The Danish are calling…

There’s a reason I haul myself out of the bed at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to get to the gym. It’s so that I can leave by 10:00 a.m. to get to my favourite bakery  just as the fresh Danish and morning pastries are  being put on the shelves.

Danish pastry is my guilty pleasure.  I relish nothing more than a leisurely Saturday morning drinking cappuccino and enjoying a fresh buttery pastry after my exercising is done. These are some of the spots in Toronto’s downtown core where I like my fix.

Pastry selection Pusateri's on Saturday morning
Pastry selection Pusateri’s on Saturday morning

Pusateri’s on Bay St has one of the best choice of baked goods.  Their morning pastries, in fact all their desserts and breads too, are sourced from some of the best bakeries and patisseries in Toronto.  You can find selections  from Harbord Bakery, Clafouti, Patachou to name a few.  There’s no mistaking the taste of  real butter croissants and the custard and fruit Danish is like having dessert for breakfast. Pusateri’s serves Illy coffee, a perfect pairing to anything flaky and rich.

I love prune Danish.  It’s a comfort food that not many places carry.  In fact it’s been years since I’ve seen any in grocery store, they were popular in the 60’s but not so much anymore.  The one place you can still get them is Harbord Bakery.

Scones at Harbord Bakery
Scones at Harbord Bakery

Harbord Bakery is one of the few bakeries downtown that still has that old-fashioned  feel to it.  Harbord opens early on Saturday and if you’ve never been it’s worth taking a visit, wonderful challah, cookies, great scones, Eccles cakes and many different kinds of fruit and cheese danish.  While they supply to a few grocers, their baked goods never taste manufactured or commercial, everything always looks and tastes homey. The line up on a Saturday can get pretty long and the bread and pastry go really quickly, so get there early.I believe you can also place an order by phone and have it ready.

St. Lawrence market houses several great bakeries, Carousel, Future Bakery and Stonemill Bakehouse all under one roof.  I make the rounds to all three usually buying what I think is their best item- Carousel for bread, Future  Bakery for croissants or danish.  While plenty of choices, the best danish is downstairs at Stonemill Bakery. Shelves are refilled regularly to satisfy the bread and cake lovers who are sometimes three people deep at the bins of baguettes and sweet breads and pastries.

There are some other fabulous French bakeries and cafes uptown including Rahier and Jules Cafe Patisserie which I will make a special trip for this year.

Rich pastry and prunes make up my Saturday morning cheat foods. It’s all good and justified in my head, the process of walking around the city to enjoy these, is a joyful exercise.  So, it’s all good (and delicious!).

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