Duchess Bake Shop Memories and a Giveaway


A close up shot of Duchess Bake Shop's mini Paris Brest.
Mini Paris Brest Pastries from Duchess Bake Shop.

Duchess Bake Shop is our favourite place for fine French baked goods and pastries in Edmonton. Dan and I have visited since Duchess opened, and have brought many friends, family, and out of town guests for a taste of France in Edmonton.

Back in 2009, Dan and I had been attempting unsuccessfully to make macarons in my small galley kitchen. When Duchess opened in October 2009 to great fanfare, we were very keen on visiting specifically because of their macarons. We learned that one of the owners, Giselle, had become fascinated with macarons while in Japan and had spent time perfecting the homemade macaron. This inspired me in my pursuit of the elusive homemade macaron. If you've followed along in my journey, you would definitely see all the different macarons I've baked.
Behind the counter at Duchess Bake Shop in 2010 


Even though we visited Duchess many times over the following months, it played a special part during a memorable day in May of 2010. We were invited to an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the kitchen before the doors opened. Little did I know that the invitation was just part of a series of special surprises Dan had planned before he proposed to me!



Behind the scenes in Duchess' kitchen in May 2010.

Dan & I in Duchess in 2010 (we look so young!)
As many of you may have heard, Duchess released their self-titled cookbook last Wednesday (November 12, 2014). This cookbook resonates with me not only because there are beautiful pictures accompanying the step-by-step instructions, but also, this is the first cookbook where I've tried every item!
A mountain of Croquembouche wrapped in spun golden sugar threads.
A tower of croquembouche at the cookbook launch!
A tower of Macarons.
Giselle Courteau explaining the Duchess Bake Shop Cookbook.
Giselle Courteau at the Duchess Bake Shop cookbook launch.
Giselle has generously given two signed copies of Duchess' cookbook as a giveaway for two lucky readers! This giveaway is only open to readers who live in and around Edmonton or in Calgary. If the winner(s) resides in Calgary or area you must be able to meet with me in Calgary on either Saturday November 29, 2014 or on Sunday November 30, 2014. Arrangements will be made if the winner(s) live in Edmonton or greater area.

You can also purchase their cookbook in Edmonton at Provisions or online. Good luck to everyone and I look forward to reading your bake shop memories.

Comments

  1. My first time at Duchess I ordered macarons, madeleines and hot chocolate. I sat at a little table by myself and was transported to France with my first bite. I was hooked.

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  2. My first memory of a bake shop was going to B&A bakery in North Edmonton. They had donut people and the fluffiest buttercream cakes. Interesting tidbit of B&A Bakery is that they made the huge tiered cake for Wayne and Janet Gretzky's wedding in 1988, Hockey royalty! Ahh the warm and fuzzy memories...

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  3. First item to bake from Duchess cookbook would be the Madeleines as I found an awesome baking pan from Winners and have been itching to test it out :)

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  4. Love going to Duchess for dates with the boyfriend! Really hoping the Montreal tart recipe is in the cookbook :)

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  5. One of my favourite memories is visiting Laduree and Pierre Herme with Ryan when we visited Paris! Everything was so beautiful and we couldn't resist picking up tons of Parisian goodies :)

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  6. I wouldn't even know which recipe to begin with- they all sound lovely! Perhaps the mille-feuille?

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  7. I remember going to a bakery with my grandma when I was a little girl. I don't remember which bakery it was, but the displays were so big and filled to the top with all sorts of tasty looking things!

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  8. The Duke is my favourite Duchess treat so I would make that first!

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  9. Fav memory is definitely going to Duchess for the first time. Just fell in love with everything!

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  10. Definitely would try making the mille-feuille or lemon meringue cake first!!

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  11. I will always remember visiting my first patisserie in Paris and how in awe I was! I tried a different pastry each day I was there :) I was so excited when the Duchess opened here and my sister & I have made it a tradition to spoil ourselves with Duchess treats on our birthdays!

