Though the Granville Island Public Market is most known for its supply of specialty ingredients, foodies can leave the details with Bon Macaron Patisserie when it comes to macarons. The boutique was opened by two talented French bakers who wanted to bring a bit of France to the Canadian west coast. The macaron, they decided, is the perfect French dessert, as they are rich, light, and decadent, with infinite flavour possibilities.
Infinite indeed – Bon Macaron has over 50 flavours to choose from, both savoury and sweet. Here are 5 macaron flavours from Granville Island you absolutely can’t miss:
It’s the exact punchy-tart peach flavour from your childhood, complete with sugar crystals on top.
If you’re visiting Bon Macaron with kids or if you love to Instagram, you can miss the dual-coloured watermelon macaron – it’s a bold bite of watermelon flavour with adorable black sesame “seeds”.
If you’re familiar with pistachio ice cream or pistachio treats, this treat will be much more nutty, earthy, and savoury than you might expect. It’s a mature and refined flavour. For a beverage pairing, visit Granville Island Tea Company across from Bon Macaron and ask for a cup of White Oolong.
White Truffle and Sea Salt
If you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to macarons, you’ve got to shock your palate with the white truffle and sea salt. Before you dig it, you’ll get the savoury scent of white truffle wafting through the air. This macaron is a must-try, especially for those who “don’t like sweets.” It’s creamy, dreamy – and with the sea salt crystals on top – said to be reminiscent of truffle fries.
Vancouver Foodie Tours is a locally-owned walking food tour company that believes that eating and drinking is the best way to experience a city. Their “Foodie Headquarters” is located on Granville Island where they host daily departures of the Granville Island Market Tour. They are Vancouver’s #1 Rated Tour TripAdvisor and a Forbes Top 9 Food Tour in the World. Learn more about Vancouver Foodie Tours at www.foodietours.ca.
Audrey Wong is the force and founder behind Living Lotus, a Vancouver company focused on satisfying your sweet tooth with dreamy desserts that have better-for-you, rawsome ingredients. Without turning on an oven, Wong is crafting an array of luscious plant-based desserts made from minimally processed whole foods that are packed with nutrients but gluten-free, vegan and devoid of chemicals, additives and refined sugar.
Uniting delicious and nutritious – as sustainably as possible – has long been a priority for Wong who has been a vegetarian for over 26 years and a vegan for five. Her mindful-eating interest turned to raw foods in 2007, inspired by Matthew Kenny’s book, Raw Food/Real World. While gluten-free and vegan foods are becoming more commonplace, Wong found few options for dessert alternatives using only whole foods.
After studying raw nutrition culinary arts, Wong made the leap to start a dessert company with a healthy, plant-based approach. Opened since 2013, Living Lotus currently serves up ganache, macaroons, candied nuts, and brownies in her regular product line. Everything is hand-made without baking and are gluten-free, vegan and soy free.
Living Lotus’ small-batch artisan products are healthy in their simplicity, combining clean raw foods to yield complex and exquisite flavours. By not baking ingredients, the desserts are also more nutrient rich. Main ingredients often include cacao powder, coconut oil, coconut shreds, coconut nectar, sprouted nuts, spices, dates, and blueberries. Every ingredient used serves a nutritional purpose and everything is certified organic, and local when possible.
Instead of refined sugar, Wong uses coconut nectar and Medjool dates as the alt-sweeteners, both are diabetic-friendly. “Coconut nectar is extracted from the blossom of the coconut palm while it is still on the tree. It is a completely sustainable sweetener. I chose to use it because it is a low glycemic sweetener. The glycemic index is how fast a food will spike your blood sugar level. Coconut nectar is 35 on the glycemic index. In comparison, white sugar is 67. In order for a food to be considered low glycemic, it needs to be rated 55 or lower,” says Wong. “Dates are high in a fibre called beta-D-glucan. This fibre slows the rate the small intestine absorbs sugar, keeping blood glucose levels even.”
Wong explains that her treats do not have any added stabilizers, gums, food additives or preservatives. “They are very clean, so you can feel good about eating them. We source the highest quality ingredients, so you are getting the best nutrients possible while still being able to have a treat. When we make the desserts, we use methods to keep the nutrition and/or boost the nutrition of the ingredients used. An example of these methods would be dehydrating or sprouting,” says Wong.
The process of sprouting nuts is time intensive, but Wong tells me it’s worth it to make them healthier. “Sprouted nuts are better for you because they are easier to digest. Sprouting gets rid of the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. These two can block nutrient absorption,” she says. To sprout nuts, she soaks them in water for 6-8 hours (depending on the variety) then they are dehydrated for 2 days. Sprouting nuts helps to boost sweetness and can improve nutrition by up to 20%.
