No matter how you slice it, desserts often remind us of home.
That’s because our best memories of sweet treats are tied to distant recollections of parties, celebrations and even the odd school lunch (thanks mom).
Fortunately, we live in a city where we can indulge in a little sweet nostalgia, no matter where in the world we grew up.
With international delicacies, unique cross cultural concoctions and a world of flavours just waiting to be discovered, Vancouver is home to some of the best international desserts and bakeries goods in the country. Here’s where to find them.
New Town Bakery – 148 E Pender St
Depending on your experience with Chinese bakeries, New Town is either an obvious go-to or a total hidden gem. Since 1980, this Chinatown bakery has been serving incredible Chinese and Filipino baked goods and pastries. They’ve won awards for their apple tarts, but the real highlight is there coconut bun, which is soft, creamy, mildly sweet and so, so, so delicious! They’ve also good cold desserts like Halo-Halo and Red Bean Ice Cream.
Afra Bakery – 1521 Pemberton Ave
While many Vancouverites travel to North Vancouver’s Afra Bakery for the freshly made sangak bread, it would be a shame to be on the North Shore and not try some of their traditional Persian sweets. There are a ton of baked goods and pastries on site, but we recommend the Halva. Halva is made from lightly sweetened tahini and usually combined with other toppings or flavours like pistachio or vanilla.
All India Sweets Restaurant – 6560 Main St
Indian desserts are colourful, sticky and super sweet. If you’re a fan of Gulab Jamun (Indian milkball doughnuts) or Mysore Pak (akin to a cardamom fudge) then this is the place to be! All India Sweets Restaurant offers literally hundreds of vibrant Indian sweets and snacks, in addition to a fantastic menu of curries, vegetarian dishes and tandoori-fresh breads. Enjoy some of their sweets after a meal or pick-up a (couple) dozen to enjoy at home with coffee or tea.
Klaus Kaffee Haus – 291 E Pender St
Drawing on decuisine chef Baron Klaus’ worldwide cooking experiences and natural love affair of Austrian and German food, Klaus Kaffee Haus brings authentic Austrian cuisine right to the heart of downtown Vancouver. Their menu is predominately centred around hearty breakfasts and traditional savour Austrian dishes, but their traditional Apple Strudel (served with Vanilla Sauce or Vanilla Ice Cream) is a definite dessert do-not-miss.
Amato Gelato Cafe – 78 E 1st Avenue
Amato Gelato is a family-owned Italian gelato shop located at the edge of the Olympic Village. They’ve been scooping authentic gelato and sorbetto from under their neon sign since for decades, using a family recipe that’s almost a century-old. They use local B.C. ingredients and even have a few vegan options. If anyone’s craving Italian gelato in a freshly baked cone, this might be your new favourite spot.
Perestroika Red Square Bakery – 8626 Joffre Ave
Red Square prides itself on making healthy baked goods, but that doesn’t mean they’re a dessert free zone. In addition to Eastern European delicacies (Perogies, Fresh Rye Bread, Peroshki), Red Square baked fresh low-carb doughnuts, cookies, granola and muffins. They also have gluten free and “decadent” options for those of us who want to go “all-in” at dessert time.
Bon Crepe – 1238 Robson St
Bon Crepe specializes in Japanese crepes and ice cream. Japanese crepes are super thin and just a little sweet, making them the perfect partner to Bon Crepe’s selection of ice cream flavours. If you don’t know what to order, the reviews of this Robson St. staple make one thing very clear, their Match Ice Cream is where it’s at!
Panaderia Latina Bakery – 4906 Joyce St
Panaderia is a well loved Latin American bakery that serves authentic Chilean food and desserts alongside an immense selection of imported foods and delicacies from other regions of South America. From house made cupcakes, cakes, and literally dozens of other sweet offerings (Flan de Caramelo, Dulce de leche pastries) in addition to more savory options like handmade empanadas, Panaderia Latina Bakery might just be one of the best Latin Bakeries out there!
Plaisir Sucré – 2668 Arbutus St
Traditional French pastries made in the heart of Kitsilano. Plaisir Sucré makes French pastries exactly how you like them to be made; ornate, dainty and as fun to look at as they are to eat. With their 100% butter traditional french baking technique, this is a fabulous spot to enjoy classic sweets like Exclairs, Macarons, Fruit Tarts, Sablés, Pains au chocolat and whatever else your Francophile tastebuds desire.
Craving more? The Great Canadian Baking Show is back for a second season on CBC.
Hosted by Dan Levy and Julia Chan, The Great Canadian Baking Show brings together 10 amateur bakers from across the country to compete in a series of themed culinary challenges that celebrate their diverse backgrounds, families and communities.
The Great Canadian Baking Show is an affirming, warm-spirited competition that celebrates personal achievement and the joy of baking.