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  12. Definitely the florentine! love Duchess

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  13. Dish'n'theKitchen(B)November 21, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    I think my favourite memory of going into any bakeshop is when the door first opens and I get that first rush of sugar filled air rushing up my nose. Yeah, I guess I'm a sugar junkie!

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  14. Dish'n'theKitchen(B)November 21, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    The first recipe I would bake would have to be the lemon meringue cake!

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  15. It's all the yummy desserts in Asia. I am going back next week and can't wait to admire them.

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  16. Doesn't that croquembouche look fantastic? The structural integrity of them always impresses me.

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  17. We've had a couple lovely brunch/lunches at Duchess on lazy Saturday mornings. Definitely a great start to the weekend and a tradition I wouldn't mind starting if our pocket books could afford it every week! If I won the cookbook, I'd need to start with something simple. I think it would be hard to screw up shortbread and Duchess makes some lovely varieties!

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  18. My favourite memory is going to Tartine Bakery in San Francisco for the first time. I loved their Coconut Passionfruit Bavarian slice

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  19. Definitely want to make the lemon meringue cake first

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  20. I would try the lemon meringue cake which is the husbands favourite now that I moved away from edmonton to calgary it would be nice to always have a bit of duchess in my home. I love meeting friends in bakery's and catching up over coffee and treats

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  21. yes! I love their madeleines as well. The atmosphere of Duchess transports me to France each and every single time!

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  22. oooh flully buttercream cakes?? Does this bakery still exist today?

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  23. Yes! there are almost 80-90 recipes in the cookbook and madeleines are definitely in there! I ended up purchasing 2 madeleine pans since you will certainly need at least 2 for making madeleines. Usually the batter I use makes about 3 pan batches worth. I haven't tried making the one of the duchess one yet.

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  24. pierre herme is my favourite! I also like the Laduree ones, but when I last went to paris I don't think macarons were on the fore front of my mind! I do, however, have a Laduree macaron t-shirt! :)

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  25. mm..yes! as a child everything seems so amazing and big from our perspective! I remember visiting many bakeries with my grandmother too.

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  26. yup that is in the cookbook for sure!

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  27. I know! It is so hard not to pick up every single item! At least with the cookbook you could try your hand at making some of them!

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  28. mm..yes Duchess certainly has my heart! I try very hard not to stop by sometimes on the way home from work when I am downtown. I love the almond croissants.

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  29. haha yes! I know you do :)

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  30. B, I am sooo sugar addictive as well. Every time I am in Calgary I make my morning visit to Sidewalk Citizen bakery (their south one) and love the smells as I walk in. oooh my, so heavenly.

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  31. Yes! The lemon meringue cake is in the book! hope you have a mini blow torch

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  32. ahh..that must be an awesome moment!!

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  33. ooh yes! Make sure you take lots of pictures and savour every morsel. Which cities will you be going to? I always find Japan has such amazing delicate treats.
    The newest item out there in asia now are these clear like mochis! look them up! They are very interesting. Sometimes they call them "unicorn tears".

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  34. It is a beautiful bakeshop Shareba.


    I do still miss the bakeshops in Toronto. Everytime I go home I make a visit to Nadege!

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  35. Yes! They did such a great job with the croquembouche. I really wanted to try a piece right away but I was there at the beginning of the night, so I didn't want to be the first to take a crack at it!

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  36. I would agree that Duchess is great for saturday brunches/lunches. Sometimes, I go on a sunday afternoon around 3pm (the crowds tend to subside by then) and read books with my hubby over pastries and tea. Certainly agree that it is not an every sunday occasion.


    Shortbread would be a great place to start!

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  37. oh! We didn't have a chance to go to Tartine the last time we were in SFO. We do, however, have their bread book and Dan loves it! He bakes from it all the time!

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  38. The lemon meringue cake is certainly in there. Get your blow torch ready if you end up winning! :)

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  39. Bakeries are the perfect activity to do on a lazy saturday or sunday afternoon. I often find that it has the best atmosphere for such activities. good luck and thanks for visiting.

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  40. Yes! The Tart Montreal is in the book. I love the crunchy praline at the bottom.

