{Croissant anyone? An early morning visit to ITZA Bakeshop}

A few days ago, I had read an article in the Herald about a new bakeshop that had opened up in the historic Devenish building on 17th called Itza Bakeshop. There have been some talk on forums about their croissants and I knew I had to try them for myself.

Lucky for me, they open at 7:30am, so I was able to head over before work for a nice pastry treat with my morning tea. As I walked into the Devenish building, the thick scent of buttery pastries filled the air. I felt like I was in one of those cartoons where the character floats in a dream-like state in mid air following an enticing smell. I followed my nose up a flight a stairs and down a long hallway to find a surprisingly tiny shop. I had startled the owner and baker Alexandra by accident, as she usually does not see many people come in this early. Oops.

The front area is quite tiny with a small counter for the cash register and to the left of it, a small glass case to showcase their tartlets and other pastries. There were several racks lined with baking sheets full of freshly baked golden croissants of all kinds. Since this seemed to be their specialty, I picked a selection of these buttery pastries. Shown below from top clockwise: plain croissant, pain au raisin, pain au chocolat and a pain d’amande.

These beauties had all just come out of the oven, in fact they were so fresh that she was worried that closing my take home box would cause them to get soggy as they had not had adequate time to cool down. I assured her that I would eat them soon and leave the box open to let the air circulate. Besides, I really didn’t mind my car smelling like a parisian patisserie..

The croissants were perfectly crisp on the outside, the inside consisted of several layers of clearly defined flaky puff pastry. The pain au raisin was particularly tasty, wrapped around a generous layer of plump juicy raisin and a pastry cream. My next favourite was the almond croissant, a split croissant filled with a almond pastry cream in the center and on top, then sprinkled with toasted slivered almonds. Overall impression? The pastries are about 1/3 smaller than most croissants I’ve seen around town, which I was ok with. The croissants were definitely spot-on with the crispy exterior however I do wish they were more “puffed up” and had a more fluffy and airy interior. Taste wise they were delicious.

I also picked up one of their ham and cheese quiche tartlets. The crust was tender and the quiche was filled with huge chunks of ham and a generous layer of cheese on top. A great lunch entree with a nice side salad of mixed greens.

This place has a lot of potential being on 17th, however there is minimal signage and only those who walk around the back of the building would see the small sandwich board sign pointing customers inside.

The owner is incredibly friendly and you can see her passion for baking when you talk to her. I do think this place is worth a visit, it’s only been open for a few weeks now so I think it can only get better. They are constantly adding new items to their menu (including lemon tarts, mini eclairs and flourless chocolate mousse cakewhich I’ll be back to try).

ITZA Bakeshop: #111, 908-17th ave SW (Open Tues – Fri: 7:30am – 5pm and Sat: 9am – 5pm)

Itza Bakeshop on Urbanspoon

(Btw, one of their mottos is: No cupcakes. No muffins and no margarine. So don’t expect to see any of these things here).

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