A little something sweet caught my eye while planning our long-awaited trip to my birthplace of Toronto, Canada – a perfectly purple éclair, topped with fresh blueberries and glinting under the bakery lights , called out ‘Eat Me!’ from my Twitter feed. The blueberry-violet flavoured pastry was from Nügateau Éclairs Etcetera, a place that instantly went on my must-try list.
As luck would have it, I was invited by owner Kadir Shamim to visit the store’s flagship location on colourful Queen Street West, and my husband and I stopped by one afternoon to sample what Nügateau has to offer. The most difficult part of visiting this small but stylish shop is deciding which of the dozen éclairs on offer to try – they are all so beautiful, and the flavour combinations tempting.
The flavours change with the seasons, with a Spring/Summer and a Fall/Winter range. The summer flavours on offer were largely fruity and floral, which I love. With some difficulty, we chose three éclairs: Raspberry Rose Lychee, Lemon Meringue, and Jardin Rouge (Red Garden). The pastry was light and fluffy, the filling bursting with flavour, and the glaze melted in our mouths, while the sweetness was delicate and didn’t overwhelm the flavours or leave us with the sickly-sweet feeling. Jardin Rouge’s berry filling and topping of fresh summer berries on a crisp almond biscuit won my heart, and the Rose Lychee was incredibly flavourful and complex. My husband loved the tart Kalamansi lemon adorned with creamy meringue, and his coffee was the perfect complement, as was my Palais de Thés tea.
Kadir is proud of his product, and rightly so. About two years ago, he joined forces with talented Chef Atul Palghadmal to create something that had never been done before – an éclair-only café. Nügateau has caught on with the people of Toronto, and the patisserie supplies its incredible treats to high-end hotels, weddings, and events like the Toronto Film Festival. They’ve opened a shop in the Saks Food Hall, and this summer did a pop-up at Yorkdale Mall and launched the popular Icéclair, which is filled with ice cream and dipped in chocolate.
He’s so proud of his éclairs, he insisted we take some with us to experience more of the delicious flavours on offer – and who was I to refuse? So more choices had to be made, and the pretty pink Sakura (cherry blossom), colourful Tutti Frutti (with tropical mango and passion fruit), Red Rocket (red velvet adorned with a Toronto streetcar), and the extravagant Isabelle, a raspberry, white chocolate and pistachio, complete with a shot of raspberry coulis to drizzle on top, made their way back to our hotel with us. Though all were delicious, for me the winner of round two was the fresh and floral Sakura.
One of my regrets in leaving Toronto was that I wouldn’t get to try more of Nügateau’s fantastic éclairs, but we’ll return to this incredible city and to Nügateau. Perhaps some enterprising soul here in Copenhagen will open an éclair spot, though I doubt they could recreate the same magic. The quote on our takeaway box full of éclair goodness said it best: ‘A pastry, long in shape, but short in duration’ – they certainly were both, but the memory of these éclairs will live on as one of tastiest parts of our trip.
You can visit Nügateau Éclairs Etcetera at 717 Queen Street West or in the Saks Food Hall in Hudson’s Bay store on Queen Street, Toronto.
I was invited by Nügateau of to visit the shop and enjoy a complimentary tasting of their range of éclairs in order to discover and share my thoughts on their product, however all opinions regarding the experience are my own.