Save that resolution to eat less sugar for January 1, and instead give heed to the call of all things sweet and delicious that come with the holiday season. Vancouver is brimming with bakers, chocolatiers, and other treat-makers who have been crafting and creating all sorts of seasonal sweets, much like Santa in his workshop, and they are finally ready to fill their shelves, and your belly, with their offerings.
Here’s our guide to the best and brightest of the 2015 holiday treats available in Vancouver.
Following in the French tradition, Faubourg is serving up their impressive and delectable yule logs, called Buche de Noel, this season. Ricardo Rosas, Faubourg’s head pastry chef, has come up with some visually stunning and delectable flavours, from the traditional to the innovative, like the Raspberry and Litchi Bûche, the latter of which is styled like a set of glimmering raspberry gift boxes and filled with a lychee mousse. Definitely a conversation piece that adds the wow factor to your holiday gathering. Faubourg is also offering a 10% discount to shoppers who order their Buche(s) before December 6.
Address: Locations in Downtown, Kerrisdale, and West Vancouver (check website for details)
Who cares if the weather outside is frightful, when Rain or Shine’s ice cream is so delightful? Their two scoop shops will have some fun holiday flavours in the month of December, including Rum Eggnog, Cranberry Apple Cider Sorbet (vegan), Christmas Tree (pine, a unique but tasty flavour), Candy Cane with a homemade candy cane swirl in peppermint ice cream, and Gingerbread. Their special feature sundae is called Christmas Tree, and comes with a scoop each of Christmas Tree and Gingerbread ice creams, topped with a sweet popcorn garnish, cranberry orange drizzle, whipped cream and a lemon shortbread star (of course).
Address: 1926 West 4th Avenue
Address: 3382 Cambie Street
There’s a whole new line of fantastical holiday treats on offer from Pastry Chef and Master Confectioner Christophe Bonzon. From his Christmas Chocolate Bar trio set (eggnog and marzipan, caramel and gingerbread, and mandarin jelly with mandarin ganache) and other bars (cranberry with toasted sesame, and peppermint) to Swiss-style gingerbread and Bozon’s edible chocolate sculptures, Chez Christophe has holiday whimsy on lock.
Address: 4712 Hastings Street, Burnaby
Cadeaux Bakery has created a special Advent Calendar for the month of December. This limited edition item (only 100 will be made!) includes 24 hand crafted individually wrapped little goodies that leads up to the big day. They are available for pre-order, and will be available for pick up anytime after November 25 for $50 (with surplus hitting the shelves for lucky walk-ins). Also in December Cadeaux will be offering two flavours of yule logs: Rum Egg nog and Chocolate orange. They feed six to eight people and are priced at $24. Treat seekers will also find favourites like, rum balls, gingerbread men and Cadeaux’s delicious mocha candy cane cookies.
Address: 172 Powell Street
The holidays shine at Thomas Haas, with a full lineup of fanciful sweet selections, from his contemporary Tannenbaum Chocolate Tree in three sizes, to the handcrafted artful sculptures, like Santa in the Chimney ($59) or Santa in the Igloo ($59), Haas really puts the bow on the season. If you’re looking for something for stocking stuffing, grab some smaller goodies, like barks, chocolate lollipops, and classic chocolate Santas. Stollen will be available from the bakery, and Haas is bringing back the fruitcake this season.
Address: 2539 West Broadway Avenue
Address: Unit 128, 998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver
Holiday goodness abounds at Thierry, with a broad spectrum of holiday logs in exciting flavours like Caramel Apple Raisin, Pistachio, Cherry & Chocolate, and more. They’ll be baking up Stollen (German Christmas bread), and Stollen happens to be a macaron flavour this season, along with gingerbread and cranberry ones. Warm up after a day of shopping or sight seeing with their holiday beverages, like a Chestnut Affogato or a Naughty Egg Nog, among others. Thierry
Address: 1059 Alberni Street
Bel Café’s Pastry Chef, Wayne Kozinko has created some Christmas delights such as vanilla shortbread ($14 for box of 12), eggnog lattes ($5.50) and peppermint macarons ($2 each). Enjoy traditional holiday pastries like Christmas cake ($17), linzer cookies ($14 box of eight) and milk chocolate, chestnut and caramel entremets ($6.20 small / $40.00 large). If you really want to make an impression, show up with one of Bel’s stunning macaron trees, featuring 20 pieces ($55). Sit down in the café and sip on house-mulled cider ($4), bourbon-spiked cider ($9) and eggnog with spiced rum ($9).
