Photo Guide: The Best Vancouver Bakeries

a Best Bakeries Uprising 1Vancouver has some real good bread to offer!

For the Romans, 'bread and circus' was a popular metaphor describing the tools of political leadership. During a famine in France when the population was demanding bread, Marie Antoinette famously quipped that they should simply eat cake. Luckily for us, we live in a time and place where both bread and cake is plentiful, and can often be found next to each other on the self.

a2 Best Bakeries Uprising 4Uprising Breads Storefront

For some of us, there's hardly anything as tempting as the confections found glittering behind the glass of a good bakery. And whether you're looking for a sumptuous, gooey cupcake or for a nutty whole-wheat loaf, the following Vancouver bakeries have got what you need.

Uprising Breads

Address: 1697 Venables Street
Website: www.uprisingbreads.com
Telephone: 604-254-5635

There's a rebellion underway in East Vancouver. It's been going on for over 30 years. It's a revolt against the characterless, colourless, flavourless mass-produced breads that have overcome our markets, and it's led by Uprising Breads.

Known primarily for the preservative-free loaves of sliced bread found on store shelves across the city, Uprising Breads also has their own bakery and cafe just off Commercial Drive on Venables. Free from artificial ingredients and sweetened only with honey and molasses, Uprising is famous for their artisan breads such as their Cracked Wheat and Sunflower, or their flagship organic multi-grain Grainful Bread. These are some of the best sandwich or toast breads you're likely to find and, surprisingly, they aren't that much more costly than your generic supermarket brands.

a3 Best Bakeries Uprising 19The interior is warm and welcoming

Sometimes, though, you aren't in the mood for a sandwich. Sometimes you just need something that's been covered in chocolate, drizzled with icing, or filled with custard. If you find yourself in such a mood, then head right over to the Uprising Breads Cafe. Not only do they have ample seating, pleasant decor and a great atmosphere. They have cinnamon buns. They have bundt cakes. They've got muffins and cookies galore.

If there is one thing though which you must absolutely try, it is their Apple Druzzle. I don't know what a druzzle is, or how it differs from a strudel, but I'm happy they exist. And you should be too.

Pastries range from about from $2-3. A loaf of fresh bread runs about $4.69.

a4 Best Bakeries Uprising 9Uprising Breads Muffins
a5 Best Bakeries Uprising 6The bakery has a pleasant decor and a great atmosphere
a6 Best Bakeries Uprising 18Uprising Breads products are sweetened only with honey and molasses
a7 Best Bakeries Uprising 7U.B.C Cake
a8 Best Bakeries Uprising 12Wheat & Gluten Free Sweets

Terra Breads

Address: 1605 Manitoba Street
Website: www.terrabreads.com
Telephone: 604 877 1183

Another artisan bakery that's been keeping the fires of authentic baking burning in Vancouver is Terra Breads. First opening their doors 22 years ago in Kitsilano, Terra Breads now has four locations throughout the city. My favourite is probably their newest location in Olympic Village. At 1605 Manitoba Street, this enormous bakery cafe is right off the seawall, with great views of the False Creek waterfront.

b1 Terra Breads 9Terra Breads Café Storefront

I got in touch with Jill Lansky, to get her take on the secret the popularity of Terra Breads.

While we do have a few of signature or notable products, what truly differentiates us is our fermentation process. Not all bread is equal, especially in terms of fermentation, and we believe this is what sets our bread apart.
The age-old preparation and preservation technique of fermentation enhances flavor and aids in nutritional digestion. Our natural starter takes its time with a 2-day sourdough fermentation process. The result provides great taste and texture, which slowly develop as the grains transform. There are also many health benefits including a low glycemic index (so you don't "crash") and enhanced digestion and enzymes, which, in turn, makes nutrients more bio-available to your body. We have 15 flavour profiles of Sourdough bread which is quite unique.

