Food and Food: Edmonton06 Oct 2009 12:09 pm

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.

duchess bake shop edmonton

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 bake shop 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.

duchess bake shop edmonton

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.

duchess bake shop edmonton

duchess bake shop edmonton

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.

duchess bake shop edmonton

$1.50 for a slightly smaller than average croissant. But bursting with above average flakiness and flavour. Very buttery and tender.

duchess bake shop edmonton

duchess bake shop edmonton

$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.

duchess bake shop edmonton

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
10720-124 Street
New hours as of October 25, 2009
Monday + Tuesday, Holidays: Closed
Wednesday: 9-6
Thursday + Friday: 9-8
Saturday 10-6
Sunday 10-5

My advice: get there early.

12 Responses to “Duchess Bake Shop, Edmonton”

  1. on 06 Oct 2009 at 12:22 pm Amy

    I’m sold, Kelly. I will propose a road trip to my office cronies very soon. (Not today, due to severe wind warning, but soon). :o)

  2. on 06 Oct 2009 at 8:50 pm A Canadian Foodie

    Fantastic! Thank you for the news… I actually thought of blogging about MY thrill of finding FRENCH MACARONS in the freezer section of COSTCO Sunday. It is true. $17.00 for 32 tiny little ones, but the closest I had come to them since being in San Francisco in August – and though those ones were yummy, they were nothing like the ones in Paris! You have made them? Really? I have tried a thousand times. Will you teach me? Please? This is not a rhetorical request. I really mean it. I am so motivated to learn how to make these, it isn’t even funny.
    I am also as excited as you are to know they have finally arrived in Edmonton, and do look lovely. Please answer me.
    Desperately yours,
    Valerie

  3. on 06 Oct 2009 at 10:18 pm bruleeblog

    Thank you thank you thank you for sharing on Chowhound! 🙂

  4. on 07 Oct 2009 at 11:30 am Justin Jackson

    The owners (Garner and Giselle) are friends of mine: amazing people with a knack for creating delicious treats. Great review!

  5. on 07 Oct 2009 at 12:54 pm Kelly

    I returned today folks. A bit later in the morning, and the glass cases were not quite as full. I hope due to a busy morning!

    Picked up some croissants filled with deli meats, Bocconcini cheese and ripe tomatoes. A nice treat for a grey day.

    Macarons today were salted caramel and Valrhona chocolate, so I could not resist. Was very interested in the Duchess cake, as well.

    Duchess, you made my week brighter!

    Valerie:
    I am by no means an expert in the macaron field, as I have only made them once. It took me a long time to work up the courage to make them, but when all was said and done: not as hard as I thought. I can email you some tips, but most of what I found was in my post about it, here:
    http://kelly.cybr.org/archives/2009/03/20/blood-orange-macarons/

    I think the tricks are having a decent oven (ie: I can only make these at my parent’s house, my oven is crap), electric beater/stand mixer and scale to weigh the ingredients.

    I am still very intrigued by the Costco ones and may swing by today. I love a great number of foods from that place, and will definitely give them a try. Less labour intensive than making them yourself, and less expensive than buying. Will report back!

  6. on 07 Oct 2009 at 8:01 pm Sophie

    Awesome article I’ll be posting =:)

  7. on 08 Oct 2009 at 4:47 pm Yumiko

    Thanks for the great review! The owners are friends of mine and I had been looking forward to seeing their shop so much. I know their macarons and croissants (and anything they make actually) are EXCELLENT so Edmonton is lucky to have them! I wish I could come by too! (I’m in Tokyo.)

  8. on 09 Oct 2009 at 9:42 am Kate Schutz

    Thank you for your support of a new and local business. I am honored to know the owners and their incredible baking team and Duchess is truly a labour of love.

  9. on 09 Oct 2009 at 3:36 pm The Celiac Husband

    Great packaging is half the sale.

  10. on 15 Nov 2009 at 1:09 am Ron D.

    Welcome to the neighbourhood. I think the high levels of demand will continue so hopefully the owners consider expanding their staff so that they can keep the display case a little fuller.

    Its fantastic to see how strong the demand has been.

  11. on 16 Nov 2009 at 6:41 pm Kelly

    I know! It makes me so happy. I hope people who can only make it later in the day do not give up. Eventually things will normalize and they’ll find their groove and there will be croissants for all.

  12. on 25 Apr 2010 at 9:29 pm Joanie

    Absolutely fab…great food, great atmosphere, what a delight….