The Queen of Tarts

Saturday, April 09, 2011
For quite some time now, I've been hearing nothing but great things about a couple of bakeries in town:  Queen of Tarts and Duchess.  Looking for something to do this weekend, I finally decided to take a trip to Queen of Tarts, since its only a few blocks from our apartment, and dragged mommikins along.  First off, we hit City Centre mall to do a little shopping.  I picked up a lovely blue sweater set from Talbots and fell in love with almost everything in the store.  However, there was a rude reminder from the mirror that big girls really shouldn't wear pleats.  Damn that cute lilac skirt.

We then made our way to 104th Street and the bakery.  Queen of Tarts is located in the basement of a building just off of Jasper Avenue (10129-104 Street); if you know the area, its just a few doors down from one of my favourite restaurants in Edmonton, the Blue Plate Diner.  It was only about 11 am but there was quite a crowd.  The bakery is spacious with a high ceiling, white walls and plenty of bright lighting. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a table to sit down and relax so we ordered a few items to share and headed home.  I was a bit disappointed in the size of the their seating area; it seemed as though they only offered four tables but there could have been more off to the side that we couldn't see.  However, this is a minor point.  The bakery was a delight to visit.  There were four cases of baked goods to tempt the eye as well as an entire wall of freshly baked breads made from locally sourced ingredients.  They also offered samples of fresh baked brioches, chewy buns, and a number of artisan breads.  My favourite?  There was a heavy, chewy multigrained bread, the name of which I didn't catch and an apriocot loaf that made my tastebuds dance with joy.  Scones, hummus, quiches, and a number of other fresh goodies rounded out the offerings this weekend.

Mom and I settled (after MUCH debate) on a coconut sqaure for her...

Coconut Square - no review from mommikins yet
An apricot square to share (can you spare a square?)...
Apricot Square
I found the apricot square was just a tad bit too sweet for my liking; it was similar to a date square and I was expecting something a bit lighter.  However, a small dollop of fresh whipped cream would have been a perfect accompaniment and likely have cut the sweetness.

And finally, a Carrot Tulip for myself.

Carrot Tulip
I love carrot cake but most places seem to include either raisins or walnuts in their versions so I was a bit apprehensive (raisins aren't bad but walnuts and I are not allowed to come into contact!).  I asked one of the ladies if there was any nuts in their version and when she returned from asking the baker, she said no nuts just coconut.  Um...what?  Coconut?  In carrot cake?  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  Not a huge fan of coconut but it sounded fascinating and today was all about trying something new (I was originally tempted by the brioche cinammon bun tulips); yes, please!

Good choice!  Unlike commercial carrot cakes, the Queen of Tarts version was light tasting while still dense.  The coconut wasn't overpowering and added a lovely texture to the cake.  The tulip was topped with a citrus-y cream cheese and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.  The icing was again just a bit too sweet for me and the cake portion could have used a hint more cinammon/nutmeg/something (whatever it is that goes into carrot cake) but I would certainly order it again.  Despite its deceivingly cupcake-like size, when I unwrapped it, it could easily have fed both of us (but I ate it all myself!).

Queen of Tarts bakery is a definite yes for me!  In fact, I'm probably going to make Beef Bourguignon for Easter this year and I'll be popping into QoT for a loaf of one of their fabulous breads to enjoy with it!

Sigh...once again, she didn't bring anything back for us cats. 


Wandering Coyote said...

Wow, great bakery review! I must visit sometime! Your pictures are awesome. I love coconut.

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