122 3rd Ave West
With the GF Patisserie starring in my first Culinary Q & A (here), and my experience with gluten free foods minimal, I’d high hopes to visit this bakery on my Calgary trip. With the store located in Cochrane, Sarah and I figured we could easily make the detour before our lunch in Calgary.
The business is located on a quiet street (is there a part of Cochrane that isn’t quiet?), and resides in a cute blue house which gives the entire operation a homey feel. Walking through the entrance, we were instantly surrounded by the fantastic smell of bakery. You know the smell I’m talking about; that delicious mix of oven, flour, and sugar. This must be one of the most amazing sensations for celiacs, and something that many of us gluten eaters neither question.
Besides the smell, you’ll notice the store front is tiny and to the point. With no preservatives and a make-fresh attitude, you aren’t going to find a large pantry of items. You’ll get what’s fresh, plain and simple. Victoria, and her mother, were quick to greet us, and after introducing myself, I was quickly on the short path to gluten free enlightenment. It’s absolutely amazing what this bakery puts out, including on this day, a huge selection of cupcakes adorned with the very Easter, peep candy.
In between a fairly steady flow of customers, I discovered that people come from all over the place to pick up Victoria’s creations. If I remember correctly, someone had just arrived from somewhere in Saskatchewan to pick up their wedding cake; speaks volumes about the product I think. During a brief down moment, Victoria was kind enough to slice a few pieces of bread as well as both a lemon loaf and coffee cake for us to sample. The bread was light, airy, and had a wonderful crumb. As someone who bakes wheat based bread almost daily, I could tell it was different, but this was easily the best tasting gluten free bread I’ve ever had. The pastries, I dare say, were on an even better level with main stream offerings. Both the lemon loaf and coffee cake could have easily been swapped out for wheat based varieties and you’d never know. Speechless, that’s how I felt when I left.
We meant to come back on Saturday so we could take home a fresh loaf, but the timing didn’t work. It’s unfortunate, because I would have loved to bring back a few treats to share. Next time you are in Calgary, try to make a trip to Cochrane and visit Victoria. You’ll be amazed at what’s capable, and if you know or are someone who lives with a gluten battle, you’ll be in heaven!