With spring tiptoeing its way back into Kingston, I’ve been having some major daydreams about rhubarb. It’s not the prettiest vegetable: you don’t want to eat rhubarb raw, and its leaves are downright poisonous. With a bit of extra sugar, though, it’s the perfectly tart compliment for every spring and summer dessert. But why make it yourself? Let Bread and Butter Bakery cook it for you!
When I tried a rhubarb scone from Bread and Butter Bakery last year, it was as if the heavens opened and angels started singing: this was the chosen breakfast pastry. The glaze drizzled on top was just too inviting: I ate the whole thing in the car, leaving not a single crumb of the sweet-and-sour scone for home. Lucky for me, Bread and Butter offers a range of foods beyond their easy-to-inhale baked goods, and I saved myself some maple yogurt, with tangy, fresh rhubarb compote and granola served on the side. With strawberry’s best friend beginning to make its appearance at grocery stores around town, I can only hope that Bread and Butter will get their shipment of local rhubarb very, very soon.
Until then, I’ve been expanding my horizons. In preparation for this post, I decided to treat myself and tried something new: a Mediterranean vegetable and goat cheese pie and for dessert, a Napoleon pastry. The savoury dish was, in a word, outstanding. It featured everything I love about hearty, rustic ratatouille, and then enveloped in a flakey, buttery crust. Bread and Butter’s pie crust is the kind that I wish I could make myself, but never have the time, energy, or skill; that’s why I leave it to the experts, and apply the finishing touches myself. I brought the pie home and let it warm up in the oven at 350, for 20 minutes. It was well worth the wait: the goat cheese melted and got sensationally creamy, sticking to the eggplant and zucchini chunks. Flakey on the outside and creamy, steamy vegetables on the inside? That’s my kind of pie.
The Napoleon is a pastry that I’ve been eyeing for a long time. Traditionally called a mille-feuille, the name translates to “thousand leaves,” for how many layers of pastry go into this recipe. Too intricate to eat in the car, I was happy to enjoy it at home, where I could pair it with some black Earl Grey tea. This was a necessary complement to the dessert, which is not for the faint of heart. If you can’t handle sweet, this is not the treat for you; if sweet is your go-to form of decadence, then you’re in luck. The icing on the cake for me was, of course, the elegant combed icing. Although I had a good sense of what the custard and pastry would taste like, I was happily surprised to learn that Bread and Butter prepares the top of the Napoleon with the same kind of icing-glaze that covers dipped donuts. Already so in love with the layers of crisp, delicate pastry and cold, sweet cream, the Napoleon mixes genres of high and low to create the ultimate dessert indulgence.
What I like about Bread and Butter Bakery is that, without being a giant grocery store, you can go in there and buy yourself breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They serve a variety of muffins and scones (both classic and seasonal) daily, along with yogurt, sandwiches, and soups, not to mention loaves of bread, cookies, and beautiful birthday cakes. Moreover, they’re the kind of business that supports other local businesses, selling Limestone Creamery milk, Wilton Cheese Factory Cheese, Kingston Olive Oil Company, and other homegrown favourites. Looking out for the community more generally, they just finished a campaign in which they donated $1 from each soup sold, and raised a ton of money for Kingston Youth Shelter. Somehow, giving just got a whole lot more delicious.