"Tiny morsels pack a powerful punch"
Sugar has fallen out of favour and nearly everyone you know is going gluten-free or has become a vegetarian. So what is a person to do when hit by the craving for something sweet?
Three area bakeries have the perfect answer: help yourself to one of their small, sweet treats made from natural ingredients.
Delicate flavours enhance beautifully crafted morsels that are made daily to be consumed while fresh and delicious; this is the best way to satisfy a craving for something sweet, according to Kate St. Laurent.
A fine artist turned baker, St. Laurent combined her love of colour and form with an appreciation of fine food and opened Bake Shop Studio in St. Thomas in the spring of last year. She specializes in gum paste flowers that look so lifelike they are often mistaken for the real thing and embody the notion that ‘we eat with our eyes first.’
Embracing the growing popularity of the buy-local movement, St. Laurent uses flour produced at the Arva Flour Mill, flavours her cakes with lavender and chamomile tea from Wild Flower Farms – which also produces the honey she uses for sweetening, as well as local maple syrup.
“I don’t use any additives or preservatives. When something is fresh and custom-made, having a little taste is all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth,” explains St. Laurent.
Likewise, one of Petit Paris Creperie and Patisserie’s most popular offerings is French macarons. Owner Nicole Arroyos says, “Though they are made with sugar they are packed with flavour, so just eating one satisfies.”
Offered in a great variety of flavours and colours, these sweet, colourful discs are growing in popularity as party favours and often substitute for wedding cakes.
Because she knows that consumers are concerned, Arroyos is currently sourcing organic sugars from suppliers, looking for one able to supply in large enough quantities to meet demand, which is not an easy task.
French macarons are also gaining popularity because they are gluten-free, another growing trend in the baked goods industry. Petit Paris offers a limited variety of its products in gluten-free versions.
Choosing a vegetarian lifestyle doesn’t prohibit one from having a sweet tooth, so Bake Shop Studio offers vegan options of its products.
To meet the demand for the current cookie craze, Tracey Koivu opened sugar bliss cookies early last year. She believes that because her cookies are made from six basic ingredients – including organic sugar and Madagascar vanilla – and have no chemicals or preservatives, people feel comfortable indulging in an occasional treat.
Her business has been driven, in part, by those that love the colourful custom cookies she produces to highlight special occasions (like baby showers) and holidays.
Koivu also expresses her artistic bent by hand mixing colours to ‘paint’ her cookies. “They are miniature palettes,” she explains. Her love of pastel colours facilitated her Easter offerings and sparked a special creativity. She’s currently developing a gluten-free version of her cookie recipe, as well.
The ultimate sweet tooth satisfaction comes in small, beautiful packages.