Montreal has always had tasty pastries, and, now, a high quality bakery is never more than a few blocks away. However, the constant stress of midterms, papers, and job applications can make it difficult for students to venture out of the McGill bubble and fully appreciate all of the baked goods that Montreal has to offer. The McGill Tribune is here to help add some sweetness to students’ lives with a short list of some of the most well-respected bakeries just a short walk or bus ride away from McGill’s Downtown campus.
Located north of St. Joseph and St. Laurent, Boulangerie Guillaume features an impressive array of fresh-baked breads, pastries, sandwiches, and decadent desserts. Through big windows that face the sidewalk, the various breads and pastries that decorate the wall behind the counter will instantly attract passers-by. Upon entering, customers can peer back into the kitchen to see their bread steaming as it comes out of the oven.
The interior setup can be a little bit confusing. The pastry and bread selections are on display near the entrance, so customers can easily see all of these options. The sandwiches and cookies, however, are hidden beyond the cash register. Bags of day-old baked goods—offered at a discounted price—are opposite the counter, which can make them easy to miss. Yet, with a wide range of traditional and creative takes on all things baked, no customer leaves Boulangerie Guillaume disappointed.
Just steps away from Square St. Louis, Mamie Clafoutis offers the perfect selection for a summer picnic in the park or a cozy coffee date. From their Oh mon Dieu! croissants to their shortbread cookies, this local favourite consistently delivers rich, buttery sweets baked to perfection. They also make traditional French breads, pies, tarts, and sandwiches, which customers can enjoy on a lovely mezzanine with couches, tables, wifi, and a piano. Even better, the upstairs area has a view of the kitchen, so diners can watch bakers mix, roll, and shape dough into Mamie Clafoutis’ signature flaky pastries.
Les Co’Pains d’Abord
Although small, Les Co’Pains d’Abord, tucked away on Rue Rachel just off of St. Denis, is full of beautiful pastries and desserts. The first display case features an assortment of simple yet gorgeous goods. Highlights include the choco grand cru—a croissant with perfectly-even stripes of chocolate—a danish with apple slices cleanly laid across each other, and glossy brioches that come in assorted flavours. Meticulously-decorated cakes, tarts, cookies, and pies, the flavours of which vary with the season, line the shelves of the second display case. Cakes like the irrésistible au chocolat and the mille feuille feature intricate designs, showcasing Les Co’Pains d’Abord’s attention to detail.
A Montreal classic, this bakery is named for its signature treat, the kouign-amann: A Breton cake with layers of butter, sugar, and pastry dough with a caramelized exterior. While it isn’t much to look at, the kouign amann, with its rich sweetness, is scrumptious. The bakery sells the pastry by the slice or as a full cake that can easily be taken to go. Kouign Amann does not serve a wide variety of sweets, but what they do make is superb: The chocolate in the pain au lait choco is sweet and smooth, the rolls are perfectly sugary and crispy, and the apple turnover, with a flavourful filling and a crunchy, photogenic pastry, is always satisfying. On the savoury side, Kouign Amann offers assorted quiches as well as croissants with various combinations of ham, cheeses, and vegetables inside. To make a complete meal, customers can pair their baked goods with a coffee or one of Kouign Amann’s fresh, homemade juices.