soft, fudgy brownies.  I absolutely adored the shade of green used for the candy cane flavoured meringue shells and I really appreciated the subtley in candy cane flavour.  The flavour pattern was like a gradient, where it started off subtle and then gradually became stronger as you bit closer to the center of the macaron.

It was a perfect marriage between chocolate and candy cane flavour because the macaron wasn’t overpowered with stingy peppermint and the candy cane flavour had a bit of sweetness to it that I loved.  Some people might like that breathy pepperminty feeling, but I don’t prefer it because it ends up tasting like frozen ginger mixed with mouthwash and all the dessert-like sweetness flys out the window.  And a macaron must be sweet and decadent!  Even when savoury flavours are mixed in, when you eat a macaron it has to feel like you’re eating a dessert, and it has to taste crispy on the outside and airy light just beneath the surface.  The melt-in-your-mouth aspect was bang on and that egg-shell delicacy was definitely there.  I know.  I accidentally nudged the macaron downward with my knuckle (don’t ask!) and heard an egg-shell like crack that reverberated in my ears as I gasped and quickly turned the macaron over to hide the dirty deed.  Sigh.  Anything for a pretty photo.

I have Part II for you all tomorrow and to give you a hint as to what sweet something something I’m showing off, it’s something chocolatey and toasty.  Very toasty 😉  Have a sweet one, everyone.

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Bobbette & Belle is located at 1121 Queen Street East, just east of Jones Ave.  They are open 7 days a week from 7:30am-6:30pm Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm on Saturday, and 9am-5pm on Sunday.  These are their holiday operating hours and they will be closed on the 25th, 26th, and 27th, as well as on January 1st and 2nd.  Visit their website here for product descriptions, information on orders, and photos.     

Ate by Ate’s Bits & Bites, Vol. 001

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Introducing Ate by Ate’s first edition of Bits & Bites!  Bits & Bites is a new feature I’m starting on the blog and it’s my way of letting you all know about some of the things I have in the works, kind of like a mini newsletter with updates, ideas, and future plans for the blog.  Truth be told, it’s also my way of keeping organized.  I’m a big fan of sticky notes but my collection of notes is starting to get a little ridiculous.  I’ve stuck so many on my mirror that I can barely see myself now!  Although I really enjoy the element of anticipation when I post things without necessarily announcing it first, I thought this would be a nice way of flushing out and sharing my thoughts and ideas with everyone, so let’s hop to it!

  • Ate by Ate now has a Facebook page!  Some of you may already know this if you’ve already visited, but for those who don’t, I’ve started a Facebook page that’s primarily photo gallery centric in nature.  I’ve created a gallery of all my scrapbook layouts (I’ve been uploading layout photos every day for the past week now), and I just created a cupcake gallery yesterday, showcasing my favourite cupcake photos and cupcake photography!  As time goes on, I’ll be adding more albums and doing more with the page, but for the time being, I’m sticking to post updates and photo galleries.  I have an adorable FB icon and “Like” box on my sidebar, so check it out!

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  • New series!  I looove having different types of series on the blog and I’m gearing up to start a few new ones in the near future including a Vegan Diner and Comfort Food series and some holiday themed ones.  Currently, I have the Vegetarian Sandwich series, the Farmers’ Market series, the Vegan Chili series, and most recently, the Fall Harvest series going on.

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  • Winter holidays!  We’re in the thick of November now and you know what that means: less than two months until the holidays!  I love Christmas and I look forward to this time of year every year.  I’ve had so much fun doing the Fall Harvest series that I’m hoping to start a winter one and a few holiday-themed ones.  I have plans on doing a gingerbread series and a hot chocolate series, but if anyone has other ideas, let me know and I’ll see what I can explore and get around to!

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  • Food Calendar!  If you’ve checked out November’s Food Calendar, you’ve might have noticed have long, extensive, and large it’s gotten!  I was recently asked to be a part of the Food Bloggers of Canada staff and my main job is compiling a list of foodie events for Toronto and the surrounding area, so after doing some research for the FBC, I was amazed at how much new stuff I found out!  I’m working on a way to split the Food Calendar into two parts, one that’s devoted to farmers’ markets and food and drink events, and the second focusing only on the cooking classes, demos, and seminars.   

Phew!  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do everything I want to do, but it’s fun making plans and hashing out ideas.  I hope you all enjoy this new Bits & Bites feature and I will see you all tomorrow!