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.
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.