Living in Winnipeg The Thaw is always welcome. It signals the end of winter and the arrival of spring and more enjoyable weather. Well, now Winnipeg can enjoy the thaw year round. I’m talking about The Thaw French Bakery which opened last December on Pembina Highway, just north of MacGillvray Avenue.
I first heard about this bakery from staff at the Diocesan offices. I made a note of it, and promptly forgot all about it. Then a week or so ago, I was heading down Pembina and saw the bakery’s sign out the bus window. I was headed for an appointment and noticed it was open. My appointment over, I went back to see if it was still open. It was.
It wasn’t much before closing time, so the selection was a little more limited than it would usually be. However, I was still able to pick up a matcha brioche and a chocolate with hazelnut croissant. The prices are comparable with other French bakeries in town.
As it was towards closing and a little slow, I was able to have a bit of a chat with the guy behind the counter who is one of the partners. There are three partners, two from Lac du Bonnet, and the other a doctor who came to Canada from China to study medicine at the U of M.
This makes for some interesting hybrids in terms of the baked goods. They are all traditional French baked goods, but several feature toppings or filling based on traditional Chinese herbs and medicinal foods. How much this benefits your health I’m not sure, I came for the French Pastry part, and found the following sign very reassuring.
While I purchased them at the bakery, I didn’t try the two items until I arrived home, quite a bit later. Even through they had been sitting for a while they were both still fresh and soft. The Matcha Brioche was particularly satisfying. Chewy on the outside and melt in your mouth soft on the inside. The matcha filling was cool and sweet. The Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant was also nice and flaky and the filling was rich without being overly sweet.
The Thaw Savoury Buns
I had to be up in the area again the next day, so I made another stop at The Thaw. This time I tried one of their savoury creations. A croissant, filled with Bothwell Cheese, and a blackened topping highlighted by squid ink. A delicious choice. I was eating on the run, so I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of this one.
It was a few more days before I managed to get in one more time, and decided I’d try their Apple-Cinnamon Puffs. I’m a big fan of Apple Jacks, and this is like an Apple Jack except that it comes with exceptionally flaky pastry, that is light as a cloud. This puff also improves on an Apple Jack in that while it is flaky, it doesn’t shatter and leave crumbs all over you. The existence of these puffs alone would make The Thaw a worthwhile place to visit.
There is coffee and pop, and perhaps one or two other beverages available, (I didn’t pay close attention to the cooler). The bakery has been open for about five months. They will working in adding new items, finding the best layout, etc. in the coming months.
You’ll doing yourself a favour if you don’t wait for these changes to be made. The Thaw has got all the essentials down pat. The pastries are rich and flaky. The flavours range from the subtle to the bold, and it’s all served by a friendly and well-informed staff. This bakery is worth making a special trip down Pembina Highway.