Pandemic circumstances have prodded chefs Stephanie Duong and Bruce Lee to chart a new direction for their exceptional patisserie, Roselle. Nothing drastic, fortunately. But with their second location (in Toronto’s west end) closed and business hours reduced at their Corktown original venue, time was suddenly available to do something long in the planning. “We wanted to engage and connect more with the local food scene in Southern Ontario, to work with local farms to explore what Canadian pastry and desserts can be,” Duong explains. So, she and Lee have been visiting producers. They’ve enticed some to attempt growing new things. But mostly, they’ve been using what they sample to reconceptualize the European pastries they were already making so well. To wit, this summer, Tamarack Farms in Roseneath is having a go at raising those exquisite French strawberries, mara des bois. In the meantime, Roselle has already produced a Paris-Brest made with heartnuts, butternuts and black walnuts from Grimo Nut Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake and a medovik (Russian honey cake), made with Tamarack’s maple syrup and Grimo’s black walnuts. And there is plenty more to come. We recommend, well, all of it.
Photos: Stephanie Duong