Address: 801 West Georgia Street
Beaucoup Bakery is introducing two cookies for the holiday season: Browned Butter & Kinako Shortbread and Toasted Buckwheat Chocolate Chip ($2.25/each). As a delicious gift option, The Beaucoup Bakery Holiday Cookie Box comes with two of their to-die-for Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches, two Browned Butter & Kinako Shortbread, two Toasted Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, two Salted Rosemary Chocolate Cookies, and a litre of Avalon Organic Milk (in the glass bottle). The gift box is $35 and requires a one-day advance order, and will be available to December 24.
Address: 2150 Fir Street
Giovane Café is spicing up their classic sugar buns for the holiday season. Available now through the Christmas holidays, they’ve introduced festive flavours including egg nog, Bailey’s & chocolate, and gingerbread. Their sugar buns are absolutely divine, and are a great sweet treat switch up from the more expected holiday fare.
Address: 1038 Canada Place
Starting December 1, Lucky’s Doughnuts will be decking their halls (and your happy bellies) with their holiday flavours. Ring in the season with tastes like a Stollen doughnut, riffing on the classic German bread (spiced citrus cake doughnut filled with a marzipan pastry cream and covered in granulated sugar), or Mulled Wine Old Fashioned (old-fashioned cake base topped with a mulled wine glaze), and even an Eggnog Snowball (filled with an eggnog pastry cream and topped with Swiss meringue and fine coconut). Other flavours include a Poppycock Bismark, Maple Bar, Gingerbread Old Fashioned, Cranberry Orange Pistacho, Gianduja Chocolate Old Fashioned, Thumbprint Shortbread Cookie, Chestnut Bismark, Raspberry Berliner, and classic Cinanmon Sugar.
Address: 2902 Main Street (Forty Ninth Parallel Café)
Address: 2198 West 4th Avenue
Butter Baked Goods
Butter has tons of holiday treats available at their lovely bakery and café, but they are especially excited about one of their new creations, and rightfully so. It’s an adorable Snowman Macaron, which has a vanilla shell with vanilla buttercream in the centre. Available starting December 1, you can get this seasonal goodie for $2.25 each, or $12 for a box of six.
Address: 4907 Mackenzie Street
Fraser Street’s charming and authentically French Batard Boulangerie will be making levain Panettones (naturally yeasted), stollen from a family recipe, and a selection of traditional and fun cookies and biscotti starting in late November/early December.
Address: 3958 Fraser Street
Marsh&Mallow, a local confectionary company making handmade gourmet mallows, has released their Holiday Mint Chocolate Marshmallows, available now until Christmas. These perfectly squishy marshmallows come coated in cocoa powder, drizzled with dark chocolate ganache, and topped with crushed mint candy cane. Packaged six generous pieces to a heat-sealed bag, these limited edition mallows cost $15 per bag.
This holiday season local baker Anjan Kaur, who operates Cakes by Anjan, has created a range of festive shortbread creations, think Santa’s cheery face, Christmas stockings, snowmen, and candy canes. Decorated with royal icing these colourful and moreish cookies come packaged 10 to a box, and are priced at $30.
Yaletown’s Karameller Candy is offering a range of festive treats this holiday season. Packaged in boxes, jars, and bags these colourful creations (think red, white, and green sweets) are perfect for gifting. As always, Karamller Candy free from GMOs, trans fats, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Address: 30-1020 Mainland Street