The variety of breads available from Terra is truly astonishing. And we aren't talking sliced bread. From cornbread to green olive fougasse with everything in between, you're pretty much guaranteed to find something you've never tried before. Ever wanted to try Fig and Anise bread? Well now you can. I'm told that Mary MacKay, the head baker, prefers the Pain de Campagne, an organic country loaf in the French style. Most of their bread loaves sell for around $5.50.

b2 Terra Breads 11The variety of breads available from Terra is truly astonishing

But that's only half the story. If it's your sweet tooth that's demanding satisfaction, you'll find an array of pastries and goodies that rivals even the bread selection. We're talking Belgian chocolate brownies, macaroons, and cinnamon brioche. If I had to recommend one thing, I'd have to go with the blueberry white chocolate foccacia. This Italian-inspired sweet is, unsurprisingly, one of Terra's top sellers. At $3.75, it's a real temptation.

A great place to visit for coffee and a snack, some dessert, or even for lunch. Not to be missed.

b3 Terra Breads 4Terra Breads Cornbread
b5 Terra Breads 3French Baguettes
b6 Terra Breads 7The wide selection of wine
b7 Terra Breads 8#WeHeartRaspberry

Breka

Address: 6533 Fraser Street
Website: www.breka.ca
Telephone: 604-325-6612

I discovered Breka years ago when I was on a mission to find a Napoleon cake. I had been hoping to find one of the Russian style rather than the French. The difference, apparently, is that the Russian cakes have several more layers. According to Russians, this is meant to symbolize all the layers Napoleon's vanquished army had to don as they retreated from the Russian winter. I settled for the three-layered French version, and I was not disappointed.

b8 Breka 6Breka Bakery & Café Storefront

Since 2006, Breka on Fraser and 49th has been filling a big niche. This European-style bakery, which offers a huge variety of handmade breads and pastries, is open 24 hours a day. Now, in a town where pretty much your only option for a midnight snack is Tim Hortons, this in itself justifies inclusion on this list. But besides their hours, Breka is unequivocally one of the best bakeries in town. Since opening their first location on Fraser, two more spots have opened up on Davie and Bute, testifying to the popularity of this gourmet bakery.

b9 Breka 15Eat - Bake - Cake

Breka is a great if you're looking for a spot to hang out for bit. Whether you're a student needing to get some late-night studying in, or you're meeting a friend for tea, each of the Breka locations is cozy, classy, and comfortable. I spoke with owner Adam Granot about the diversity of their locations, and their customers.

We get call kinds of customers. We focus on the community and the location.

And it's true. Unlike many chains, each Breka has a unique vibe. In fact I didn't realize at firstthat the cafe I entered on Davie was an offshoot of the much-beloved spot on Fraser.

b10 Breka 17Breka boasts a seriously overwhelming assortment of pretty things

I also asked Adam what seems to keep the customers coming back.

Well, one of our more popular breads is the bee sting bread, which is a traditional yeast cake filled with whip cream and custard and is topped with candied almonds. It's a type of German wheat cake". And it's not the only the German-inspired item on the menu. Many of Breka's breads are of German origin.

They aren't just a place for those with German sensibilities. Breka boasts a seriously overwhelming assortment of pastries, pies and pretty things. I've already mentioned the Napoleon cakes. They also make a pretty mean London Fog. In addition to their Napoleon cakes, I highly recommend the chocolate éclairs.

b11 Breka 5The staff are professional and helpful
b12 Breka 7Breka is the best spot to hang out for bit
b13 Breka 10Taste one of the best bakeries in the town!
b14 Breka 14Delicious Sweets

Transylvanian Traditions

Address: 1111 Davie Street
Website: www.transylvaniantraditions.com
Telephone: 604-682-0096

Unlike the other bakeries on this list, at Transylvanian Traditions you won't find any loaves of bread. This bakery is full-on, non-stop, take-no-prisoners pastries.

b16 Transylvanian 1Transylvanian Traditions Storefront

Most Canadians don't know much about Transylvania, except that vampires live there. Transylvania is actually part of modern Romania, the birthplace of Narcisa Stoian who moved to Vancouver is 2007. Not finding any of the Romanian deserts she grew up with, Narcisa took matters into her own hands. In 2008, Transylvanian Traditions opened as an old-fashioned, preservative-free, dessert bakery. They now offer over 25 different cakes and goodies, and have become a local favourite.

