When you’ve pretty much made it a life mission to source and sample all of the best baked concoctions in Canada and beyond, it’s safe to say that you know a thing or two about where the best bakeries are located. Especially if you grew up with baking in your blood the way Rachel Smith and Jean Parker did.
So as the first season of The Baker Sisters wraps up on December 1, it only made sense to ask the sisterly duo to dish on their favourite bakeries, letting us all know where to indulge the next time we crave sweet, sugary cinnamon rolls or the best baked bread around.
Here are seven of the sisters’ top picks; some are their local haunts and some are new ones they fell in love with while filming The Baker Sisters.
Christie’s Mayfair Bakery LTD, Saskatoon
If it’s a family style, European bakery experience you’re looking for, then Christie’s is certainly it. From their pretty cookies to their bountiful breads, this establishment has the vibe and flavours to match.
“They’re an Italian family. For lunch, they brought over their stone pizza oven that’s on a trailer and they made pizzas for everybody, even in the community,” Rachel recalls. “People came over and they were giving them free pizzas. This bakery actually figured out when we were flying back home, and they met us at the airport with boxes of granola and t-shirts just to say thank you. You felt like you were one of the family.”
Watch baker Tracey make cannoncini, an Italian pastry classic:
Sugar Bakeshop, Charleston, SC
This small-batch bakeshop is known for its made-to-order concoctions and wedding-worthy, seasonal cupcakes, but it was the place’s small-town charm that really spoke to this sisterly duo.
“The vibe those guys were putting out was amazing,” Jean says. “[They’re] huge members of the community. We could stay there forever and their baked goods were delicious. They were so welcoming and hospitable. Southerners do have their charm.”
@sugarbakeshop So very happy to welcome the fabulous #TheBakerSisters @jeanparkertoronto & @rachelelizabethsmith Filming our little bakeshop for their new, upcoming tv show! Thanks to both of you and your whole delightful crew. It was a pleasure to have you in our shop! Please come back soon, y'all! #charlestonlife #charlestonsc #charleston
Leslieville Cheese Market, Toronto
Don’t let the name fool you—this establishment may have earned a huge reputation for its amazing variety of cheeses, but this shop knows how to whip up some baked goods to match—especially when it comes to melt-in-your-mouth, buttery croissants.
“I love Leslieville Cheese Market. They have the best butter croissant,” Rachel raves. “You gotta go early because they go quick, and I normally buy two.”
Jean admits that choosing an all-encompassing farmers’ market is “cheating” slightly, but both sisters call out Henry from The Humble Bread for having “beautiful” breads, and Alli’s Bread for the amazing cinnamon buns.
“The cinnamon bun at Alli’s will blow your mind,” Rachel says.
“You really have to share it. As much as it hurts my heart to share, you have to because it’s so sweet and lovely. And huge,” Jean adds.
This traditional bakery makes everything fresh and in-house, and they have a wide variety of goods including breads, pies, sweets and cookies. For Rachel though, this place is her local haunt for one pretty big reason: its chocolate croissant.
“They do a chocolate croissant that no matter what time of day it is, and even if it was made in the morning, when you bite into it, it melts,” she says. “It’s not a hard piece of chocolate. I want one right now.”
The Rooster Coffee House, Toronto
To be fair, the location that Jean frequents on Broadview in Toronto gets their baked goods from places like Jules Patisserie and Circles and Squares. Still, it’s still her favourite place to hang out at while enjoying a hot beverage and a pastry (or two).
“They have the best view of the city, 100 per cent, on the patio,” she says. “The baked goods are plentiful and gorgeous and delicious.”
Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, Toronto
When pie is a part of your name it’s safe to say that you know how to whip up a mean tart or two. The sisters experienced this firsthand when they visited Wanda to learn her tricks of the trade, and the establishment has since become one of their favourites.
“When we baked at Wanda’s, that sour cherry pie,” Rachel remembers. “She made the best sour cherry pie. She’s known for her pie, and her favourite is the sour cherry pie and one of the first pies she really started making. It blew your mind.”
OK, we’re sold. Road trip, anyone?