If you follow the food world as closely as I do, you will have probably heard about this absurd cronut craze that’s taking over New York City. Line-ups go for blocks and scalpers (yes, scalpers) have skyrocketed the cronut black market (yes, the cronut black market) prices to as much as $40 each! If you thought $3 each at Vancouver’s own high-end donut shops like Lucky’s or Cartems was a bit pricey, cronut prices could buy you a dozen. Of course, New York has notoriously ridiculous menu prices and popular establishments stretch this almost beyond the imagination. Vancouver is growing as a global tourist destination so it’s no surprise that more artisanal specialty shops are popping up with premium prices to match.
Sidney is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s a gorgeous town as I mentioned in a previous post a couple weeks ago but it’s not exactly a tourist hotspot. Driving around town is relaxed. There are few traffic lights. Most intersections are 4-way stops and everyone seems to understand right-of-way, unlike what I’m used to here in Richmond. Imagine an idilic seaside town, the sort of old school Canada that you only see in places outside the urban sprawl. This is where you can find Sidney Bakery, where you can find amazing fresh baked pastries for a fraction of what we pay on the mainland. Heck, it’s cheaper than Tim Horton’s in here.
When I was visiting the island a few weeks ago, I went in search of breakfast in Sidney, looking for this bakery off a friend’s recommendation. It didn’t take long since I could smell it from a block away.
I was told to look for the apple fritters, which is apparently what the bakery is best known for. The inside is a smorgasbord of fresh baked goods, from cookies to cupcakes to tarts and…where are the apple fritters?
They’re in the window behind the counter and wow, they’re actually the size of my head. What’s even more ridiculous? They’re just $0.75 each.
I grabbed a ham and cheese croissant as well as an apple fritter and still got change from a fiver. There’s no seats in the bakery but there are plenty of park benches nearby where you can take in the picturesque coastal views.
The ham and cheese croissant was still warm when I dug in, crisp and flakey on the outside with a warm, soft center. I didn’t really mind that there wasn’t a whole lot of ham or cheese because the croissant itself was delicious.
Oh man, these apple fritters are amazing. The outer layer of crust crackles with icing, hiding a soft, pillowy, almost cotton candy-like center. The folks at Sidney Bakery are also aware of the craziness happening on the mainland and in the States so they weren’t all that surprised when I mentioned they could probably be selling these for $3 no problem if they opened up a Vancouver location. They’d need to scale their business accordingly, though, as even in Sidney, they sell out of their most popular items regularly each day.
If you’re looking for cronuts, they make them at Sidney Bakery but they’re called “dossants” instead. If you can deal with that name change, then they’re also just $1.99 each. Get there earlier in the day if you want to get your hands on one.
Folks on the island are all quite familiar with this particular bakery. Chatting with the guys at OK Tire when I went to get a wheel repaired, they all knew which bakery I was talking about, mentioning that one guy lived nearby and is tortured by the delicious smells every morning.
The Sidney Bakery is a Vancouver Island gem. Not only do they produce top notch baked goods but I got everything you see in the picture above for right around five quid! It’s hard to find anything wrong with a place when you can bring my family an entire box of food back on the ferry for less than the price of a coffee at Starbucks.