Next up in my series of hidden gem locations in Ottawa is a bakery; Strawberry Blonde Bakery, to be exact. http://www.strawberryblondebakery.com/ Located in the trendy neighborhood of Westboro, this small bakery goes almost unnoticed, as it is tucked away off of the main streets, on Grange Avenue. This bakery is not to be underestimated, though. They offer a variety of amazing bakery treats and prepared food (frozen, to be taken home and cooked) that are not only gluten free, but nut-free and vegan. And let me tell you, these foods taste as good, if not better, than most of their non-vegan, gluten filled counterparts.
Strawberry Blonde Bakery offers Wholesale and Catering options, which look awesome and reasonably priced, but having never personally experienced these, I can’t really comment on them. What I have done is visited their store on Grange Avenue, and sampled a number of their products. I have also found their products at Farm Boy, although I didn’t enjoy the packaged treats as much as I enjoy the freshly baked daily treats in the bakery store.
Many people have food allergies, and it is amazing to find an establishment that caters to those. Knowing that everything in the bakery is free from these allergens, as well as free from the risk of cross-contamination, allows them to just eat and enjoy, rather than worry about getting sick. The bakery never uses any gluten, wheat, eggs, dairy, nuts, or tree-nuts (with the exception of coconut) in its baking. Furthermore, they assure patrons that these items never ever make it into the kitchen, eliminating that risk of cross-contamination.
The staff is really knowledgeable about each of the products, and patiently respond to questions from patrons. This is really great for those people who want to know exactly what is in the food that they are eating.
You can check out their menu here: http://www.strawberryblondebakery.com/menu.html.
However, if I MAY make a few suggestions, I would highly recommend trying the Cookies and Cream Nanaimo Bar, the Apple Cinnamon or the Maple Blueberry fritter, the Ginger cookie, and the Queen Elizabeth Cake. In terms of savoury food items, I have only sampled the Pulled BBQ Jackfruit handpies and the Jamaican patties. Both were in their freezer, and I took them home to cook. They were fantastic! I’m not a vegetarian, or a vegan, and I loved them. Flakey pastry, amazing seasonings…they are really, really good.
Strawberry Blonde Bakery is on the higher end of the price range, with products in the $2-$4 range for baked goods. The handpies are $4.25 each, which isn’t cheap, given that they are approximately the size of a traditional pizza pocket. However, I am a firm believer in the old “you get what you pay for” adage, and that fits perfectly with this place. Quality, delicious food, but at a slightly higher price. It’s worth it, in my humble opinion!
I would highly recommend checking this place out! Like all of the ‘hidden gem’ locations that I will be profiling, I feel as though it is largely unknown amongst the general population, although clearly a favourite among vegans and celiacs alike! But even if you have no allergies, and just enjoy delicious food, it’s definitely worth the visit!