Lemon Vanilla Panna Cotta & Lemon Macarons: The Gourmet Delights at Daniel et Daniel in Cabbagetown – Part II

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Have you ever had the experience of making a fabulous foodie discovery only to reluctantly tear yourself away because you found it after you already ate?  Or because the weather wasn’t nice and you couldn’t be bothered to take your food to go in the rain?  Or because you already had other plans in mind and you were too stubborn at the time to change them for something else?  I’ve had all three experiences. 

Daniel et Daniel has been mocking me for a year.  I feel kind of foolish that it’s taken me this long to eat their delicious desserts because it was a little over a year ago (last March to be exact) that my hun and I found this Cabbagetown gem.  For one reason or another, we just never got around to getting food from here.  Last month though, I dug my heels into the ground and finally went back for those desserts that I had been longingly staring at through the shop window for ages and I am SO glad I did.   You stare at their glass displays of beautiful tarts, pies, macarons, chocolate truffles and bark and a little squeal slips out because you can’t believe what’s in front of you.  The desserts here are delicious and sweet and decadent and everything your sweet tooth could possibly desire.

Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop and event catering business that serves not only desserts, but plenty of gourmet jams and jellies, chocolates, sauces, vinegars and oils, and antipasto among other things.  Along with desserts and great pantry style items, they have a fantastic selection of lunch foods that are priced by weight – think stuffed peppers, salmon, chicken parmesan and lots of cold picnic salads like tomato and bocconcini; asparagus, snap pea, and cherry tomatoes; long string green beans and mushrooms; beets and orange fennel; and chick pea and corn salad.  It’s a gourmet food, grab-and-go kind of shop.  It’s SO perfect if you’re looking to have a picnic at Riverdale Park West which isn’t too far of a walk from the shop – just several blocks east of Parliament St. which you can get to if you walking on Carlton St.

There were so many amazing desserts staring back at me.  I can never resist a lemon dessert though, so I bought – get this – a lemon vanilla panna cotta (!!!) and a lemon cream macaron!!!  OH.MY.GOD.  The lemon loving part of me was going berserk!  In a nutshell, panna cotta is a firm, Italian gelatin dessert that is made with milk, cream, sugar, and gelatin and is similar to a custard and pudding.  Panna cottas are incredibly soft, silky, and smooth and the lemon vanilla panna cotta was delicious in both taste and texture.  

The body of the panna cotta  was so nice and firm yet it still had that beautiful milky silkiness to it which was important.  Too jelly means too delicate and it’ll up end flopping around and losing its shape (basically making a mess of itself).  Too firm and it’ll end up tasting like a flavourless blob.  To me, the texture was great because the firmness was just right and it allowed the lemon glaze and citrus peel to stand out without overwhelming the body of the dessert.  It had a delicious lemon glaze on top along with a scrumptious piece of soft, chewy, lemony candied citrus peel that was all sorts of amazing.  It had that amazing mix of sour and sweet and ugh, it was just SO good.  Not to mention the price was fab: $3.  So worth it and I am whimpering for another one just looking back the photos now. 

And the macaron!  Oh man.  Thumbs up.  There are a number of places around the city that make the beautiful, delicate French macarons, including Petit Thuet (which I blogged about and liked), Nadège Patisserie (with locations on West Queen West and most recently, Rosedale), Pusateri’s, and Whole Foods Market.  I’ll tell you why I enjoyed the lemon macaron from Daniel et Daniel so much and why I would recommend their macarons.  The lemon flavour was absolutely phenomenal.  Even though lemon is a single fruit flavour, it’s often a very difficult  flavour to execute well.  Often times it comes across too strong in its sourness and other times, it’s tamed too much by sugar and it ends up being sickly sweet and artificial.  Their lemon macarons have the PERFECT balance of sour and sweet.  Creamy, fruity, tart, and sweet, they nail the lemon flavour and the macaron itself is delicate, airy, and crispy without being too chewy. 

Another reason why the macarons are great?  The price.  All other places charge around $2 for their macarons.  Daniel et Daniel charges $1.50.  And if you’re trying several at a time, it makes a BIG difference, especially when others are the same size.  With the exception of Whole Foods Market who makes theirs a little bit bigger for $2, I would totally give everyone the push to try the macarons here.  Obviously I’m only taking into consideration the traditional French-style macaron and not the jumbo-sized ones at Metro supermarkets.  I LOVED the lemon macaron and could honestly eat a dozen of them.  I am so incredibly happy with the desserts I got from here and I can’t wait to try some of the more savoury stuff.  And you know, some chocolate and dried fruit bark.  But that’s for another time.  Enjoy the scrap pages and photos!

*****

Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop in Cabbagetown that does event catering.  They are located at 248 Carlton St. near the intersection of Carlton and Parliament St.

Scrapbooking materials used: beige and buttercup yellow cardstock (Recollections); patterned cardstock (The Sweet Stack by DCWV); pink and lime green argyle patterned paper (Making Memories); lime green daisy vine felt borders (Forever in Time Scrapbook Collection); alphabet stickers (Make It Special Crafts); black and floral epoxy stickers (Horizon Group).

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