Monday, 29 July 2013

Bakery 101

Entrance to Bistro 101 and Bakery 101
Some of the greatest value food can be found at culinary schools. Students use quality ingredients and cook up fine-dining dishes and bake pastries and cakes that look like they belong in a high-end bakery. Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is one of the best culinary schools in Vancouver. Their students run a bakery and a restaurant, both with exceptional prices. Every time I pass by Granville Island, I always make sure to pay a visit to Bakery 101 to pick up a chocolate croissant or a packet of macarons for Papaya Crumpet. Compared to the vendors inside the Granville Island Public Market, Bakery 101's baked goods are much more friendly to our wallets. Students supporting students, that's the way it should be~

I had originally wanted to take my mom and aunt to have lunch at Bistro 101 next door, but it was completely booked full. Instead, we found brunch at Twisted Fork Bistro and ventured to Granville Island in the afternoon. A sign outside the culinary school advertised all desserts were 3 for $10, so we stepped into Bakery 101 to grab some sweets for an afternoon snack.

Display counter at Bakery 101

Selection varies everyday, but there weren't as many desserts to choose from when we arrived compared to usual. The woman at the cashier explained that since the bakery is closed on the weekends, people tend to stock up on Mondays. 

Desserts from Bakery 101

The four of us shared three desserts. On the far left is the Raspberry Mousse. The sign described it as a "light and refreshing mousse made from 100% read fruit for an all natural colour and flavour." The base of the mousse is "a nut-basked joconde cake". I definitely agree it was refreshing; a great summer flavour that isn't super heavy. However, the cake base was too gritty for my liking. Yes, it gives the dessert a textural contrast but it disturbed the smoothness of the mousse. The mousse was very well done, super smooth and airy. The red currants are pretty to look at and fun to eat. Also adds some extra sourness to the mousse. This dessert was the most visually appealing out of the three we ordered. 

In the middle is the Pralines & Cream. It's a "hazelnut chocolate cake with layers of hazelnut butter cream, chocolate mousse, and hazelnut joconde cake." Reminiscent of Nutella, this cake delivers the full hazelnut flavour. I didn't know there was a chocolate mousse if I hadn't read the sign. Pretty much the only component of this cake that could be tasted was the buttercream. My mom said this cake was too sweet. There isn't anything spectacular about this cake, so no need to specifically buy this.

Finally, the last dessert we tried was the Pasuwa. This dome of chocolate-y goodness was evidently the most popular of the day as there were only two left when we ordered. It's "PICA's signature dessert" that is a combination of "chocolate mousse, cheesecake, chocolate chunks, and devil's food sponge cake." Sounds decadent? It was very decadent! It was the messiest to cut, making it not very pretty when I ate it. But forget about the looks, the taste was fantastic. The chocolate mousse was just as airy and smooth as the raspberry mousse. My only complaint is that the cheesecake wasn't strong enough so it couldn't really be tasted. While it wasn't super sweet, it still satisfied my mid-day craving for sugar.  

There was no one in the bakery when we paid a visit on a Monday afternoon. That's fine with me because it means my family has comfy chairs to sit in and slowly eat our desserts. Also, it was nice we could get cups of water for free to quench our thirst after walking around on a hot day and to rinse our mouths after eating. Cutlery to use when eating at the bakery can be found by the fridge on a counter with the coffee creamer and whatnot.

Coconut Macaroons

I also bought a packet of coconut macaroons to bring home. The more meringue texture that resembles the macaroons from Casa Del Pane Bakery is what drew me into buying these. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed by these macaroons has they were nothing remotely similar to the ones from Casa Del Pane (which are super soft and a Coconut Crumpet's dream, cheaper too!). Bakery 101's macaroons were far too sweet and tough. They need to work on the aesthetics of the macaroon too, at least make it a clean-edged shape. Four dollars was too much for these poorly made macaroons.
If Granville Island is too busy or expensive for you, walk a short distance across the bridge and find some cheap but quality food at PICA's two businesses. Besides baked goods, the bakery sells sandwiches, coffee, and meals to go for those in a hurry. If you have more time to relax and enjoy a fancier lunch, visit Bistro 101 for a $20 three course lunch. It's still on my wishlist to do so. My aunt was really happy I brought her here as she now has another place to relax in the afternoon while enjoying desserts that won't break the bank.

Bakery 101: PICA Bakeshop & Café on Urbanspoon  

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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