A few years ago when we moved to midtown, we found a wonderful French patiserrie called Rahier which was reputed to sell “authentic” French pastries rivaling those found in Paris. Some of their best sellers include the chocolate croissant (pain de chocolat) and the citrus brioche. Another of my favorites is the pistachio danish.
Rahier opens at 8am on the weekends. It is so popular that in the nicer weather, there is often a lineup forming outside the closed shop from around 7:45am. I used to arrive at the place some time after 10am to ask for some of the favorites, only to be given a look of pity and the words Oh no, we've sold out of those long ago. I've since learned that you show up early or don't bother.
Last year, my husband Rich and I finally visited Paris. We made a point to visit as many patisseries as we find, and we found them everywhere. One of the oldest and most famous in Paris is called Stroher, in the Les Halles district. We tried the pain de chocolat there and in many other patisseries and had mixed emotions to discover that Rahier really did measure up. On the one hand, having traveled all the way to Paris, we were hoping to find a special treat. But on the other hand, there are worse things than having authentic Parisan style pastries right in your home town.
Recently we've discovered the Rahier cookies and are now addicted to those as well. The delicious mini bite-sized cookies come in many varieties. My favorites include the florentine, the lemon shortbread covered with chocolate, and the pistachio cream in an almond meringue. A box of cookies make a wonderful hostess gift, if you can stop from "sampling" them before you have to give them away.
Rahier Patisserie Inc.
1586 Bayview Ave.
Toronto, Ont M4G 3B7