Toronto is a city that loves a good loaf of burnished bronze , crusty bread as much as a shatteringly crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside macaron. And its citizens all have their favorite bakeries for different items. This city's best are many—too many to rattle off as a top five. Instead, we offer you a list of some of our favorites, categorized by what they do best.
Buttery, flaky, with a bit of crackle on the crust and tender, not soggy or dry, in the middle. If that's your ideal croissant specimen, head to Colette Grand Cafe's bakery and order their coconut raspberry version if you've got a sweet tooth. Or stick to the classic butter version at Parkdale's The Tempered Room, where Bertrand Alépée makes them so well, you'd swear you're in Paris. If you're in North York, Dolcini by Joseph (or West Finch Bakery) offers flaky perfection under the practiced hands of Belgian patissier Bruno Elsier (his baguettes are tasty, too).
Craving the kind of amaretti that make you feel as if you're in Lombardy? Or a semolina, pine nut, rosemary and orange scented cake that takes you to nonna's table? Head to Forno Cultura on King Street and try to stop from buying out the store. Want your baked goods with a modern Italian accent? Sud Forno delivers. There's the thinly sliced fried eggplant paninis for lunch, or the weekend-only zeppole that ooze Chantilly and pastry cream, as well as amarena cherries.
Gluten Free and Vegan Goods
GF, vegan, and jonesing for a treat of your own? Head to Tori's Bakeshop in the Beach, where the iconic Canadian butter tart is brilliant, as are the doughnuts, muffins moistened with apple sauce, and the campfire corn loaf. Bonus: they're made with all-organic ingredients. In the west end, Bunners makes some of the best vegan, GF cinnamon buns you'll ever try. Come in the morning and get them hot. Or snag a Sonic cookie chock full of dried fruit, seeds, and nuts for a chewy snack.
One of the best places in the city for top notch sourdough bread loaves (try the seeded version or the baguette) is the Blackbird Baking Company in Kensington Market. Heritage, stone ground, unbleached flours (including the Canadian Red Fife wheat) make a world of difference. If you're in the Distillery District, Leslieville, the Beach or First Canadian Place, you'll find an outpost of the Brick Street Bakery, which serves toothsome loaves that get turned into fresh sandwiches (try the Boxing Day) for the lunch crowd. Eccles Cakes, and perfect, hand-held sausage pies are also sure bets.
Pretty Pastries and Macarons
Nadege Patisserie, helmed by fourth-generation French pastry chef Nadege Nourian, makes some of the city's finest. Her cassis macarons are delightful, as are the salted caramel or lemon varieties. Don't miss the Marie Antoinette, luscious edible art featuring mini macarons adorning a vanilla bean panna cotta and a maple syrup mousse. Butter Avenue delights with caramel macchiato, cream cheese passion fruit, and matcha macarons. Pick up a "Jardin Secret," crafted with light rose vanilla cream, mixed berry jelly and a soft candy wrap to keep the dessert together. Chocolate crumbles act as the jardin's earthy garden soil.
This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure