When people imagine Victoria, most have images of our coffee culture, but that is really just a Cascadia thing right? One thing that doesn't spring to mind is a crunchy baguette or sweet lemon curd tart, yet maybe it should. In a very small area of Victoria, just in and around downtown, we have one of the most amazing selections of bakeries I have ever seen in a city.
Like my ramen post, this is not about which bakery is the best, in part because depending on what you want you may want to go to more than one, it's also because what I like is going to be very different from you, so you will just need to try each of them out for yourself.
Thinking about bakeries is not super health focused, but I love, absolutely love, baked goods. From an amazing piece of french bread with butter, to cinnamon buns and sausage rolls. If there is a way to get gluten into my system in a tasty way than I am interested.
I work downtown, which means near my office building are numerous amazing bakeries, maybe even too many. This is a list of some of the ones I love. That also means that this is not an exhaustive list, nor does it mean because a bakery is not on here, that it isn't good, I probably just haven't been there yet. So here we go (Click on the Bakery Names for more info).
The first bakery I walk by in the day, with the smell of cinnamon and fresh baked bread grabbing you right on the sidewalk. This must be one of the bakeries that has been around the longest and it is one of my favourites. The cinnamon buns here are messy, gooey and amazing. They make a great treat to bring into the office in the morning. The apple almond croissants are also a good choice. We have also had a couple of cakes from here for the family and they have been superb!
Wildfire is usually the second bakery that I pass by on my way to work. Again the smell gets you right away with a mix of wood fire smoke and browning crust blowing down Mason Street, by the time you get there you want to go in. They have a good selection of bread and if you want a nice pizza for lunch you really can't go wrong here. I have also been known to get one of their lemon meringue tarts as a pick me up on a rainy day.
One of the newer bakeries in town, though it has been there for a couple of years now in the Victoria Public Market. The French Oven has a ton of goods, both savoury and sweet. The key lime tarts here are great and though I have not tried them, a friend of mine has recommended the pizza dough they have to take home. This bakery also has a ton of seating so if you want to stop for a coffee with your treat you can certainly do that.
Bond Bond's is one of the longest lived bakeries in Downtown Victoria. It opened in 1992 and has been a popular place since then. Many other cafes downtown use some of their treats. My absolute favourite goodies here are the Victoria Pistachio Bar and the Cinnamon Cross. If they only sold these two items I think they could be a successful venture, though apparently they do have other things.
Another relatively new addition to the downtown bakery scene, though it has been in place a for a few years. Crust took over a location from the long lived Rhineland Bakery, though I do not think there is any connection between the two. The first thing you will notice about Crust is their absolutely stunning display window. You cannot walk past this window with no thought of stopping in to get a small treat. Crust has many amazing things both sweet and savoury and I have yet to have anything less than amazing, though I will say that their pastries are very rich, which may mean you will need to share. This is our go-to bread bakery for home and the sausage rolls here are delicious. There is a little bit of room to sit down but I find that it is generally so busy that all that space is used up by customers waiting to buy something.
The Dutch Bakery is a Victoria institution. This bakery is now being run by the third generation of the Schaddelee family, who originally opened it up in 1956. If there is a longer running bakery in Victoria, I am unaware of it. For me my favourite thing about the Dutch Bakery are all the little petit fours. The tricky thing is finding a place to eat them and keep your dignity. I have never eaten in the diner portion of the Dutch Bakery but I have heard that it is pretty amazing. Like Crust just up the road, it is hard to not be captivated by the goods in the window.
Bubby Rose's serves as part bakery and part neighbourhood gathering place. Located on the south east corner of downtown, the city is starting to give way to Fairfield and there isn't another cafe until you get to Cook Street Village. If you come by here at pretty much any time of day during the week or on the weekend you will see a place with both those stopping by to get something and others having a big bowl of soup or a sandwich. The frozen pizza dough here is great to pick up for making your own pizzas for dinner and the raspberry cream cheese croissants are delicious.
So that is my list and you are stunned to not see your favourite on it. Which one do I need to try and what do I need to get there?