Halifax, on the east coast of Canada, is perfect for people who want to get hyperlocal and indulge in some delicious chocolate and baked goods. We have put together a guide to the top purveyors of cakes, chocolate, croissants, artisanal breads, pies, cupcakes and other treats at the best bakeries in Halifax.
A real family business, TJ Peach and her mom, Susie, rolled up their sleeves and launched Susie’s Shortbreads together. Their secret? Real butter. To get a tasty sampling, consider the Kitchen Sink value pack, an assortment of 12 shortbread flavors including coconut vanilla, strawberry, toffee and chocolate chip. Also on offer at this bakery are rosette cakes, s’mores, cookies, truffles, cheesecakes and cupcakes. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
Since 1999, this family-owned bakery has specialized in German-style buttercream tortes, European-style pastries and artisanal breads. While the influences are European, the ingredients are local, such as fresh apples and cherries from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. Sweets include almond horns (baked marzipan with roasted almonds dipped in chocolate), apple strudel, strawberry tarts and Hollanders, a deliciously messy confection of puff pastry, sponge cake, sour cherries and whipped cream. Breads are baked daily, although some artisanal varieties are available weekends only.
Mother and daughter team Laura and Katie MacLeod fired up the ovens at the Old Apothecary in 2015 and have grown a steady following with their salted caramel brownies, almond chocolate croissants and cranberry tarts. Their baked savories are also popular: spinach and feta danishes, sausage rolls and croissant sandwiches. Customers can also choose from assorted “bundles.” The Picnic Basket, for instance, means guests can order individual desserts (chocolate éclair, key lime pie, lemon tart, salted caramel brownie) as well as a choice of croissant sandwiches and drinks.
French pastry chef Geoffroy Chevallier has been satisfying his Halifax clientele since the summer of 2012, when he served his first order of macarons over the counter of his Prince Street bakery-pastry shop. Chevallier has perfected macaron flavors: sea salt caramel, orange blossom, lavender, hazelnut, pistachio, chocolate – as well as seasonal creations such as pumpkin spice. Patrons can also stock up on croissants, pains au chocolat and lemon tarts. Rest assured, your taste buds will proclaim Le French Fix one of the best bakeries in Halifax.
Richard Boschel was born in Brittany, France, and trained as a chef before eventually moving to Nova Scotia with his Winnipeg-born wife, Demita. They opened the original 24 Carrots in a food court in 1994. The bakery is now located on Kempt Road. From the ovens emerge cakes, artisanal breads, focaccia buns, sandwich loaves, breakfast danishes – and a seemingly endless variety of squares: carrot squares dripping with cream cheese icing, brownies, lemon squares, peanut butter bars and the quintessential Canadian no-bake Nanaimo bar.
Long-time baker Tony Odell experienced an epiphany when, prompted by concerns about gluten intolerance, he baked a gluten-free pound cake for his family – and “no one could tell the difference.” Odell and his team create the usual assortment of bakery items (cakes, squares, cookies), but also whole pies, which aren’t offered in many bakeries. Odell’s customers have their pick of gluten-free coconut cream, pumpkin, blueberry, chocolate cream, pecan, apple and banana cream pies.
At the heart of half of the bakeries Culture Trip included on this list are French-trained chefs. Pas de surprise. Didier Julien is among those. However, his wife, Nova Scotia-born Laura Mulroney, is an equally talented baker. Together, they serve customers at their bakery-café at Hydrostone Market starting at 7.30am daily. Patrons choose from 100% organic spelt bread, cheese-and-tomato focaccia, apricot hazelnut sourdough and sweet offerings such as April Jalousie (flaky pastry made with almond cream), canelés, tarts, madeleines and crème brûlée.
Some pop-culture theorists suggest cupcakes experienced a resurgence in popularity after their prominence in the Sex and the City TV series. Bakers like Jennifer Harrison of Halifax have been conjuring up creative cupcakes for a long time. Among the varieties on sale at Layers Cupcakes: raspberry, chocolate cookies ‘n’ cream, chocolate ganache, vanilla bean strawberry, coconut and chocolate peanut butter. Patrons can also order beautifully sculpted cakes that serve eight: Blushing Rose cake is a creation of vanilla bean cake, strawberry compote, strawberry buttercream crowned with vanilla buttercream roses.
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