Tag Archive for flourist

Commercial Drive Bakeries

I am a girl who likes her sweets. I love a good bakery. And a cluster of them together??!? Pure gold. 

You can walk from one to the next, and that, my friends, burns calories so you can have an extra cookie or a slice of cake when you get to the next one. 

Yeah, there’s a method to my madness. 

Here in Vancouver, there are a couple parts of the city where you can find bakeries blooming. Yaletown is obviously the first, but Commercial Drive, with its Italian/Portugese roots, is also very rich in the baked goods. 

You’ll find everything here–I mean obviously a lot of old-school and new-school Italian baked goods, but also French patisserie, and some modern takes, as well. 

My list starts in one of two places: at La Tana, which is almost all the way to Hastings at the north, or at Flourist, which is as far south as this map will take you. In between? A treasure-trove of tasty baked goods. 

round loaves of sourdough bread

Flourist, 3433 Commercial St

I’ve been watching and waiting on this one for a while. The newest of the Commercial Drive Bakery gang, Fourist just opened up this bricks-and-mortar location a couple months ago, after running a successful online business for the last few years. They were selling dried goods: flours, beans, pulses, grains, but have now created a cafe/coffee shop, selling baked goods made from their raw ingredients. You can buy authentic sourdough bread here, or learn to make it and buy all you need to make it at home. There’s something for everyone, including lots of vegan treats. My fave? The Chocolate Chip cookies, or beans on toast. 

Fratelli Bakery Commercial Dr

Fratelli–the mind boggles.

Bakery Sate, 2879 Commercial Dr

It’s a bit obscure, as it’s tucked around behind a big storefront on 12th, but it’s well worth seeking out. Sate has some of the most interesting and creative croissant flavours in the city. If you are matcha-obsessed, they have matcha croissants, as well as other out-of-the-box flavours like Banana-Chocolate-Hazelnut or Pomegranate Cheesecake. 

Fratelli Espresso Shortbread

Fratelli, 1795 Commercial Dr

Fratelli is the oldest of all the Commercial Drive Bakeries. Open since 1997, Fratelli is part of a triumverate of Italian perfection: there’s the bakery, La Grotta Del Formaggio beside it, and Cafe Calabria beside that. It’s the most Italian you can be in the city. Fratelli is also the bakery on this list that has the biggest selection. There are literally 100s of items baked every day for sale, and they are all pretty spectacular. They go from cakes to cookies to bread to savoury items… yeah, it’s a tough decision to make. One of my favourite things here is the espresso shortbread, but really, you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything. 

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookie Oh Sweet Day

Oh Sweet Day, 1706 E 1st Ave

Another fairly new addition to the Drive, Oh Sweet Day started as a blog. Fanny Lam started a blog, and then, in an attempt to monetize, began to sell Christmas Cookie Boxes. They were so popular, she wrote a cookbook, and eventually, opened up her own shop. She’s known for two things: cookies and mini cheesecakes. 

Kougin Amann

The Bench Bakehouse, 1641 Commercial Dr (in Il Mercado)

Open less than a year, The Bench is run by a husband-wife team who trained both out of Paris and San Francisco. So they have great breads, as well as great pastries. They do some fun, creative croissant flavours here, too, but my favourite thing to order is the Kougin-Amann. 

Livia Sweets

Livia, 1399 Commercial Dr

Hands down, this is my favourite place on the drive. Part bakery, part cafe, it has such a charming European vibe, I just want to move in. The coffee is really great, too. There are baked goods, but also things made from their house-made bread… well I just can’t say enough nice things. Really, go. 

Caffe La Tana

Caffe La Tana, 635 Commercial Dr

It’s attached to Pepinos, and they share a kitchen. This charming little spot beside the York Theatre is owned by the same folks that brought you Savio Volpe, so as you can well imagine, the pasta is great. This is the day-time version of Pepinos, with coffees and pasta, lighter fare. They also have some pretty dope baked goods, fresh bread, and a whole little Italian market with specialty imported items. It just has the most European vibe… 

What’s your favourite Commercial Drive bakery? Did I forget any? Comment below! 

 

@Flourist Chocolate Chip Cookies

Things I think a lot about: sustainability, the environment, and how we can save the planet. 

Well that’s a bright and cheery intro, hey? 

Okay. But seriously. The main reason I gave up eating meat all those years ago is because of the environment. And while I totally get that not everyone is going to stop eating meat, if we all just ate less meat, it would make the world a better place. I loved this recent article in The Atlantic that advocates that we even just give up beef, and how much of a change that could make to our planet. 

Flourist Chocolate Chip Cookie baked in a large cast iron sklllet

Another option for those of you who are concerned about the environment, but aren’t ready to give up meat, is to only buy locally-farmed, pasture-raised meat. These animals are better cared for, and put less of a toll on the environment. 

In fact, there’s a lot of research out there that advocates for eating locally, and that doing so could actually be the best thing for the environment. There is a lower carbon footprint if you have to ship food a shorter distance. For me, also, I prefer to support our local businesses if possible, keeping more money in our local economy. 

But you know what else I think about?? Bread. And the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. And pizza dough. And Focaccia with rosemary and sea salt, dipped in good olive oil and balsamic. 

round loaves of sourdough bread

Yesssssss. 

And so it was, for all these various reasons, that I was super happy to see that Flourist finally was able to open up a bricks and mortar location here in Vancouver. 

I’ve been fans of them for a long time (since before they rebranded in their current iteration). They sell local (well, from as far away as the prairies) grains and pulses that are locally milled and high quality. We’re talking heritage grains and Canadian pulses that are a real staple of our economy. 

I used to buy their stuff in local specialty markets, but now they have their own location, so you can go straight to the source! 

Flourist’s location, just off of Commercial Drive in East Van, also houses a mill, a cafe, and space for cooking classes and demos. 

Shelves of dried goods

And–oh joy! They sell sourdough starter, too. 

The space itself is super adorbs, and the cafe itself sells, in addition to baked goods made with their flour, lighter meals like salads made with beans, chickpeas, and millet, as well as toasts made with their homemade bread. 

It honestly makes me so happy to witness and be a part of this whole food revolution. I love that people are beginning to understand that convenience food comes at a price, and we’re starting to look back to the eating habits of our ancestors. 

By the way, if you’re gluten free, you may be able to tolerate this kind of bread. The flour it’s made with is less processed and refined, and its genetic footprint is less refined. In addition, sourdough partially ferments the dough, making it easier to digest. 

a plate of cookies

When I was recently at the new Flourist location, checking it out, I tried one of their Chocolate Chip Cookies.  And then, a couple days later, not shockingly, they showed up on this list of where to get the best Chocolate Chip Cookies in Vancouver. 

At Flourist they bake the entire recipe in a big cast iron fry pan and cut it into wedges, so I’ve done that here. You can either bake your own or head over to Commercial Street to buy them. While you’re there, you’re going to want to pick up some bread, flour, and probably some chickpeas, too. 🙂 

Oh–one last thing. All of the packaging at Flourist is recyclable. Your “to go” coffee will come in a mason jar that you pay a deposit on and then either bring back or keep. Pulses are sold in jars as well. The owners, Janna and Shira, are passionate about the local food movement, and Shira is a long-time plant-based advocate and food blogger. So yeah, this is a small local business you can feel good about supporting. 

Wedges of chocolate chip cookies

Especially when the chocolate chip cookies are made with whole grain flour, and they taste this good.