Driving down 124 Street on Sunday, scouting new hair salons, I spied something out of the corner of my eye. A new store, perhaps? Black awning, letters spelling “bake shop” … it seemed a dream.
I pulled a u-turn, pulled to the side of the road and sat in front of the storefront, in shock. A new bakery. In MY neighbourhood! ADVERTISING MACARONS NO LESS.
I have been waiting for a French patisserie in Edmonton for some time. Don’t get me wrong, La Favorite is nice, but they really miss the huge array of sweet treats the French have to offer. I’ve been longing for a place like Nectar, in Calgary. Fresh meringues, madeleines and croissants. I’ve had even more dreams of opening such a place my self.
Well, my wait is over.
Duchess Bake Shop, “open four days,” according to the clerk, has arrived in Edmonton.
Duchess features a huge array of baked treats with French flavours and lovely branding and packaging. “We bake something between 60 and 70 varieties,” the clerk said when I asked how big of a baking roster they kept. 60 things are not baked every single day, mind you, but look for a rotating selection. They also serve up coffee and teas.
There were cherry pies, large and miniature, savoury and sweet shortbreads dressed in pistachios, lavender and almonds, pain au chocolat, croissants, and freshly made items coming out of the kitchen, even as I paid.
But the most exciting thing: macarons, in Edmonton. I sighed with pleasure.
They are a steep $1.25 each (and tiny, dainty little things they are indeed) but considering the labour (dear lord, the labour, as I found out when I made them) and high quality ingredients worth it, in my opinion. I would gladly fork over the dough for one of these over a slab of dry, gummy Starbucks loaf, and be far more satisfied.
Lavender, lemon and pistachio featured on this day.
And so, in the end, I came out with a golden box full of macarons (which are delectable; crispy, sweet and airy), a pain au chocolat, croissant and a bag of rosemary shortbread, which I shared around the office I was so excited about this place.
$1.50 for a slightly smaller than average croissant. But bursting with above average flakiness and flavour. Very buttery and tender.
$1.25 each for a macaron. I can’t say enough about how great these are. If you have never had one before, you should get thee to the Duchess bakery! Who knew something that was primarily egg white and icing sugar based would be this delicious?
Oh, that’s right. The French.
I hope they do a fennel one like the ones I ate at Guy Savoy.
The bag of rosemary shortbread, $4.95. Buttery, sweet and a little bit savoury from the rosemary. Perfect with tea. I’m also so into their packaging. Some consider it frivolous, but for things like this which make great gifts (even for yourself) I think it is important. After all, do we not eat with our eyes, first?
I was so excited I did not pause to photograph the hours (update: added hours below). But I will tomorrow, when I most certainly will return. I’m so pleased they have moved into the neighbourhood.
Duchess Bake Shop
New hours as of October 25, 2009
Monday + Tuesday, Holidays: Closed
Thursday + Friday: 9-8
My advice: get there early.