I only live a few blocks from 104th street, but I think I was subconsciously avoiding Queen of Tarts for fear of frustration.
This bakery-cafe is full of gluten. Delicious-looking gluten-filled treats: homemade artisan bread, tarts, cupcakes (they call them tulips), cookies, etc.
And yet - and yet! It’s totally worth going there anyway.
I stopped by with my Mom when she was in town a while back for J's recital. It's the kind of place I'm extremely proud to show off to visitors. I've taken my Mom to 104 street before, as one of the best examples of downtown Edmonton living, but new exciting places keep popping up on the street.
Many other Edmonton bloggers have written about Queen of Tarts, and posted photos of the gorgeous space and mouth-watering offerings. But being in the space itself is something else entirely. Despite the fact that it's in the basement, the high ceilings in the old building give it a spacious, bright feeling. It was especially beautiful in the late-afternoon sun.
The first thing that struck me walking down the long staircase is the beautiful wood-cut floor. Then I spotted the racks of homemade bread behind the counter and the long black chalkboard. The details really make it a beautiful room.
The bread looked so good, my Mom considered taking some home to Halifax, but we thought it would probably get stale pretty fast, since I doubt it has any preservatives. We didn't buy any treats to eat right then, but I was happy to see they do have at least one gluten-free dessert: a decadent chocolate cake.
I didn't ask, but I would also guess that their soups are often or always gluten-free, and they look good. They also have a variety of coffee and tea drinks - we had just come from lattes at Credo, or we would have indulged here. I love the cafe area under the windows at the back - it looks private and cozy.
One thing I really appreciate about Queen of Tarts, since I can't eat most of their baked goods, is the variety of packaged products they sell: The Jam Lady's Jams and Mustards, teas, Mighty Trio Organics oils, and of course their own lime and lemon curd.
When we were there, they only had the lime curd packaged for sale, which was fine by me since it's our favourite. It's the best curd we’ve ever eaten: rich and buttery with the perfect tang. We ate it on pancakes the next morning, but I'm also happy to scoop it out of the package and devour it by the spoonful.
I have since been back to Queen of Tarts for tea and another of their gluten-free treats: a sweet and crackly almond rocher - like an almond meringue. (Unfortunately my London Fog - called a Foggy Queen - had a strange, syrupy taste.) On that visit they also had gluten-free macaroons on offer, as well as that chocolate cake. The woman at the counter told me she's trying to convince the kitchen to develop a gluten-free bread recipe. I’m hoping she’s successful, but there’s already enough to keep me coming back.