It’s hard to tell sometimes if my interests are suddenly on trend or if I’ve just self-curated my own Instagram feed so much that I am hyperaware of food trends in #yyc! Over the last few years Calgary has definitely seen a surge in the number of French patisseries in the city, most functioning in pop-up spaces at restaurants and bakeries, but in some cases, opening all new retail spaces! Finesse Desserts is one of the new physical spaces open in #YYC, located behind Marshalls near Chinook Centre. I started following them on Instagram before they opened so of course when opening week hit I convinced my mom to come with me, and was it ever worth the visit!
First off, it’s certainly not a requirement but the cafe features this amazing beautiful flower wall, and a little couch and table (good for 2) so you can take Instagram photos of your amazing pastries. Finesse features mostly petits gateaux and macarons, as well as chocolate chip cookies and canneles. They also do larger cakes (mostly to order, though they usually have 1 or 2 available on weekends), and feature pop-up vendors such as Jacek Chocolates for occasions like Mother’s Day. Their chocolate chip cookies and canneles frequently sell out, and over the course of two visits I have purchased and tried:
Fairytale: I have yet to take a good picture of this much to my chagrin as it is my favourite dessert and also one of their prettiest. A swirled millennial pink mousse cake, the pineapple gelee centre and coconut mousse are smooth and perfect, and not too sweet. This cake is gorgeous!
Hazelnut Tart: Most of their tarts seem to be on sable bases, and Finesse has some of the best I’ve tried. Even after several days of refrigeration the base remained crispy and firm, and had a good fine crumb. The hazelnut tart was filled with a scratch-made mousse and topped with fresh hazelnuts, and was a delicious, somehow light bite with rich flavour. I split this with my mom!
Eclairs: I am partial to the pistachio eclair, but both were excellent. The choux pastry was crisp and did not get soggy underneath the filling, and provided excellent textural contrast to the rich, smooth, mousse. No empty crevices here!
Salted Caramel and Nut Tart: One of their best sellers, this is excellent if you like caramel or nuts – the sea salt flakes to finish are probably my favourite part.
Canneles: A funnel shaped egg-based cake with a caramelized shell, I always get a few to go so I can enjoy them later in the week! These stay moist for days, and they are not too sweet at all.
I did in fact do my makeup just because I knew were coming here to eat and I wanted to use their Instagram wall. The bakery is beautiful and while everything is almost too pretty to eat, it’s also too delicious not to, and I am already planning my next visit!