Unexpected taste testing in Port Dover, ON

This post is so overdue. So much time spent out of doors lately means I’ve been neglecting my indoor, blog-post-related duties. Enough is enough though, and it’s time to give a shout-out to two bakeries discovered on a recent road trip through Norfolk County, ON.

On the way to our campaing destination in Port Rowan, we decided to make a pit-stop in Port Dover. I did a quick bakery google search as we were coming into town and came across three local bakeries. Given our time restraints, I chose to visit two:

Trish’s Bakery Cafe prides itself on being the only gluten-free bakery in all of Norfolk and Haldimand counties.  Of all the places I’ve been on the tour to date, Trish’s has the largest selection of gluten-free items I’ve seen, and she gets high marks on creativity. This place has come up with a wide range of common-bakery-item alternatives to satisfy the gluten-free crowd, many of whom I’m sure just can’t handle another carrot muffin or slab of banana bread.

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We tried the key lime coconut macaroon, chocolate peanut butter bar and chocolate chip pecan butter tart.

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All were pretty good. Simple flavours, sweet, but good. Prices were reasonable at approximately $2.00 per item. If I lived near Port Dover, I’d be going back for the Oh My Gosh brownies sometime soon:

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The second stop was a real find: The Urban Parisian. Described on the website as Port Dover’s first authentic French bakery, I couldn’t pass it up. Specializing in french pastires and bread, this place packs a much smaller selection at a higher price point than Trish’s. Perhaps this is part of the reason why two bakeries can survive on the main street of such a small town – they are so very, very different.

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Brad Lewis, co-owner of The Urban Parisian, is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef with a diploma in patisserie, and a certifcate in boulangerie. In short, he knows what he’s doing. Wish I could borrow a book or two from his collection….

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Each day is a different type of bread: Tuesdays are sourdough, Wednesdays are whole grain, etc. I love that Thursdays are reserved for “chef’s choice”, just to keep things interesting. We stopped in on a Sunday, which turned out to be the right day to score some blue cheese walnut bread – cha-ching! It. Was. Incredible.

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When humming and hawwing over the sweet stuff, I was told one of the best sellers is the cheesecake, which varies in flavour. Sometimes strawberry chocolate chip, sometimes mint chocolate, chocolate peanut butter…but we were traveling far on a hot day, and I wasn’t sure it would survive the trip, so I grudgingly passed.

We did decide to try a mammatus at the suggestion of the guy behind the counter. The mammatus is essentially a sponge cake covered in a thick layer of chocolate, and I’ve seen on The Urban Parisian Facebook page, often comes in different flavours: raspberry, hazelnut and white chocolate to name but two. Although it did look a little worse for wear by the time we got home, the flavour was not damaged. Rich, not too sweet…fantastic!

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I honestly do wish I lived closer to this one, because the quiche, mini key lime pies and cream puffs would be next on my list. If only they delivered….

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Other things I really like about this place:

  • They use local ingredients: Lavender for flavouring, ale for the bread, etc.
  • The coffee.
  • The atmosphere. This place is tastefully designed, with beautiful counters and wall decor. Amazing patio.
  • The Facebook page! I follow a few different bakeries on Facebook, and this one is by far the best for photos and consistency. I’m constantly reminded that I want to go back to this place sometime soon…so two thumbs up on the social media front.

So there you go. Two new wonderful places discovered on a random camping trip….you just never know.

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