When I came back to Canada last year with Ricky, we went out for a lot of bike rides. It ended up being a great way to explore my own town – particularly those areas which I never went to normally.
One of our favourite places that we ended up coming across was La Garde-manger de François, a patisserie/café on the edge of town.
We don’t actually have a lot of cafés in Chambly. I can name them off on one hand: one in the trendy part of town that closes at 3pm, a Presse Café as you come in off the highway, and two Tim Hortons.
So when we found this place, we were all too pleased to stop and have a snack (well earned after our riding) – and even more pleased to discover they had some of the best pastries we ever tried.
I hadn’t been back since last autumn, however, but yesterday my mom and I decided to treat ourselves. She’d never been and I was all too happy to share one of my local favourites.
My experience of pastries in the past has usually been of the multipack grocery store variety. Not always terrible, but also nothing to write home about.
Here, however, it’s another story. We ordered a pain au chocolat and a croissant amande to split (because choices – why make them when you can compromise?). From the first bite, your mouth is in love. The pastry dough is so flakey, so buttery. It’s somehow savoury yet sweet. The filling is just the right amount – not a dollop more or less.
It’s like discovering pastries for the first time.
While we wiped the crumbs from our faces and sipped our coffees, we basked in the afternoon sun. The patisserie has a lovely terrace, and the street is so quiet you feel like time stands still.
Certainly the inside of the shop makes you feel that way as well: jars upon jars of preserves, jams, chutneys, oils, vinegars, and specialty spices imported from Madagascar and Brazil. The fridge has hand smoked bacon and duck; the counters homemade pâtés and pyramids of sandwiches.
I’ve only ever had breakfast there before, meal wise, but I definitely need to come back for a lunch. As it was, we left stuffed and satisfied.
If you’re out and about in Chambly, I highly recommend La Garde-manger de François. It’s got all the charm of a small town, and every ounce of quality.
Address: 2403 av Bourgogne, Chambly, Québec, J3L 2A5