For those living in the Danforth area I highly recommend the Europa pastry shop that has opened up on the south side, between Pape and Jones. As many will remember there was a Greek bakery at this location for several years which closed awhile ago after the original owners sold it and the new ones just didn't offer quality goods. I made the mistake of assuming continuity between the old shop and only walked into the new Europa after they had been open for almost six months.
What a revelation!!!!
The owners are Spanish and Portuguese and have a real old world sensibility in their approach to baking pastry and bread. Have tried a number of the sweets on offer as well as several breads and I highly recommend it all. Their Portuguese custard tarts are creamy and sweet, the best I've had, with really tender pastry that melts in your mouth (if you can get it fresh, several times a week).
I also tried a flaky pastry called a Jesuit which is simply puff pastry with a very thin layer of sweet meringue on the top; beautiful with an afternoon coffee. Their brownies are rich and full of walnuts; the espresso coffee cake robust, moist and satisfying.
In a nod to the neighbourhood they have continued to offer various types of Baklava, the most notable of which, and something I have never seen before (a spanish twist on a greek favourite?) is chocalate covered baklava, which my kids are addicted to. They call it Choclava, and I am very popular when it bring it home! The combination of chocolate, pastry, honey, nuts and cinnamon is really something, and quite addictive. Everyone in the house has gained a few pounds on this over the last tweo weeks.
Something I haven't tried, but intend to, is a shrimp and cod pastry which breaded and lightly fried. It looks really good.
Europa also has fresh bread every morning and I have been impressed with the baguettte and the focaccia. Perhaps not quite Ace quality, but very reasonably priced.
Europa is a great addition to the Danforth neighbourhood and seems to be always full of locals. With an espresso machine (a significant difference from the last two bakeries here), it is also a good place to sit for a few minutes and have a cake and coffee. Maybe chat with the friendly owners and wait staff.
Highly recommended and very friendly. A true local Chow find.
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