A little taste of Paris in Toronto

macaron largeI decided to start looking for good French bakeries in Toronto, starting with a small, boutique bakery that has been getting great reviews – Nadège. My friend first showed me their Rosedale location which is set up like a boutique. This is when I first tried their croissant which is really good. This time, I wanted to try their macarons. Having developed a bit of a palate for macarons while in Paris, I hope that I’ll be able to find the same sort of quality in Toronto (and the macarons at Loblaws aren’t even close). I read up on the bakery and the owner – Nadège Nourian who is a fourth generation pastry chef from France! Well, it doesn’t get any more authentic than that!

This time, I visited the original Nadège location by Trinity Bellwoods Park. This one is set up as a coffee shop/bistro so there are places where you can sit down and eat (as well as a great patio facing the park). I really liked the large window at the back of the shop that lets your see the pastry chefs working in the kitchen. It’s very similar to how the chocolate shop – Soma has their stores designed.

Okay, now for the macarons. I tried cassis (blackcurrent), vanilla, salted caramel and pistachio. Oh my goodness! They are as good as Laduree’s! And priced fairly as well ($2.20/each). There wasn’t a lot available in terms of croissants and pain au chocolat when I went (it was about an hour away from closing).  It’s best to get those sorts of things early in the day when they are just baked off. However, the sandwiches looked amazing and the prices are reasonable for the quality that you’re getting. I love it. It’s like a small bit of France in Toronto. I will definitely be going back.

Bon Voyage with Ladurée

LadureeThis morning I had to say good-bye to the Paris apartment. Madame Roux, the apartment agent, came by this morning for check out. I chipped a glass but she didn’t dock me for it. I also got her business card so if I ever want to rent the apartment again, I can contact her directly and not go through the agency omitting the third party charges. Très bien!

So, after realizing that a taxi to the Charles de Gaulle airport costs 60 euros, I opted to take Parishuttle again for 31 euros. Thing is, all their vans were booked for Sunday. C’est dommage! It looks like I’m going to have to take the RER after all.

Being a little wary with the size of my suitcase and the number of stairs there are in the metro, I checked out the route the night before. There are only 3 staircases that I’d need to get past and from there, there are conveyor belts and escalators at Chatelet/Les Halles station. I think I can do it! Once I got to the RER platform, it was all good (Note to self: Pack less and use a smaller sized suitcase next time). But at a cost of just under 10 euros to get from downtown Paris to the airport, it’s a total deal. (it took me 2 hours to get into central Paris when I took the Parishuttle because the driver had to pick up a bunch of people and then drop off a bunch of people – hence making the fare cheaper but it still cost me 31 euros and took twice as long as the RER).

Sadly I must admit, that prior to getting to the airport, I had not had the chance to go to Ladurée and try one of their famous macarons. Ladurée stores are everywhere in Paris – in department stores, at Versailles, at the airport. Yes the airport. Feeling a little peckish, I figured why not?

I sampled 3 flavours – cherry blossom, blackcurrent and salted caramel (recommended by the sales clerk). Oh my goodness! These are good! Even better than the ones I had at Georges Larnicol or Fauchon!

I went back and got a box to take back with me. And guess what, they were duty free!