COVER STORY: A Baker’s Trio – The West Village is Becoming a Baker’s Haven #womeninbusiness
Veteran, Newccomers and Specialty Bakers Have Made the West Village a Baker’s Haven
As Torontonians, we know the city is not just a sprawling metropolis but a collection of diverse villages. I could write endlessly about the amazing areas that make up our city as easily as I write about food, but today I’m going to focus on just one area; The West Village bakeries!
The area is rich with bakeries—pun intended—like no other. Take a stroll with me through the West Village and meet some of the amazing people who own and operate these tantalizing shops.
First stop is Leah’s at 621 St. Clair Avenue West.
Leah Kalish is the owner/manager and sometimes baker at her self-titled shop where they specialize in biscotti and butter tarts—about 75% of which are sold wholesale. When asked what she is particularly fond of she replied, “Right now it’s got to be the Healthy Cookies.” Made with oatmeal, cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seed and bittersweet chocolate, it is easy to understand why.
The area, and specifically the Barns, has a great atmosphere according to Leah. “The development has really given us a sense of community.” Some other favourite spots in the neighbourhood include Ferro and the Rushton.
Next on our butter fueled tour is Baker and Scone at 693 St. Clair Avenue West.
Owner/founder Sandra Katsiou opened a store front as a way to offer scones and coffee to her catering clients, but when the public tasted what she was baking there was no looking back. Known locally as “The Scone Lady” Sandra explains that it’s the technique which makes her scones so special—that and the butter! “If France made scones these would be it,” she states. Besides scones she loves the Vanilla Bean Oatmeal Cookie.
Sandra has always been attracted to the area for its sense of community and made it her home about 10 years ago. It’s no surprise that many of the stores and restaurants nearby are appealing to her but Pukka, Sea Witch, and Roast get top reviews.
Baker and Scone has been a dream for more than 10 years and Sandra is grateful for the reception she has received from the locals. Something about Baker and Scone that not everyone may be aware of is her Baker Eats service. A meal-in-a-box program that is offered on Wednesday nights. It’s dropped off to your home making this service truly unique.
A stop you simply cannot miss on this decadent tour is AG Macarons at both 647 Dupont Street and 709 The Queensway.
Creative Director Anet Gesualdi owns and operates AG Macaron alongside her husband Michael. When asked what her favourite was I admit that I was tempted to drop everything and run straight over and try the Salted Caramel Macaron which she says is also her favourite to make. “The aroma of the caramel sauce is intoxicatingly sweet and delicious!”
Not only is the strong sense of community what makes the area special to Anet, but also its history. The shop she is in now was once a tailor shop owned by her husband’s grandfather. If you take a peak underneath the awning, you can still see the old sign that dates back to 1951.
She has many favourite spots in the area but gravitates towards Peaks and Rafters Interiors for their chic and sophisticated designs.
A special extra from Anet and Michael are their Macaron Making Classes at 709 The Queensway location. “It’s a fun three-hour class where students make 25 macarons from scratch to finish and take them home to enjoy!”
STACIA CARLTON is a culinary school graduate and food writer. Please visit her at bestillandeat.com where she rhapsodizes about all things food weekly.