212 - Granowska’s - Keeping it in the Family
Decades ago, when Elizabeth Klodas fled Communist Poland with her husband, she never imagined she would one day helm one of the best Polish bakeries in Toronto. An Economics Major, Elizabeth had never even baked a cake before she took a huge leap of faith and decided to open Granowska’s Bakery. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and in Elizabeth’s case, the old adage certainly held true. With a baby on the way and her husband back in medical school to attain Canadian accreditation, Elizabeth decided that opening a bakery was a sure-fire way to earn a steady income.
Her mother, Maria, was a Master Baker in Poland who owned the original, much lauded Granowska’s in Lodz. With her help, Elizabeth learned Maria’s trade secrets and family recipes which had been passed down through the generations. Today, Elizabeth runs the bakery with her daughter Kathy, a fine baker in her own right. If you’re looking for fresh, daily baked cakes, cookies, tortes and numerous Polish specialties made only with wholesome ingredients, then Granowska’s fits the bill.
Every morning before waking up is even the glimmer of a thought for most of us, a hard-working crew arrives at the bakery to make their delectable treats from scratch. One of the most labour-intensive of these might be the paczki (pronounced ponch-key). These are handmade filled Polish doughnuts that bear very little resemblance to our Canadian varieties.
Paczki dough is much more delicate than our cakey doughnuts, offering eaters a fluffy texture and subtly sweet fillings. You can choose from rosehip jam, plum jam (which aids in digestion), poppy seeds or a sweetened cheese filling. You also have glazed or powdered sugar options or a just plain paczki without any filling. The hardest part, of course, is choosing just one, especially when Rum Babkas and Plum Tarts beckon you like glistening jewels, vying for your taste buds’ attention. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you walk away pleasantly stuffed with a smile on your face (and maybe a hint of jam on the lips!)
175 Roncesvalles Avenue
photo credits: Mary Luz Mejia