One of my fondest holiday memories, is sinking my teeth into a freshly baked piece of my Grandmama’s shortbread. She made it from scratch, using the old school British method, resulting in a heavenly flavour, and rich buttery texture that would dissolve in your mouth. My little sister and I would sneak into the parlour every year and raid the fancy glass tray before dinner. We thought we were like little ninjas, but my grandmother likely saw everything.
To this day, every time I bite into a piece of legit shortbread I am instantly transported back to every Christmas of my childhood. It’s incredible how sounds, smells and especially tastes can take us places. Speaking of travelling, this is a good time to segue into our topic for this blog. Not everyone is as savvy with a rolling pin as my Grandmama was, or has the time to do the baking with all the hustle and bustle that goes on around the holidays.
Luckily, South Eastern Ontario is full of amazing local bakeries that have everything you need to spread some holiday love this season. Whether you want to put out some classic crowd pleasers at your next party, indulge yourself, or be an office hero – our latest blog features the most legendary and sought after purveyors of baked finery in The Great Waterway.
Cornwall & the Counties
Riley’s Bakery, Cornwall
Located on Pitt Street, and a short walk from Cornwall’s scenic Lamoureux Park is a little bakery that’s been serving up a bounty of delicious items since 1922. Riley’s Bakery offers a selection of fantastic items including soups and sandwiches that are perfect after a walk along the Seaway City’s gorgeous waterfront.
I have it on good authority that Riley’s makes some ridiculously awesome cheesecakes, and other life-altering desserts to experience. Two words: Twix Cheesecake. For more info and to get in touch – follow Riley’s Bakery on Facebook!
Cakes & More, Cornwall
Cornwall’s Cakes & More specializes in fresh baked bread & rolls made with wholesome and natural ingredients. This is also a great place to go for custom cake designs, delectable desserts, and other goodies that are sure to be the talk of your next holiday party!
Sweet Tooth Bakery, Lancaster
Lancaster Ontario’s Sweet Tooth Bakery has been serving up made-from-scratch pies and pastries for nearly 25 years! Sweet Tooth’s big claim to fame is their butter tarts, and I’m told that they’re currently on pace to make 35,000 of them this year! This family operated bakery follows the age-old “made with lard and love” approach – striving to make delicious items that your grandmother would approve of.
Rideau Heritage Route
Nana B’s Bakery, Merrickville
Nestled within the fabled Jewel of The Rideau you will find Nana B’s Bakery. The bakery’s owner: Anne Barr and her award-winning Maple Rhubarb Butter Tarts have been a delicious beacon that places Merrickville, Ontario on the #foodie map. With the exception of salt, the ingredients for these bodacious butter tarts are sourced entirely from Eastern Ontario!
Grahame’s Bakery, Kemptville
For hearty baked goods with a historic edge, look no further than the heritage hearth at Grahame’s Bakery. This fascinating and iconic bakery has been in operation for over one hundred and thirty years!
Using a vintage wood-fired oven this famous bakery in Kemptville Ontario creates decadent delights for every taste! From mincemeat pies to raisin scones and scintillating cinnamon buns – Grahame’s has all your holiday treats – with a timeless and unique taste.
Westport Bakery, Westport
Planted firmly as a fixture of Westport’s business community is a famous little Bakery that is aptly named. The Westport Bakery is a splendid little storefront featuring a fine collection of decadent baked goods. From cherry tarts to pies, cakes and beyond – the Westport Bakery draws countless visitors to the little town, for the express purpose of enjoying their products.
Brockville & 1000 Islands
Tait’s Fresh Start, Brockville
Tait’s Fresh Start is a sought-after source of mind-blowingly moist, melt in your mouth cheesecakes and a broad selection of sinful delights. From pies that pop to sandwich platters that don’t stop – this Brockville bakery belongs on your list.
Seriously, their red velvet cake is my spirit animal.
Hall’s Apple Market, Brockville
Step into the bakery at Hall’s Apple Market and take a deep breath. That amazing apple induced aroma is what happy smells like. This Brockville market and bakery is favourite among locals and travellers alike. Look here for an amazing array of strudels, cinnamon buns, cookies, along with several varieties of amazing pies!
Willard’s Bakery, Athens
A short drive North of Brockville will land you in the quaint village of Athens, Ontario; and the home of Willard’s Bakery! Their popular butter tarts and cookies can be found in just about any corner store in the area – and I can personally vouch for their tastiness.
Aside from cookies and tarts, Willard’s Bakery is also famous for several fine products including soups, sandwiches, wraps and more!
Gananoque & 1000 Islands
Panache Bakery, Gananoque
For me, a trip to Gananoque is not complete without a stop at Panache Bakery. In fact, it’s mandatory.
This quaint bakery located at the Gateway to The 1000 Islands makes real food, without the use of preservatives or additives. You’ll find everything from scones, to danishes, sandwiches, premium roasted coffee, and so much more.
Kingston & 1000 Islands
For close to 20 years Wendy Whitall and her family have been baking delicious goodies at Bread and Butter Bakery. Wendy comes from a family that believed in the importance of home cooked meals and carries on this tradition today. Now, the bakery has close to 30 employees and has grown into one of the most highly regarded bakeries in the Kingston area.
I have personally tried several of their cakes, as my Grandmama would order them from Bread and Butter after her retirement from home baking. Everything produced by the Whitalls is of superb quality – and uses a key ingredient that is vital to success. Love.