Using coconut is also a healthy choice. According to Wong, “Coconuts have a very long list of benefits. They are high in dietary fibre, iron and healthy fats. The oil in coconuts are a medium chain fat, which means that the fat does not get stored in your body, but it gets used right away. I think it is important to mention the quality of the coconut products that we use. The coconut oil is cold pressed quickly after the coconuts have been harvested. The oil is unrefined, and unprocessed. This is done to preserve all the nutrients.”
All the recipes are developed by Wong and her deliciously healthy treats include 8 flavours of Gganache (earl grey, dark, salted, orange, chili, lavender, mint and smoked), 3 flavours of macaroons (chocolate, vanilla and blueberry) which are dehydrated to make them perfectly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, 2 flavours of candied nuts (pecans and chili lime almonds), and chocolate chai brownies using a made-in-house chai spice mix with organic spices.
Living Lotus products can be found in 25 stores in British Columbia, including Radicle Juice, Eternal Abundance, Green’s Market and Donald’s Market (New Westminster, Commercial Drive and East Hastings). Made-to-order specialty items that are not available in stores can be ordered and picked up at Wong’s facility, such as cakes, truffles, tarts, and more new creations.
For the food-curious, Wong also offers a 3-hour hands-on All Things Chocolate Workshop at her professional kitchen in Strathcona (inside Makerlabs, East Vancouver) where participants learn how to temper chocolate and make three chocolate recipes. “We deep dive into the science of chocolate, where chocolate comes from, and the health benefits of chocolate. This is a vegan and refined sugar free workshop,” says Wong.
With Living Lotus’ indulgent treats, you don’t have to skip desserts because you think they’re bad for you. Go on, be treated and be healthy!
Hillcrest Bakery is serving up something a little different these days. Owner David Moyer had to think outside the box when the 45-year-old bakery relocated due to construction in the burgeoning uptown White Rock area. What started as casual conversations with local breweries White Rock Beach Beer Company and 3 Dogs Brewing soon became a new business model: using spent grain from the brewing process at the bakery to create unique and tasty eats.
Canada’s West Coast is known for many things: scenic ocean and mountain views, hiking, biking, kayaking–pretty much every outdoorsy activity you can imagine–and craft beer. Yes, after a day on the water or in the woods, people love to grab a bite to eat and a craft beer to wash it all down with. So, is it really a surprise that a bakery would team up with some breweries to combine the two?
What is spent grain? In the brewing process, grains are added to simmering water to steep. After that step is complete, the grains are discarded, hence the term “spent grain”. Many breweries send their spent grain to farms, where it’s used to feed livestock. But this high fibre, high protein, low-carb grain can be used in other ways.
White Rock Beach Beer Company and 3 Dogs Brewing first approached Moyer to have Hillcrest provide some nibbles for their tasting rooms. “In two separate conversations with both owners over a beer,” Moyer says the brewers asked: “You know, we’ve got all these spent grains. Do you think there’s something you could do with it?”
Intrigued, Moyer did some research, found a few recipes, but then didn’t think much more of it. Before the move, Hillcrest Bakery was busy preparing, so diversifying his business was not Moyer’s priority. Fast forward a few months, however, and he realized the immense opportunity in front of him. What goes best with beer? Tasty snacks.
A little more research and Moyer was in the spent grain business. He’s now partnered with three breweries (Fuggles & Warlock is the most recent), providing food like nuts and bolts and pretzels made with spent grain. The nuts and bolts are based off of Moyer’s grandmother’s recipe. They swapped out the almonds for a spent grain chip, and voila, the perfect snack.
Before joining Hillcrest Bakery in 1988, Moyer apprenticed with a German-style bakery, so pretzels are dear to his heart. “These are spectacular pretzels,” Moyer says. “You’ve never had a pretzel that tasted this good. I guarantee it.”
Moyer receives wet grains from the three breweries. While he does use some of the grain in this format–in pizza dough, for example–he dehydrates the rest, and then mills a portion of that into flour. A question that came up early in the research and recipe development period was whether or not Moyer should be separating the grains into different beer types (like IPA, lager, and ale). Ultimately, Moyer and the brewers decided it would make most sense to separate the grain into three categories: light, medium, and dark. He uses mostly light and medium in his baking, as they provide the easiest-to-work-with flavour for pairing. Through experimentation, Moyer has found most recipes can tolerate between 10 and 20 percent spent grain flour in replacement of regular flour to create something that works–scientifically, that is.
