Mmmmm Montreal: A Bakery Crawl of Canada’s Pastry Mecca

Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau for Boulangerie Guillaume

Boulangerie Guillaume | 514-507-3199  
5134 Boulevard Saint-Laurent

One of the most striking boulangeries in the city, located in Mile End, has a knack for display. Dozens of varieties of bread, placed in baskets mounted on the walls angled toward the customer, showing off a dizzying array of freshly baked loaves, buns, and viennoisseries. Baker Guillame Vaillant pulls off some daring flavor combinations, too. One tart, earthy loaf blends sumac and beets, while another incorporates spiced prunes into a levain base. Among his most striking is a nearly all-black baguette, thanks to a poppy seed crust, which reveals a golden amaranth center when sliced.

What to order: A poppy seed amaranth baguette, which is nutty, floral, and subtly sweet

Photography by Sarah Mongeau-Birkett fro Boulangerie Hof Kelsten

Boulangerie Hof Kelsten |     
4524 Boulevard Saint-Laurent

Baker Jeff Finkelstein has serious fine-dining cred—he worked for Thomas Keller at Per Se in New York, at Spain’s famed El Bulli, and other high-end kitchens before he came back to his native Montreal. He started out baking bread, supplying loaves to some of the city’s top restaurants, including Toqué! and Joe Beef, before opening his own place. You can buy those breads, and more, at Boulangerie Hof Kelsten, located in what was the city’s old Jewish immigrant quarter, which offers baked goods and a café menu that pays homage to his Montreal-Jewish heritage. There’s chopped liver and schnitzel and matzo ball soup, but the vegetarian sandwich, made with tart labneh and pickled vegetables on dense pumpernickel, may be his best. For dessert, nab a loaf of the chocolate babka, an eggy yeast dough swirled through with dark chocolate that is way too easy to eat.

What to order: The vegetarian sandwich on tangy pumpernickel bread topped with labneh, pickled veggies, and cilantro.


Automne |      
6500 Avenue Christophe-Colomb

This notable newcomer in the up-and-coming Petite-Patrie neighborhood comes courtesy of chef Seth Gabrielse, a seasoned restaurant vet, and Julien Roy, one of the most respected bakers in the city, previously of Le Pain dans les Voiles, a bakery and café in Villeray. The duo brings an artisan’s sensibility to this new endeavor and focuses on the nuts and bolts of bread baking to enhance the flavor of each loaf by using the freshest possible flours and extra-long fermentation times. Taste the evidence in their spelt bread, a golden, nutty loaf made from locally grown spelt flour. The boulangerie also excels at French-forward offerings, such as flaky croissants and crusty baguettes, and with even sweeter treats, like an irresistible pecan sticky bun loaf coated in luscious caramel. But make no mistake, the heart of this operation is the bread.

What to order: Pecan sticky bun loaf, a yeasty pull-apart loaf loaded with caramel and nuts


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