Card’s Bakery & Goods, Kingston
Another famous #YGK bakery is Card’s. They follow a strict “made from scratch” mantra and a philosophy handed down to current owner Jen Moon, by her grandmother – the original founder of Card’s. This is a prime destination for several types of delicious foods, ranging from seasonal favourites to hearty quiches, sausage rolls and other mouthwatering items.
For over 40 years Card’s has been a local favourite, and staple bakery made famous by their simple, yet consistent approach to quality.
Pan Chancho Bakery, Restaurant & Takeout, Kingston
Originally used as the bakery for Kingston’s famous Chez Piggy Restaurant, the legendary Pan Chancho Bakery is another celebrated local establishment built upon family and a passion for cooking. In the decades since opening – the Pan Chancho has grown from a small storefront to become a magnificent and prominent pillar of Downtown Kingston’s business community.
I could prattle on all day about the amazing selection of fine foods available at Pan Chancho – but it’s likely better if you just go and experience it for yourself. Pan Chancho is an excellent choice If you want to score major host or hostess points, or simply indulge in a blissful baked snack. Pro-Tip: The Maple Chomeur Cake will blow your mind.
Land O Lakes
Ellena’s Etc., Napanee
Ellena’s is a lovely little cafe and kitchen shop situated in the heart of beautiful downtown Napanee! For the past seven years, they have specialized in small batch baking. They have several popular items including a particularly fabled coconut cream pie – which is made with an actual coconut crust making it a delectable and gluten-free delight!
Look to Ellena’s for other tempting treats like carrot cake, French Canadian sugar Cream Fudge, pecan tarts – and so many more! This quaint cafe is made only more charming by its mom’s kitchen feel, complete with laughter, love and the iconic creeky floors.
Bay of Quinte
L’Auberge de France, Belleville
You could fly to Paris to get a proper croissant. Or, take a short drive to Belleville, Ontario and visit the fine folks at L’Auberge de France – and spend what you saved in airfare, on tasty and legitimate French Pastries. Owners Sheranda and Jean-Marc have brought an authentic Parisian dining experience, to the Bay of Quinte region, with their charming bistro.
Jean-Marc was educated at the Brevet d‘Études Professionnelles de Cuisine and is a venerable master of his craft. Just one look at the bakery page on their website, and you’ll be smitten. If you are looking for a catering option that will put your office holiday party on the map (and in the history books), look no further.
Wannamakers Bakeshop, Trenton
Wannamaker’s Bakeshop is a brand new bakery in Quinte West, and is already quite the sensation! Owned by Melanie and Paul Anderson along with their family, this business is a longtime dream made a reality. Customers have been pouring into Wannamaker’s since they opened in mid-November.
Based on the immense support from customers, and the evident passion of the Anderson family – this bakery appears to be set for a successful (and delicious) future. For a preview of what’s in store, have a look at the gallery of goodies on their Facebook page!
Honourable Mention: Rachel’s Tarts, Trenton
Fun fact Time! Rachel’s Butter Tarts are a buttery, and blissful treat fit for the table of Odin himself. You see them everywhere, from grocery stores to gas stations, and Ma & Pa shops throughout the region.
But have you ever wondered where those heavenly treats come from? Right here in Trenton, Ontario. Boom!
My earliest memory of a Rachel’s butter tart goes back to my young bachelor days when the Federal Government informed me (to my dismay) that I can’t legally marry a baked good.
Prince Edward County
The Perfect Lil’ Bake Shop, Picton
Located a short drive from Picton on the scenic Loyalist Parkway is the Perfect Lil Bake Shop. There you’ll find a fine selection of pies, cupcakes, cookies, scones, jams in addition to several other pasties. It’s an ideal place to stop when you’re either arriving in or leaving Prince Edward County by way of the Parkway.
Schroedter’s Farm Market, Bakery & Cafe, Bloomfield
Schroedter’s Farm Market is a unique business providing home-made foods and baked goods. For those with dietary concerns, it’s worth noting that they specialize in Gluten-free products.
This is also a great place to pick up organic products including grass-fed beef, and ethically raise chicken in addition to produce. Schroedter’s motto is to provide products that are not only healthy but taste good!
The Campbell’s Orchards Bakery, Carrying Place
In addition to an amazing selection of baked goods, Campbell’s Orchards is also a fantastic place to pick up some memorable stocking stuffers like jams, preserves, relishes and more. For 34 years Colin and Dianne Campbell have been hard at work, providing a popular assortment of delicious foods that draw scores of visitors to The County year-round!
Wellington Bakery, Wellington
Located in the picturesque town of Wellington, this local bakery is a prime choice for European style bread, buns and pastries made with wholesome and natural ingredients. The Wellington Bakery is also a prime source of Christmas favourites including Gingerbread, Ginger Snaps, Rum Balls, Eclairs, Plum Pudding, and more!
Enid Grace Cafe, Wellington
The best way to describe this amazing bakery situated in the heart of Prince Edward County is in Enid’s own words:
“Pastry is a passion and at times a torrid love affair. Traditional European pastry takes time, patience and immense attention to detail. What I love most about it, however, is that it requires an engagement of all my senses. When striving to prepare the most authentic pastry experience, the smell, look, feel and taste are all crucial; from the start of the process to the finished result.”
Let Your Tastebuds Do The Travelling!
As always, thanks for reading! The field research for this particular post was a fairly intense, (and tasty) process. It’s a scrumptious job – and someone has to do it. I hope you get a chance to travel to one, or more of these amazing bakeries and experience it for yourself.
We’ve put together an extensive Google Map that has, even more, locations for you to check out. At this point, I’ve been exposed to so many delicious things; I’m ready to eat my laptop.