While the brewery snacks are truly delicious, Moyer has also been using the spent grain in a variety of other products, including waffles, pizza dough, cheese sticks, chips, cookies, clusters, and three kinds of bread. The clusters come in several flavours, like hot chocolate with jalapeno, salt and pepper peanut, maple cranberry, and hazelnut with coriander and cumin. Four flavours with four beers, anyone? It’s the perfect flight.
Look for Hillcrest Bakery’s spent grain products at farmers markets, beer festivals, and the following locations:
You don’t always need wheat to stay sweet, and Cloud 9 specialty bakery owner Ray Porelatto knows it to be true. His gluten-free company started baking up treats for those with a taste for the toothsome in 2008, becoming a pioneer in wheat-free baking.
Nearly 10 years later, the gluten-free movement is more of a lifestyle than a craze, and the New Westminster bakery and test kitchen’s popularity can attest to that.
The delicious downtown haunt plays storefront to their wildly popular baking brand, serving up cupcakes, scones, buns, breads and more. That’s not to mention the baking mixes and custom-ordered cakes that can be purchased in the shop too.
In the back of the shop is the test kitchen, where you can find your cupcakes being created or any other combination of the mad science of sweets.
And just how has this speciality bakery kept alive after all these years? The bakery’s founder might have a few insights.
“More than 30 per cent of Canadians are said to have gluten intolerance in varying degrees,” Porelatto said in an interview at the 2012 Gluten-Free Expo in Vancouver. “The appetite for the market is big.”
Porelatto bit into the baking industry with his marshmallows: a treat that, by nature, is gluten-free. As more and more people asked him for more and more products, he began to create sweets, treats, and baking mixes beyond those delicious, fluffy morsels.
Today, you can pick up a loaf of bread, treat yourself to a six pack of jalapeno cheese buns, or order a dozen peanut butter and maple cupcakes (with adorable marzipan bees resting on top). Right now, autumn worshippers are in luck – they carry everything from pumpkin spice donuts to pumpkin cheesecake squares. With Christmas on the way, they’ll be hawking everything from classic fruitcakes to mint Nanaimo bars.
All year round, you can snag a bag of the bakery’s gluten-free flour to take home and test for yourself.
“My mom and I, who have a bakery background, went through vigorous testing: Over 2000 combinations over the course of a year down to the single gram to come up with our baking mix, which is a cup-for-cup replacement for wheat flour in any product,” Porelatto divulged.
You can find the bakery’s All Purpose Baking Mix — made of cornstarch, potato starch, rice flour, buckwheat, tapioca flour and xantham gum — at the storefront, online, and at commercial retailers such as Costco.
“One of the major factors in our flour that makes us different from anybody else is that we have buckwheat flour, which has 16 per cent fibre per serving,” Porelatto said, noting his goods’ nutritional value. “In anything that you make with our flour, you’ll get your daily amount of fibre.”
Nutritional, sweet, gluten-free and full of options, there’s one aspect of Cloud 9 specialty bakery that stands out among the rest.
“One of our catch phrases is there’s no compromise in taste and texture,” the owner said. Speaking for the other 70% of the population who doesn’t need to be gluten-free, it’s the mouth-watering goodness that keeps the Royal Avenue spot packed with goodie-loving guests.
Who doesn’t want to consume their weight in baked goods? This list of delicious, must-visit bakeries will make you want to throw out your diet, even if just for one day. Go ahead and indulge – try out these six bakeries – three Asian bakeries and three European/North American ones, all located in sunny Richmond, BC.
Lido Restaurant 4231 Hazelbridge Way
Apparently, pineapple buns are a really big deal around here. Ask just about anyone who has lived in Richmond for any substantial period of time and, assuming that this person is reasonably up to snuff on Hong Kong style bakeries, they’ll tell you that Lido is king of the pineapple bun. Trays of these buns are brought out every 15 minutes, all day long. Bite into a deliciously fresh, hot bun with a slab of butter in the middle and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Bring cash, as Lido is a cash-only establishment.
Kam Do Bakery 6211 No. 3 Road
Conveniently located just across the street from the Brighouse Canada Line SkyTrain station, Kam Do is the one stop shop for many commuters to grab a quick bite to eat. Instead of displaying their baked goods behind a glass counter, the majority of products at Kam Do are on self-serve shelves; grab a tray and a pair of tongs, and load up on an endless variety of sweet and savoury buns. Top tip: bring cash and, as with most bakeries – getting six or more items will save you the tax on baked goods!
New Town Bakery 6360 No. 3 Road
Located just steps away from the Brighouse Canada Line train station is a more hidden, hole-in-the-wall style bakery that serves more than baked goods: they also serve steamed baos, or steamed buns. With three locations in Metro Vancouver (Surrey, Vancouver’s Chinatown and Richmond), New Town Bakery offers thirteen different varieties of steamed baos, which hungry customers will often order by the dozen. Our top pick here would be the vegetable bao (pictured), but you really can’t go wrong with any choice here!
European/North American Bakeries
The Diplomat Bakery 6168 London Road
When you walk into this traditional European bakery, you’ll be intoxicated by the aroma of freshly baked pastries, cakes and cookies as well as freshly-brewed coffee. Pastry chef and co-owner Gerald Stenson honed his pastry skills through years of working all over the world, giving him a wealth of knowledge about different cultures, cuisines and pastry-making techniques and flavours. Customers come for their favourite cakes such as the tiramisu, triple chocolate mousse cake, and the titular favourite, the Diplomat Cake (regular or chocolate flaky puff pastry, vanilla butter cream, vanilla sponge cake). One forkful of their cakes and you will be an immediate Diplomat Bakery convert!
Damien’s Belgian Waffles 3891 Chatham Street
Owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Philippe Leroux and Miho, the specialty at this shop are Liege waffles. Originating from the town of Liege, these waffles are a popular street snack throughout Belgium. Damien’s waffles have chunks of pearl sugar baked right in it and are made with real butter and honey. In addition to the original flavour, they also offer caramel, matcha, yuzu (Japanese citrus), banana chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and cinnamon. Enjoy one of their all-day breakfast waffles with whipped cream, strawberries and maple syrup, or try one of their savoury ones!
Steveston Bakery 12251 No. 1 Road
A Steveston village institution, Steveston Bakery has been serving customers their delicious baked goods since 1989. While you have to try their breads and cakes, (their carrot cake is a must!), they also serve soups, salads and sandwiches made with fresh bread for lunch. Owned and operated by a husband-and-wife team, both Hermant and Bimia Rao were born in Fiji and wanted to share their love for breads, homemade soups and desserts at their shop. Be sure to try one of their hot-from-the-oven pies!
Seriously. Just when I’d given up on finding gluten-free baked goods that were remotely close to the real thing, the skies parted and along came Pikanik Bakery.
I was diagnosed with celiac disease (which is a serious gluten allergy) not long ago, and naturally as a food writer and having eaten gluten all my life, my quest for bread that didn’t have the texture of a dry, sandy sponge was all too real. (You don’t know what you’re missing until you can’t eat it anymore!) And I miss great, chewy-textured bread in a sandwich. And real pizza. And pie crust that isn’t made entirely of nuts – you get the picture.
Pikanik is a dedicated gluten-free and allergen-safe bakery based in South Surrey, that also happen to be nut and dairy free and offers vegan options too. Best part? They deliver.
Order a minimum of $30 online, and they’ll deliver (for an extra $10) right to your hotel, home or office all over Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Since most gluten-free products freeze well, you can stock up and never be out of burger buns for an impromptu BBQ. Or just simple toast for breakfast. Or cupcakes. Because, of course you need cupcakes.
Joanna Schultz is owner of the award-winning Pikanik Bakery, open since 2012, and is clearly dedicated to delicious.
Burnaby’s constantly evolving Metrotown just got a little French and we couldn’t be more excited. Paris-trained Chef Elena Krasnova opened her first standalone shop, “Mon Paris Pâtisserie” and that means delicious pastries, café au lait, and much more.
The 1000 square foot space has a pretty modern, bright Parisian vibe with an open-concept kitchen, and intimate bistro-style seating (plus a patio space will open this spring). Republica Coffee Roasters is the café of choice, plus specialty teas, traditional French pastries, and Cacao Barry chocolate confections are served.
Chef Krasnova trained at the famed Ferrandie Ecole de Gastronomie in Paris, and uses only the best local and international ingredients to create classic French desserts like the ‘Opera’ (intense coffee flavours melded with moist dark chocolate mousse), macarons, plus wedding and special occasion cakes.
Feeling like trying your own hand at French deliciousness? We say oui! And with pastry and chocolate making classes scheduled on a regular basis, we suggest you sign up on the website, where a calendar of events is posted.
Open Tuesday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and on Saturday from 8am to 5pm.
