Montreal’s Sweet Tooth – the dessert craze
By Alyssa De Rosa
Montreal is known for its greasy spoons, its vibrant night life, its multiculturalism and its lifestyle, but recently Montrealers are embracing something sweeter and tastier than poutine or the latest Cosmo; dessert.
What’s more intimate than sharing a slice of cheesecake with your boyfriend, husband, wife, girlfriend? Or, would you rather bite into something piping hot and gooey like an artisan donut? Whatever it may be, donut shops, pastry shops, and bakeries are booming in the city. Why? Because eating cute, fancy, different desserts is trendy, and Montreal is on the map.
At 3:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, La Cornetteria on St-Laurent boulevard just at the top of Little Italy is bustling with customers. A rare sight for any bakery or pastry at that time of day. La Cornetteria is famous for their cornetti an Italian dessert that resembles a croissant but is not quite a croissant. They are bigger, fluffier and filled with different flavours. But, this summer La Cornetteria made headlines with their cronetto, also known as the infamous cronut. The cronut made all the rage this summer, with articles coming out of New York City, expressing the popularity and deliciousness of this delectable dessert. Owner and founder Alessandro Ficca of La Cornetteria was away when the social media craze surrounding his new dessert il cronetto (cronut) began.
“Social media changed everything for us this year,” Ficca explains.
Back in 2006 when Ficca was visiting Italy, he realized that instead of greasy spoons, Italians were visiting bakeries and eating fresh cornetti from the streets after a late night partying. Since his experience, he decided he should collaborate with people he trusted most to bring fresh cornetti daily to Montreal.
This year, Ficca brought the New York cronut to our city by sampling different recipes and coming up with the perfect concoction. His cronuts were also featured in this September’s Burger Week. It is by far the best cronut in Montreal. After taking a bite into the fluffy, chewy yet crispy dessert, I realized I was in love. However, La Cornetteria is and shouldn’t be limited to its cronut creations. It originally was created to bring Montrealers a taste of Italy with their variety of cornetti; Ricotta, Nutella and Almond flavors.
When you walk into the little bakery, your eyes wander, gazing at a slew of desserts from cannolis, to cornetti, to tiramisu cakes, to homemade fresh focaccia sandwiches and salads. Looking for some of the best unique, Italian desserts? Visiting La Cornetteria is a must. The line-ups say so.
Stepping away from Italian desserts and getting into the ever so popular donut. I’m not talking about Tim Horton’s or Dunkin Donuts, but rather artisanal, original and chewy donuts. For years cupcakes have been on every food blogger and pastry chef’s radar. The Food Network also has cupcake shows and competitions featuring the famous dessert. But, I couldn’t help but notice that donuts are making a comeback, and it’s about time.
The reason? Donuts are simple, old fashion desserts but now, they come with a twist which makes them even cooler to eat and enjoy. Here are two donut shops that will have your mouth watering for days and kids begging for more:
Léché Desserts is the city’s first artisanal donut shop. Owner Josie Weitzenbauer takes the original donut recipe and reinvents it to create all natural gourmet donuts. Flavors range from cheesecake, chocolate brownie, maple, and the list goes on. Hungry yet? What makes these donuts unique from others is their shape and flavour. They aren’t your average Joe, hole in the centre, round donuts. They are high, fluffy, and filled with goodness. This renowned pastry chef has turned the donut into a must-eat dessert. With two locations in Montreal, Downtown on rue Courcelle and in Old Montreal on de la Commune, indulging into a donut is no joking matter.
Chez Boris on Park Ave is taking donuts to a whole other level. Did you ever expect to have guacamole, or smoked salmon with your donut? Russian Owner Boris Volfson is showing Montrealers how they do it in Russia. In Russia, the donuts are smaller and always freshly made, so at Chez Boris expect freshly served batches of handmade donuts in a variety of flavours and shapes. From cinnamon to strawberry to the traditional powdered sugar, regular donuts are less than a dollar. If you’re feeling like a donut sandwich, Chez Boris is the place to experiment from his famous Pork Belly donut to his Smoked salmon donut, this small, irregular shop is the perfect cure to donut boredom.