Victoria British Columbia: Pastry, Chocolate, and Tea
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Breakfast, we've all heard, is the most important meal of the day. Not only can it be delicious, but it makes you feel much less guilty when you munch your way through everything else if you've had a decadently delicious breakfast.
Willie's Bakery & CafeHave breakfast at Willie's Bakery & Cafe. It's the oldest bakery in Victoria and you can even sleep in the two guestrooms upstairs in a heritage building in the neighborhood called LoJo -- Lower Johnson. I can enthusiastically recommend the delicious brioche French toast, richly flavored and garnished with strawberries. The eggs (from free range chickens) are tasty and the maple bacon was lightly smoked with a hint of sweetness. Willie's offers full breakfasts and lunches daily, focusing on local and organic ingredients. A delicious start to your day.
Patisserie Daniel Transports You to Pastry HeavenFor take-away light meals and pastry for any and all occasions -- there's one total standout. Patisserie Daniel. The feather light mushroom and Parmesan quiche with a hint of a crust was delicious. Their almond chocolate croissant had me swooning. There's really nothing more to say. If I lived in Victoria I would go there daily, stuff myself with pastries, savories, anything and everything, and walk around smiling all the time.
MurchiesAn alternative for a lighter and more casual but quite excellent breakfast is Murchies at 1110 Government Street. There's plenty of seating, including comfortable chairs and low tables for a sitting-in-the-living-room feel. They serve breakfast (quiches, muffins, croissants, scones), lunch and of course, their teas (their coffee is good, too).
Let Them Drink TeaSpeaking of tea, Special Teas Inc on Fort Street offers an impressive selection of teas with blacks, greens, oolongs, rooibos, honeybush, yerba mate and combinations of them all. They do all their own blending using only natural flavors based on dried fruit and flowers. They also offer invitingly cozy seating. On the edge of Chinatown, slip into Silk Road -- light, airy, sophisticated. Is tea the new wine? Yes, if owner Daniela Cubelic has anything to say about it. Silk Road offers tea tastings, tea pairings (with chocolate), tea seminars and workshops. You can't eat there, but you can, and will, want to sample and buy their 100% organic teas. After years of training with Chinese and Taiwanese tea masters and herbalists, Ms. Cubelic achieved tea master status in 1995 and opened Silk Road Tea. She sources the world's best organic, rare, single-estate and exotic teas. Try their Philosopher's Brew combining lemongrass, citrus peel, rosehips, and lavender blossoms. Excellent! Silk Road's newest offering is tea and chocolate pairings. The chocolate is locally made artisan chocolate. One pairing was Peach Paradise - a peach black tea - with a smoked caramel dark chocolate flavored with Lapson Suchong. Unique, delicious, intriguing. The chocolate is from Spinnakers, a local bistro and brewpub (as well as a guesthouse). Spinnakers' pasty chef Crystal Duck creates their artisan chocolates using TCHO dark chocolate flavored with chilies, lavender, earl grey tea, cocoa, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and more.
For Lovers of ChocolateFor chocolate we have two places to recommend: Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut at 621 Broughton Street; and the venerable Rogers on Government Street.
At Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut (now owned by Cococo Chocolatiers) my personal favorite is their candied orange peel in dark chocolate. Nothing but chocolate and orange -- lovely.On Government Street stop in Roger's Chocolate. They have been making chocolate for over 125 years and do it very well. There are often some free samples for tasting, but you'll want to buy these delicious mouthfuls to bring home.
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