This post first appeared as “Toronto’s Harbord Bakery Embraces Artisan Tradition” on The Jew and the Carrot blog of The Forward.
When a stooped, ball cap-wearing elderly man buying challah, salad and stewed chicken fricassee at Toronto’s Harbord Bakery says, “they’ve been keeping me alive for years here,” he is by no means exaggerating. Indeed, the Kosower family, owners of this legendary establishment since 1945, have been provisioning loyal locals with exceptional quality breads, baked goods and Jewish appetizing items for generations.
Today, as the only remaining Jewish retail bakery in downtown Toronto, Harbord Bakery is still in its original location on Harbord Street and is still using its original family recipes. They are attracting the young Jewish singles and families who are moving back into the neighborhood, now referred to as The Annex and considered a prime, trendy residential area. It’s the kind of crowd that appreciates the fresh, artisanal and gourmet food offered not only by Harbord Bakery, but also far more recently opened neighborhood Jewish food businesses like the Israeli Aroma espresso bar and Caplansky’s Delicatessen.
On a Friday afternoon, customers like Faggie Oliver, who has always lived in the neighborhood and who has been coming to the bakery for 45 years, mingle with newcomers like 32-year-old Marni Perlis who maneuvers her two little boys through the aisles in their stroller while picking up a challah for Shabbat.
Click here to read more, and for the recipe for Harbord Bakery’s “geviklts.”
© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.