Third-generation co-owner of the Dutch Bakery, Michele Byrne already knows what time of year it is when smells of almond logs loft through the air.
The logs also known as Banketstaaf in Dutch, can be described as a flaky pastry filled with almond paste and apricot. According to the co-owner, these pastries are, “very traditional Dutch, only baked this time of year.”
That’s just one of the many goods the patrons of the Dutch Bakery rush in for during the holiday season.
Speculaas cookies are also a hot commodity in December. These Flemish delicacies are classified as Dutch gingerbread because it’s, “a combination of all kinds of wonderful spices, filled with baked almond paste, and it’s really rich,” said Byrne.
Although the bakery specializes in Dutch treats, it does sell a variety of treats from around the globe. Some are more Canadian, including the sugar cookies made with fondant, while the bakery’s German raisin bread, stollen is a twist on a classic.
Byrne called the stollen at the Dutch Bakery, unique, and added, “They’re extremely large, filled with a lot of almond paste, and it’s really nice bread, it’s not really heavy bread.”
The stollen and almond log’s recipes are passed down with care. The baker’s commitment to following the recipes keeps Victoria’s large Dutch population lined up out the door. The festive pastries are so popular that December is, “probably double a regular month,” in revenue for the bakery according to Byrne.
“It is our make-or-break month,” she said. “So last year when it snowed, it definitely impacted us greatly. We don’t like to hear that word in the weather forecast because people don’t like to come into town. Victoria does shut down.”
Although the bakery does deliveries, Byrne prefers speaking with her customers face-to-face.
“It’s always better when people come in because, they see something that maybe wasn’t on their list, or they’ll stop into the diner as well and say, ‘let’s have a coffee or pastry while we’re here, let’s have some lunch,’ that sort of thing.”
The Dutch Bakery will continue to enthusiastically serve its loyal community and those first-timers wandering in, especially during the holidays.
“We value customers, we value family tradition,” said Byrne. “We hold our traditions quite near and dear to our hearts and I think tradition is that nostalgia that we grew up with.”