Almond Butterfly Bake Shop & Espresso is a relatively new addition to the Harbord Street area in Toronto, offering a variety of delicious gluten-free baked goods and coffee, as well as a small lunch menu. I’m not gluten-intolerant, and can eat gluten with abandon if I so choose, but I love to visit Almond Butterfly and enjoy their delicious eats made with all-natural ingredients.
Almond Butterfly started out as a small online/home-based bakery in Montreal, doing mostly doing wholesale to cafes and crossfit gyms. After about three years of refining recipes and gaining popularity, owner Melody Saari and her partner David took a leap of faith and moved back to Toronto, with Almond Butterfly opening its doors on Harbord Street in June 2014. Since opening, Almond Butterfly has gained many loyal clienete (myself included) and received some great reviews including being named one of the Top 10 new bake shops in Toronto by BlogTO.
Those on a gluten-free diet can rejoice in that these cookies, cupcakes and other treats are just as delicious as their gluten-filled cousins. Almond Butterfly is a 100% dedicated gluten-free facility. If for any reason they’re unsure whether an ingredient coming in to the shop is gluten-free or not (some products are not labelled), they call the company/brand themselves for direct confirmation that a product is gluten-free before it will be used. Many products are also dairy-free and/or soy-free.
Cupcakes are definitely among their most popular items and for good reason. Flavours include their signature almond butterfly, salted chocolate caramel, spiced maple, vanilla coconut, among many others. Those looking for vegan treats will be happy that great options are also available, such as the chocolate peppermint cupcake pictured above, double chocolate, or my favourite, chocolate espresso! These are dairy-free, vegan, soy-free and gluten-free, but taste rich, decadent and moist. Trust me, you won’t miss the gluten or dairy.
Cupcakes notwithstanding, other popular items include their paleo flaxseed loaf (made with a combination of hazelnut, almond and coconut flours – grain free!), banana walnut loaf (moist, flavourful, lots of banana), cheese biscuits (yum), pecan cookies (don’t get me started) and paleo moelleux au chocolat (why haven’t I tried this yet?!). Decisions, decisions.
I’m fortunate to work just 5 minutes away, so I can also easily pop over for lunch. My go-to is the “GFT”, a grilled turkey bagel with aged white cheddar, basil pesto, tomato, organic mixed greens – all served on a fresh gluten-free bagel. They have recently expanded their lunch offerings and now also offer a daily hot paleo-style lunch special. My favourite is the healthy coconut crusted chicken, served with a side of brussel sprouts and mashed sweet potato. I’m told soups are next on the list.
Coffee is also a strong point as Almond Butterfly uses a custom blend of beans created specially for their shop by Social Coffee & Tea Co. Good coffee, great food, friendly service – what more can you want?
But now that my secret is out, save me a seat by the window, would you? All in all, one of my favourite places in the city to stop by for a quick lunch or a cup of coffee.