Vancouverites looking for a taste of Paris need not travel far. This year, Thierry and Bel Café opened downtown, specializing in macarons and other delicate desserts. Meanwhile uptown, the smell of freshly baked croissants constantly wafts out of Kerrisdale’s Faubourg.
Today (December 22), a small, family-run Parisian-style bakery, French Made Baking (81 Kingsway), quietly opened its doors to residents living in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. The bakery is a passion project for owner and pastry chef David Introligator. After moving to Vancouver from France three years ago, he wanted a change from his career in television production, and went into the world of baking.
“Pastry was my passion since I was a little kid,” Introligator told the Straight when reached by phone. “I worked two years in-house at a shop on Granville Island [Stuart’s Bakery]. I made bread at three in the morning and managed the bakery for months, so I saw all different aspects.”
At the start of 2011, Introligator and his wife Catherine Introligator founded French Made Baking, specializing in authentic Parisian macarons, as well as croissants, madeleines, brioches, financiers, and a lesser-known pastry called canelé de Bordeaux.
“This one is pretty unusual. I couldn’t find a real one in Vancouver,” Introligator said. “It’s rum and vanilla cake, and for this one, we use real dark rum and real vanilla beans, warm milk, and cane sugar.
“It’s three-bite sized, and very good. Traditionally in France, we have it with tea or coffee in the afternoon.”
In April, French Made Baking started selling pastries at local markets, including the Vancouver Bakers’ Markets and the Make It craft fair. Introligator said that even after setting up French Made Baking’s brick-and-mortar shop, he still plans to continue selling his baked goods at markets.
Currently, French Made Baking carries six flavours of macarons, various croissants, and canelé de Bordeaux. They serve 49th Parallel coffee and Kusmi teas, as well as Terra Breads’ baguettes, which they use for their sandwiches.
“For us French people, this [Terra Breads] is the most authentic baguette we can find. We do baguette sandwiches for lunch with good French charcuterie, Parisian ham, rillettes,” Introligator said.
In the new year, Introligator hopes to expand the lunchtime menu to include quiches, croque-monsieurs, and other French café specialties—after three kitchen aides arrive from France.
“For now I’m alone in the kitchen until mid-January,” he said. “We want the people working in our bakery to be the same as working in a bakery in Paris. The products are the same.”
So what makes a Parisian macaron authentic? For Introligator it’s all about the filling.
“It’s the taste. Authentic Parisian macarons are not just a biscuits. What makes the difference is the inside, the ganache. The ganache needs to be very flavourful, and I like ganache macarons over buttercream. I think it’s too light. For me, it’s about real Parisian macarons.”
Hobby chefs and bakers hoping to learn the secrets of Paris can sign up for macaron classes that will begin at French Made Baking in January. Classes will be three-hours long, and participants will make up to 24 macarons each.
You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.