For an Asian-inspired twist on a classic French treat: Dainties Macaron
Could there be a sweeter combination than macarons and ice cream? This tiny Chinatown spot specializes in handmade macarons and macaron ice cream sandwiches(!). To be honest, I am typically not the biggest fan of macarons, as I find they often look appealing but taste bland and gluey. However, Dainties has officially recruited me onto the macaron bandwagon. These pastel-coloured beauties are stacked high with a heavenly buttercream filling and come in fun flavours like crème brulee, Froot Loops milk, and roasted black sesame. However, if you’re really looking to indulge, the enormous ice cream sandwiches are the way to go. Definitely check out the jasmine tea flavour for a subtly sweet treat that is perfect for a hot summer day!
235 Spadina Ave Unit 2
For an authentic Italian experience: Forno Cultura
When you enter Forno Cultura, you’ll immediately be greeted by the smell of freshly baked focaccia. Next, you’ll walk past the open kitchen, where bakery staff knead dough and slice cured meats. Finally, you’ll reach the long glass counter, which is filled with all manner of goodies, including 24 different types of cookies, delicate pastries, and little pots of tiramisu, as well as savoury treats like pizza and paninis. I recommend pairing a cappuccino with a slice of the seasonal fruit crostata, which upon my last visit was topped with strawberries and rhubarb, the ultimate summery combination. If you’re looking for a cooler option, try their affogato: a shot of espresso poured over house-made sourdough bread gelato.
609 King St W; 1056 Queen St W; 65 Front St W (Union Station); 100 King St W (First Canadian Place), 158 Sterling Rd (Museum of Contemporary Art)
For a summery scoop made with local ingredients: Brett’s Ice Cream
In a city with an ever-increasing number of Instagramable ice cream parlours, it can be easy to discount those places that seem to just be following the trend. However, let me assure you, Brett’s is really something special. Appealing to families and foodies alike, they boast a rotating menu of unique flavours, including wild blueberry lavender, cinnamon bun, and coconut mango sticky rice. They also offer a variety of delicious vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options, such as the wonderfully refreshing avocado lime sorbet. For the ultimate Brett’s experience, make sure to splurge on one of their brightly coloured Konery cake batter cones, which come in flavours like red velvet, orange creamsicle, and birthday cake.
1698 Queen St E
For matcha obsessives: Tsujiri
Full disclosure: my first trip to Tsujiri may have ruined all other matcha for me. You’ve been warned! This renowned Japanese tea company was founded in 1860 and has since expanded around the world, with their first North American location opening in Toronto in 2016. This is the perfect spot for matcha lovers and newbies alike, offering a wide variety of drinks and desserts, including matcha soft serve, sundaes, floats, pastries, lattes, and traditionally prepared tea. Each item on the menu is categorized into 3 different levels of flavour intensity, which is handy if you’re not used to the strong, slightly bitter taste of matcha. On the first visit, I would definitely recommend trying the plain soft serve. It’s a delightfully simple treat that lets you truly appreciate the quality of the ingredients.
147 Dundas St W; 4909 Yonge St; 100 City Centre Dr (Square One Shopping Centre)
For a quick trip to France: Craque de Crème
If you’re looking for a sweet place to bring a date (or to just treat yourself), check out Toronto’s very first crème brulee café! Craque de Crème offers a gourmet twist on the classic French dessert, with indulgent flavours like white chocolate rose, London fog, and bright purple ube. If you’re looking to turn it up a notch, they also offer boozy flavours like bourbon butterscotch and lychee vodka, as well as two coconut-based vegan options. Each little pot of creamy goodness is bruleed right before your eyes, resulting in a perfectly caramelized surface and a satisfying crack. Make sure to pair your dessert with a tasty latte, or for those with an insatiable sweet tooth, a scoop of house-made ice cream. If crème brulee isn’t your thing, they also offer Belgian waffles and animal-shaped macarons that are almost too cute to eat!
1360 Bathurst St
Written by Sophia Commanducci aka @foodie_in_the_6ix (on insta)
About the Author: Sophia is a film student and amateur food blogger with a chronic sweet tooth. Follow her on Instagram @foodie_in_the_6ix.