Wander through old growth forest, over streams and brooks, and you’ll find the perfect picnic place on Vancouver’s North Shore. The moderate Quarry Rock hike in Deep Cove leads to a rocky bluff with clear views of the water, mountains, and cityscapes, and is accessible year-round.
All hikes require energy but don’t worry. This dockside town has plenty of portable portions to fuel your adventure. Stock your snack pack at these charming, locally owned businesses:
Local, organic, gluten free, and vegan. Experience the goodness in good taste at this hybrid market/cafe. Also, you’ll find a mini farmer’s market and local craft shop out back to get some groceries and gifts for the road.
Stop by for an urban European cafe experience that sources and serves local food, including beer on tap and fancy coffee. Oh, and get a picture with their bear outside (seeing one on the trail is rare).
Take a short hike out of the downtown and explore the North Shore’s food scene. After completing the Quarry Rock rainforest trail, you may have a hard time deciding which you savoured more: the food or the view.
Either way, make sure you bring some snacks home for your friends or they might send you our on another hike.
In Coquitlam’s city centre, Glen Drive is evolving into a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. There are several Pho, sushi, and waffle stores – and there is a wealth of hidden Persian and Iranian gems.
I found myself drawn to The High Street and stopped in at the Urban Gate Bar and Grill for some dinner, and was surprised to find a traditional Iranian/Persian Market attached to the restaurant. The scents of the sweets were enticing as I sat down to order. I asked my server to recommend a traditional Iranian meal and she instantly pointed out her favorite on the menu; Jujeh. This is a classic kebab of chicken, marinated in lemon, yogurt and saffron. The meal also comes with a small salad, barbecue Roma tomato, lemon, onion and saffron rice. The combination of the flavors was delicious but I was won over by the in-house dressing on the small side salad. It’s garlicky, creamy and so popular that you can purchase a container to take home. The market is a treat to wander through with a butcher, bakery and fresh produce, along with assorted imported Persian spices and breads.
After dinner I headed back to Glen Drive and stopped in at Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts. I was met by Amir Hosseini, who led me on a tour of the store. Locals may be familiar with this family run business; Amir’s father Ayoub started with his first store in 2009 in North Vancouver. With over 30 years of roasting experience, Ayoub is considered a “master roaster.” Now, the family has several locations throughout the Lower Mainland, all run by trained roasters and their families.
The Coquitlam location opened in 2013 and is managed by master roaster, Ray Rostami, and his family. It’s a simple but impressive space. Large, silver urns are filled with nuts, dried berries, figs, dates, veggie and beet chips. It’s clean and open but feels as if you’re in a posh, open air market. While Amir and I chatted, he offered me several samples of dried fruits and nuts. The cashews, almonds and pistachios are imported from California raw and then roasted in-house. There are several different spice mixtures used in the roasting, sourced from the best areas native to the spice, so the quality is very high-end. Every morning the master roaster tosses the nuts with a spice mixture, roasts them and then tosses them again with a little bit of lemon/lime juice and the spice. The result is the freshest product, available everyday.
I sampled several different kinds of nuts and spice combinations but my surprise favorite was the traditional lime and saffron mix on cashews. Delicious! If fruit is your thing, try the dried blueberries, cranberries and cherries sourced and dried at local farms in the lower mainland. All of their fruits and nuts are sold by weight and you are encouraged to bring in your own containers. Ayoub’s also carries BC honey from Armstrong, organic peanut butter and they offer gift boxes of nuts and Turkish delight. The Turkish delight is the best available, flown in from Turkey within 24 hours of ordering. Like Amir says, the best Turkish delight comes from Turkey, don’t mess with perfection!
Leaving Ayoub’s with a bag of lime and saffron cashews (still warm!) I decided I’d like to take home a sampling of sweets. A friend recommended I try Minoo Bakery and Pastry for traditional Iranian cookies.
Heading west along Glen Drive, I found one of the original strip malls of Coquitlam’s city centre, at 2918 Glen Drive. Here there is another, small Persian grocery where you can also purchase imported items such as rose water, but beside the grocery is the Minoo Bakery and Pastry. Two long display cases are stuffed full of treats and the bakery is deliciously scented with sweet coconut, walnuts and pistachios. I chose a small sampling of traditional Iranian deserts; shirini e papioni (bow tie pastry), chickpea cookies, naan berenji (rose water flavored), potica (nut roll), shirini e zaban puff pastry and coconut macaroons. What a wonderful way to end my evening, exploring the older parts of Coquitlam’s city centre and the shiny new High Street, in search of a different cultural, culinary experience.
Urban Gate Bar and Grill
102 – 1158 The High St, Coquitlam