Thursday, December 10, 2009

Welcome to the Neighbourhood: La Bamboche

Last week marked the opening of the long anticipated La Bamboche on Avenue Road. The patisserie's first location at 4 Manor Rd. has been open for just over four years, enough time to garner them both critical acclaim as well as build a strong relationship with the community.

La Bamboche has been named by Toronto Life as Toronto's best macaron. Have I made a spelling error? No, these are not the coconut based macaroons that most of you may be familiar with. These delicate little confections have a light crisp exterior made of meringue and almond powder, and their soft interior is due to silky buttercream or chocolate ganache. To top it all off, the macarons come in an array of beautiful pastels. Sound incredible? It gets better, macarons come in multiple flavours, everything from Strawberry-Balsamic to Lavender, as well as more traditional flavours like Raspberry and Pistachio. The shop always has twelve different flavours, adding new flavours at least every month. Well-traveled customers have reveled in the striking resemblance in both taste and appearance between the macarons at La Bamboche and those found in the best patisseries in France.

Beyond their beautiful macarons, La Bamboche also has an impressive array of cakes, all created and made on site by pastry chef Stephen Nason and his creative team. Nason was trained in Japan by a French pastry chef, allowing him to merge the two styles to create truly unique and innovative products. Unlike many high-end pastry shops that boast beautiful cakes, yet are lacking when it comes to taste, La Bamboche's cakes are both gorgeous as well as delicious! Many of their cakes feature a light mousse in flavours such as Strawberry Lavender, Green Tea and Black Sesame, and Earl Grey and Cassis. One of La Bamboche's signature cakes, and perhaps their most striking, is the Paquet Cake. Sold in numerous flavours, the Paquet features layers of light mouse and moist genoise wrapped in a soft cookie, kind of like an amazing, delicious gift, wrapped in cookie wrapping paper! Pair your pastry with a mug of organic Van Houtte coffee or espresso, or a pot of organic tea.

For those customers looking to La Bamboche for breakfast or lunch items, their perfectly flaky and buttery croissant should do the trick! La Bamboche has six different types of croissant, all baked fresh daily. There are sweet croissants like Chocolate, Almond, and Almond and Chocolate, as well as savory croissants like Ham and Cheese and Spinach and Cheese. The shop also has seasonal danishes, made with the same croissant pastry and filled with sweet custard and seasonal fruits (go in now for peach and blackberry!). There is also an array of fresh sandwiches served on either fresh croissant or choux pastry with fillings such as Turkey and Brie, Roast Beef and Brie, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, and Vegetarian and Brie. The sandwiches rest right next to the mouth watering savory quiches. The quiche crust is made with the same flaky croissant pastry, and filled with different flavours such as Shitake Mushrooms and Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onion Pancetta and Swiss, Leeks and Swiss Cheese, and Sundried Tomato Spinach and Swiss Cheese.

As some of you may know, I booked a trip to Cuba a few months ago (I leave Saturday super super early in the morning!!), so in order to pay off my trip, I needed to get a job....Dear readers, the next time you want to pay off a trip to Cuba, do not work in a pastry shop, work at a gym! I think you know what I'm getting at here. I am very proud to say that I am apart of the La Bamboche team, working behind the counter at their Avenue Road shop. In just a few short weeks, I have tried almost every item in the know...for business purposes. Although working at La Bamboche has abolished any plans I had of eating healthy before Cuba, I don't regret trying anything as each and every item left me wanting more! So after trying almost everything in sight in the shop (I've been on one hell of a sugar high for about 3 weeks now!), I think I'm able to judge the best, or at least my favourite, items in the shop. My absolute favourite items at La Bamboche are:

Tarte Au Citron
The delicious lemon tart I have ever tasted, and I love lemon tarts! The perfect combination of both sweet and tart with an amazing shortbread crust.

Earl Grey and Cassis Cake
Such an interesting flavour combination that left me wondering why I had never combined the two flavours before. Layers of earl grey and black current mousse on a thin layer of chocolate genoise. This cake is also one of the most beautiful cakes in the showcase.

Ham and Cheese Croissant
Oh so very decadent, yet impossible to resist! This ham and swiss cheese croissant is just incredible! La Bamboche's ham and cheese croissant is different from any others that I have tasted due to a layer of silky bearnaise sauce snuggled between the savory ham and creamy swiss cheese.

There are a few macarons that stand out as my favourites. The Pistachio, Strawberry-Balsamic, and Raspberry macarons are just out of this world! These three macarons taste incredible and are some of the prettiest ones in the showcase! You must try them!

The second location of La Bamboche on Avenue Road is sure to be a great success! The new store has a beautiful design and allows for more seating, not to mention it is filling a major void in the neighborhood (boy did we ever need a great pastry shop!). With their dedication to quality and perfection, you're sure to fall in love with La Bamboche just as I did!

Note: The above pictures are from La Bamboche's Manor Road location. Pictures from the new Avenue Road location coming soon!

La Bamboche is located at 1712 Avenue Road and 4 Manor Road East.