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Food & Drink

Where carb connoisseur Matthew Faust of Brodflour goes for bread, pastries and pizza in the West End

Including stops for airy sourdough, pull-apart doughnuts and pistachio-topped slices

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
Matthew eating a danish inside a bakery

Matthew Faust, an operating partner at Brodflour, the only large-scale bakery in Toronto that mills its own flour, is obsessed with all things wheat. “I’m a total flour nerd,” he confesses. Faust can wax poetic about hydration ratios, fermentation alchemy and wheat varieties despite not actually being a professional baker (that title goes to Brodflour’s head baker, John Cates). Helming the Liberty Village bakery involves working directly with Canadian cereal farmers to source the best grains available. So, when it comes to dough, this gluten enthusiast knows his stuff. Here are his top four west-end destinations for carbo-loading on focaccia, pizza, danishes and doughnuts.


Cafe Paradise
Matt walking out of Cafe Paradise

Go-to dish #1: Blistered cherry tomato and rosemary focaccia “I get really excited when I see what talented bakers are making using flour from Brodflour, and Paradise is a great example of that. Nick Stacey, who bakes the bread here, makes incredible loaves. His focaccia is beautiful. They change it up regularly, but this one is made with blistered cherry tomatoes, rosemary and sea salt. It’s super light and airy, with great chew and air pockets. A lot of bakers go too light on the salt, but this one is well-seasoned. It’s something I love to eat with a big bowl of pasta. After all, carbs always pair well with carbs.”

The focaccia at Paradise, cut in half and stacked
A look at all the bread on offer at Paradise

Go-to dish #2: sourdough “Most of the bakers in this city use the same ultra-processed flour, so their products all have a similar taste profile. Refining the flour gives it a longer shelf life, but it removes the most flavourful and nutritious qualities of the grain. But, in this loaf, you still have the bran (those brown flecks), which makes for a nuttier taste. It also has a beautiful aroma—like a farm, but in the best way possible. Nick uses a lot more water than usual when he makes these, which makes it soft and airy. People don’t expect to come to a café for incredible bread, but Cafe Paradise is really a hidden gem.”

A close up look at the inside of the sourdough bread
Matthew standing inside Paradise

Harbord Bakery

15 Harbord St., 416-922-5767, harbordbakery.ca

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Mattew speaking to the owners of Harbourd Bakery

Go-to dish: Blueberry and cheese danish “I pop into Harbord Bakery for one of their blueberry danishes once a week. I’ve been hooked on blueberry danishes since I was five years old, when I would sneak bites from the ones my mom bought for herself. These ones aren’t super sweet, but the tartness of the blueberries cuts through the creaminess of the cheese perfectly. Most people think of a danish as having a laminated, flaky dough base, like a croissant. But these are more brioche-like, which is essential because a delicate dough couldn’t sustain this hefty amount of cheese filling. Harbord Bakery holds a special place in my heart: my Polish grandparents settled in the Annex, and my parents met at a picnic table just a block away from here.”

Matthew looking lovingly at a danish
A close up of said danish

Harry and Heels Donuts

832 Dundas St. W. (inside Fourth Man in the Fire), 416-792-3473, harryandheelsdonuts.com, @harryandheelsdonuts

Matthew standing outside Harry in Heels doughtnuts

Go-to dish #1: Coconut cream pie “A lot of coconut cream pies are too cloying, and the whipped topping totally outshines any actual coconut filling. Not this one. It’s about a three-to-two ratio of coconut filling to whipped cream. As someone who’s crazy about custard, I always appreciate a pie that makes the filling the star. And it’s fantastically decadent—a sturdy custard made with toasted coconut that’s delicate yet rich. The crust is a graham cracker shortbread-style crust, though I’m not entirely sure what it’s made of because Shant Mardirosian, the owner of Harry in Heels, is protective of his recipes. One thing I know for sure is that there’s a bit of salt in the crust, which tones down the richness of the whipped cream and lets the filling—which is probably the best filling I’ve ever had in my life—shine. It’s always served cold, so it’s perfect for a hot day.”

A coconut cream pie from Harry in Heels
Matthew taking a bite of pie

Go-to dish #2: California-style doughnuts “Doughnuts are my weakness, and these are especially good ones. My wife and I served them as dessert at our wedding. The two kinds I gravitate toward are the maple dip and the apple fritter, which is made with beautiful chunks of real apple. They’re so soft, yeasty and easy to pull apart. Somehow, they stay fresh for more than one day. I have no idea how they do it.”

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Matthew pulling apart one of the doughnuts from Harry in Heels

Revolver Pizza Co.

388 Royal York Rd., 416-252-2323, revolverpizzaco.com, @revolverpizzaco

Matthew standing outside Revolver Pizza Co.

Go-to dish: Pistachio and mortadella pizza “Before we launched our pizza program at Brodflour, we did a lot of research, which involved eating pizza all over the GTA. The pistachio and mortadella pizza at Revolver is hands-down my favourite slice in the city. It’s a fantastic cross between a Neapolitan and a New York–style pizza. Most wood-fired places stick to smaller pizzas. This one’s a bit larger, with a good undercarriage but still a bit floppy—it’s perfect. Usually, I wouldn’t go for a white-base pizza with nuts—I’m all about a red base because I love the acidity of tomatoes, and the texture of nuts in my baked goods generally throws me off. But, in this case, the flavour combination just clicks, and the hot oven and short bake time make the pistachios soften up just right. Add in the hot honey and mortadella, plus the perfect blend of mozzarella and fontina, and it completely won me over.”

A slice of pizza from Revolver
Matthew eating pizza

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