Pretty Pastry

Last week, I attended the opening of Leslieville patisserie Bobbette & Belle's new retail space. At the invitation of Candice from Best PR Boutique, I not only got to explore the beautifully appointed 3000 square foot space, but got to sample some of their yummy creations as well.

Bobbette & Belle is the result of a partnership between Allyson Meredith Bobbitt and Sarah Bell, which began in January of 2009. Bobbitt is an award-winning cake designer and former Bonnie Gordon protegée and instructor. Bell has nine years of experience as a pastry chef, including a stint at Canoe, where she was the youngest to ever be appointed at the executive level. And together they create some pretty spectacular cakes and other sweet treats.

The showpiece cakes are usually done for special events such as weddings and parties, and are utterly beautiful. Taking inspiration from classic wallpapers, the ladies use a variety of techniques to decorate their goods. For their letter press cookies, for example, they use edible imaging, then add hand-painted detailing with food colouring.

Of all the items I tasted, three stood out in particular. First were the salted caramels. The salt is not relegated to wallflower status in this confection. It stands side by side with the sweet, buttery, soft caramel in a partnership that works very well indeed.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge fan of straight up sweet, so cakes, macarons, marshmallows, etc., tend not to be high on my list of preferred treats. At Bobbette & Belle, I encountered two of the above that could make me change that tune. One of the macarons was a white chocolate ganache meringue with a passion fruit filling that had just the right hint of freshness to balance the sweet. Then there were the marshmallows. Oh, these marshmallows...

Chocolate flavoured, then completely covered with cocoa powder and topped with cocoa nibs. Unreal. They were perfectly airy, and the cocoa covering not only added that welcome hint of bitterness, but helped prevent that pesky marshmallow stickiness. These alone are worth the trek out to Leslieville, and also make me glad the store isn't close to me!

Everything about Bobbette & Belle epitomizes "pretty" - from the cakes on the shelves to the decor of the space itself. And with sandwiches and coffee on offer, in addition to the sweets, and free wi-fi, this will easily be a destination spot in the neighbourhood. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm at 1121 Queen St. East (416 466 8800).


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