The holidays are in full swing now, and thank GOODNESS. If we were to describe this year as a food metaphor (and why wouldn’t we?), then 2020 has been a long, arduous meal with marathon chewing, and nothing to wash it down. So it’s only fitting that as it comes to a close, the last few weeks should be spent indulging in the sweet spirit of the season. That’s what our Spirit of Giving campaign is all about, spreading the good cheer around like a thick layer of homemade marmalade. Ok, we’ve got our appetite back now. And what better way to kick off this final course than with a hit list of lower mainland spots for you to indulge at? Whether for yourself, buying as a gift for a friend, or going back for seconds, we’re indebted to these locales for giving us something sweet to finish the year with.
So pay these local businesses a visit, and pick up something nice to leave out on Christmas Eve. We heard a rumour that no prepackaged cookies will be accepted this year..
La Glace Ice Cream (Vancouver)
Yes. YES. We’re tempted to just continue saying yes repeatedly for this blurb, but we won’t do you like that. This little shop just shy of the Dunbar area has racked up some impressive accolades in a relatively short amount of time. Voted best ice cream in Vancouver in 2019 by The Vancouver Sun, one taste of their wares and all arguments will fall flat. Creamy doesn’t begin to describe the otherworldly texture of every scoop at La Glace, it’s more akin to velvet or a cold mousse that was whipped by a jacked-up olympian. With their holiday feature sheet listing flavours like candied chestnut, spiced gingerbread and eggnog & rum, the issue isn’t picking a flavour but how many jars you can carry.
Coconama Chocolate (North Vancouver)
One of North Van’s best-kept secrets, Coconama treats chocolate like a canvas for creativity. Their rich and flavourful cocoa offerings are like something out of Willy Wonka’s daydreams. The mixed chocolate varieties and sweet ingredients combine to make colours as bright as they are delicious. Dark raspberry, black sesame, and sweet lavender are only a few of the flavours they’ve perfected in their shop. Hailing from Japan, Chocolate Chef Chiwata brings his passion for the world’s finest tasting profiles and spices, and puts it in every bar. With the entire menu being gluten-free and nut-free (with many dairy-free options), this little spot proves that everyone is entitled to a bit of chocolate now and then.
Beaucoup Bakery (Vancouver)
If you want decadence, then Beaucoup should really be at the top of your list. A traditional French-style bakery, the tiny Kits storefront has become a community icon for anyone craving an almond croissant with just the right amount of flakiness. While you might have to wait in line, once you tuck into one of their raspberry brioche bonbons, you’ll know why you stuck with it. This year, leave your baking duties to the professionals for once. Order one of their divine Strawberry Pistachio Cakes, and be the envy of everyone on the family Zoom call.
Cedarbrook Bakery Deli & Bistro
While Cedarbrook is a fantastic deli, and bistro in its’ own right, but for us, it’s all about that bakery credential. Family-owned and operating for over 40 years now, Cedarbrook keeps Langley City sweet with all manner of sugary stylings. Donuts, cupcakes, butter horns, pastries, they’re all in the repertoire of head baker Marv. But from all his greatest hits, our favourite has to be the sublime opera bars. Equally flaky, creamy, and chocolaty, each bite is decadent bliss.
The Pie Hole (Burnaby & Vancouver)
So, Nanaimo Bar pie is a thing now, and we for one, welcome it with open arms. The Pie Hole is the name to know if ever you’re in the throws of crust cravings. Baking is a precise science that requires focus and trial and error, and we don’t recommend taking it lightly. Thankfully The Pie Hole has been at it for ten years now and has since perfected every measurement and technique. It shows in the classes they teach, their catering services, and of course, their scrumptious pies.
Luv the Grub (Surrey)
Is this cheating? You might not immediately think of homemade chutney when you think of sweets, but this is our list, and we’re making the rules around here! If ever you were skeptical about its inclusion, you need only crack a jar of their chai apple, spread it on a cracker, and wonder how you could have been so wrong. Any jar from this East Van artisan makes for a wonderful addition to any Christmas basket, and you’ll get the same satisfaction that we got at proving you were right all along.
Melo Patisserie (Vancouver)
Open until 9 pm on weekends, Melo should be your first stop for when you’ve got a little more room after dinner. Macarons, tarts and sublime coffee service, this Parisian inspired patisserie has an air of sophistication not found in other sweet tooth locales. Their ornate desserts straddle the line between art and dessert, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have any trouble making them disappear. You might feel like you’ve robbed the Louvre, but luckily with far less security.
Just a start to some of the delicious local businesses we’ll be sharing this season! There’s no better time to support some of the smaller places that give our communities character. Follow our Instagram account to catch giveaways to some of these delectable spots! Because when you buy a gift from a small business, you’re really giving twice. That extra good deed mileage will go a long way with Santa this year.