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  41. yes the mille-feuille is in the cookbook! There are step by step instructions in the book with accompanying photos. Giselle did say that every recipe is written just like how they make it in the kitchen.


    looking over the recipe, there may be a few steps but it can be done! :)

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  42. Both are in the book! Get your blow torch ready and pastry making skills out!
    the cookbook does go through things step by step. Giselle said that she wrote each recipe exactly to how they make it in the kitchen.

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  43. Dish'n'theKitchen(B)November 23, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Let me know the next time you're in and I'll meet you there!

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  44. Dish'n'theKitchen(B)November 23, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Nope but it's going on my Christmas list :)

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  45. Yes B&A are still there but sadly the original owners have retired & the buttercream cakes lost a bit of the fluffiness...

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  46. Hmm maybe Santa will see my wish list for an extra Madeleine pan ;)

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  47. The best part of a bakeshop - in particular Duchess - is the joy that resonates in those walls. These are people that love sharing their culinary gifts with the world - making my taste buds and I ever so grateful!

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  48. The first recipe I try will have to be the meringues. The way that they melt on your tongue is luscious

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  49. Every time I go to Duchess,it brings back sweet memories of my short time in Paris. A true delight for the city of Edmonton.

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  50. Mary Collinson KoehnNovember 24, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    My favourite memories of bake shops are stumbling upon them. We came across one on Salt Spring Island that we stopped at every day during our vacation for beautiful patisseries to keep us going!

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  51. Mary Collinson KoehnNovember 24, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    The first recipe I would try would be the sour cherry pie...

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  52. My favourite bakeshop memory has to be going in to the small town bakery where I grew up before it opened. My dad was friends with the baker, and used to visit before the stores opened in the morning. When I went to work with him on Saturdays it was awesome. Like stepping into Santa's workshop!

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  53. My favourite memory is my friend going to Duchess and buying the assorted macarons, then biking to University to share them with me during lunch hour

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  54. Last winter when it was bitterly cold, we took a break from volunteering outside and had a warm drink and treat at Duchess. So lovely...

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  55. My favourite bakeshop memory is going to Tartine in San Francisco. I enjoyed their bread and morning bun the best. Soooo good! Thankful to have Duchess here to enjoy with their beautiful and delicious treats.

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  56. My earliest memory of going into a bake shop has to be the smell of bread/bake goods. To this day, I still love that smell!

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  57. If they have the recipe for the florentines, I will most definitely make that first!

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  58. yes! So true Jenn! I love the ambience that vibrates within places like Duchess. So many amazing creations that come from them. The amazing thing is that when Duchess first opened their kitchen (picture above) wasn't small but wasn't huge either. Yet they managed to make some crazy delicious items with just one industrial oven!

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  59. Yes those are delicious! I made some dark chocolate ones the other day! Amazing what icing sugar and egg white can do!

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  60. I love Paris! I need to go back soon!! Which places did you go visit last time?

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  61. oooh that sounds amazing! Bakeries always have that effect on me too!
    Do you remember the name of the one on Salt Spring Island?

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  62. mm..yes those are yummy!!

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  63. Yes! I love when I walk into a bakery and inhale the amazing smells.

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  64. Yes! those macarons are one of the main reasons why I started making them myself at home!

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  65. The hot chocolate is always an amazing treat especially on cold days! What are your favourite treats from Duchess?

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  66. Yes! Definitely "taste test"at Duchess and let me know what you tried there! Good luck on winning, but if not the cookbook is available in store or you can buy it online at Provisions.

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  67. Hi Rachel! Yes, I definitely need to visit Tartine the next time I am in SFO. I have their Tartine Bread book and have made a few recipes from there. Not the same as trying the real thing though!

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  68. The wafts of an amazing bakery/patisserie is always great. Definitely makes you want to try more treats. :D

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  69. Yes! the recipe from Florentines is in there! :)

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  70. I bought mine the first day it was available, but would love to win one to give my girlfriend for Christmas!

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  71. I love my memory of going into the patesseries in Paris.

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