Everything we make is totally from scratch, Narcisa tells me. Nothing artificial and no additives.

This do-it-yourself approach is part of the explanation for their enormous popularity in Vancouver, because everything they do is unique.

Even our eclairs are different. We make our cream, our own filo pastries, nothing comes from the freezer.

But the care for quality and the commitment to truly fresh ingredients isn't the whole story. Transylvannian Traditions has made a name for themselves carrying a particular confection you definitely won't find anywhere else. This is, of course, the traditional Romanian kürtőskalács, otherwise known as Chimney Cakes.

b17 Transylvanian 12The traditional Romanian kürtőskalács

A specialty of Transylvanian Traditions, this cake has been around for centuries in Hungarian-speaking regions, and now it's drawing visitors to this Vancouver bakery from as far away as Seattle. 'It's unique, very tasty, and not too sweet. Once they've had it, they always come back!" explains Narcisa.

Unlike most baked goods, kürtőskalács are made over a rotisserie grill. While historically animal horn was used for the rotisserie, Transylvanian Traditions is using wood. The pastry is wrapped around a mold and covered in sugar. As the sugar melts into caramel, they sprinkle on bits of walnut. It's then removed from the mold, producing a long, delicious tube.

They Chimney Cake sells for $5.50 for 300g. As Narcisa says,

Compare that to a croissant, which is maybe 20 grams for $3.75? It's just a great value for the quantity!

b18 Transylvanian 9The bakery's helpful staff
b19 Transylvanian 4This bakery is guaranteed to have some delights you won't find elsewhere
b20 Transylvanian 10Many of the desserts are made with alcohol
b21 Transylvanian 2Chimney Cakes

Meet The Photographer: Kevin Eng

Kevin EngKevin Eng

Kevin's passion for photography has encouraged others to see the splendor and beauty of nature right at their doorstep, as he captures the sights of the day, and colors and mystery of world while it sleeps. Many of the subjects of his work are based locally in his hometown in Vancouver, B.C., where he first discovered his fascination with night photography. Kevin is currently working as a music teacher, music director for his church, and landscape photographer.

DSKEDT

7 Responses to “Photo Guide: The Best Vancouver Bakeries”

  1. The Best Downtown Vancouver Bakeries

    […] Vancouver has a heart like no other city. Centred on the small downtown peninsula, maybe twenty-seven blocks wide at its widest, fifteen blocks deep, it’s a small core. The downtown core is a microcosm of the city as a whole. Here, hands-on bakers still produce wonderful bread, food for the heart. These bakeries are all within easy walking distance. That’s why I’ve decided to stroll around and sample some of the finest products of some of the best downtown Toronto bakeries. […]

  2. Not impressed

    Have to say having sampled some of the “baked” goods Vancouver has to offer it pales in comparison to Montreal.
    You want amazing baked goods, try Montreal. Best you’ll find after Paris.

  3. Best Bakeries in Vancouver - Updated! | Vancouver Homes

    […] Photo Guide: The Best Vancouver Bakeries […]

  4. Nottes Bon Ton

    The best bakery is the bon ton it has been in Vancouver for 89 years you have to see this bakery

  5. Kelly Wagter

    Looking forward to visiting Vancouver this Spring , <3 to visit theses Bakeries

  6. Steffany

    Great article beautiful pictures very informative, but too bad you didn’t get someone to proofread before you put it up :) It has a number of typos in it.

  7. Jay Banks

    Hi Steffany,

    Thank you for your comment, we will proofread the article one more time!

    Cheers,

    Jay

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