Sweet MIVA winners

Photo by Tanya Goehring. Styling by Robin Del Pino, Jordyn Taylor-Robins.

Co-Winner

Salted Caramel Canelé from La Bise

Le macaron est mort. The fancy French pastry sandwich was always better suited to Instagram shots, than, you know, eating. But in its place we offer a Gallic delicacy with an equally august history, but that, with its mix of rum, vanilla and custard, tastes great.  Unlike macarons, which taste equally meh the world over, the knock on canelé is that, like a pint of Guinness or Portuguese pastéis de nata, they don’t travel. So what a revelation to find La Bise, a small bakery just south of Granville Island with no website and whose owner, Nicole Scriabin, possesses a preternatural ability to make canelé so authentic that you’ll swear you’re on the banks of Gironde enjoying them with a small tumbler of Château d’Yquem. And while La Bise’s “standard” version is the most authentic, we’re giving the nod to the version with a dab of dense salted caramel on top. Perhaps not so Bordelaise, but we think our French friends would appreciate the delicious insouciance.

$4.25, instagram.com/labisebakery

Co-Winner

Basque Cheesecake from El Mercat

Opening the box on one of these authentic creations from transplanted Spaniard Jonathan Sanz is very much an Ode to Joy moment. Before you is a perfectly imperfect, all-natural wonder, wrapped in rope with a lovely, perfectly charred top. And, once you dig in, it gets better. Dense but light, sweet but savoury, the merest possible hint of a crust holding it all together—it’s truly beautiful. And then the price—anyone who’s made a proper cheesecake at home knows it’s an expensive endeavour, so to see a tariff of $35 on a cake that, while they claim it feeds four to six, could easily feed eight? It’s insanity, and maybe the most affordable indulgence in town right now.

$25 small, $35 medium, elmercat.ca

Smores

Honourable Mention

Smore Toffee from Two Brothers Toffee

For the most part, the nostalgia of s’mores tops the taste of s’mores, but the toffee whisperers at Two Brothers Toffee transform the chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow and a big assist from their artisanal toffee  into something worthy of remembering.

$19.99, twobrotherstoffee.com

miss chen jam

Honourable Mention

Kaya Pandan Jam from Miss Chen

There’s a lot of reasons to go into business, but this one is sorta uniquely awesome: “Miss Chen Kaya is a jam company started by me, Isabelle Chen, because I wanted to fundraise for a dog last spring.” The result is a rich, smooth kaya (coconut jam) flavoured with pandan leaves that’s a welcome quick trip to Singapore in these non-travel times.

$6.50-$8, misschenkaya.com

MIVA sweet finalists

Left to right, top to bottom: Signature Bak'd Cookie Box, Chubby Puppy Cookies, Matcha Lava Canele, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Raf'hello Vegan Macarons

Finalists

Signature BAK’D Cookie Box from BAK’D Cookies
We’ll take this six-pack over flowers any day. $28.50, bakdcookies.ca

Chubby Puppy Cookies from Panela Lemon
If a Boston cream met a cookie, and hugged. $4.99, panelalemon.com

Matcha Lava Canelé from Little Flower Company
A gorgeous take on a French classic. $4.75, littleflowercompanycake.com

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix from Susgrainable Health Food
The very definition of good and good for you. $11.99, susgrainable.com

Raf’hello Vegan Macarons from Sweet’n’ Sassy
You’ll never know where the dairy went. $2.50, sweetnsassypatisserie.com