Calgary·FOOD AND THE CITY

Framboise Bakery brings fresh, flaky croissants to Calgary

In a tiny space that once was a dog kennel in an underused strip mall on 20th Ave. N.W., Catherine Tetreault pulls a sheet of golden, flaky croissants out of the oven.

Former dog kennel transformed into an artisanal patisserie

"It never really occurred to me at the time that it was something I could do," says Catherine Tetreault, who just opened a French-style bakery in Calgary. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

In a tiny space that once was a dog kennel in an underused strip mall on 20th Ave. N.W., Catherine Tetreault pulls a sheet of golden, flaky croissants out of the oven.

This middle unit has been transformed into an artisanal patisserie, with a kitchen full of SAIT grads turning out some beautiful baked goods.

Born and raised in Calgary, Tetreault grew up in Varsity Estates and went to study law in Montreal before returning home to work as a corporate/commercial lawyer and raise a family with her husband, Myron.

Catherine Tetreault shows some flaky croissants she baked at Framboise. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

(An interesting aside: Catherine and Myron later learned, upon comparing school photos, that they had been in grade 1 and 2 together at St. Vincent de Paul before Myron moved away to Regina. They then discovered that her mom and his dad grew up in the same tiny town of Leoville, Sask. — when her uncle graduated from high school in a class of three. One of the three was Myron's aunt.)

"When we traveled and went different places, I was always the one looking at the grocery stores and visiting the bakeries," Tetreault said of her childhood and her time spent at law school in Montreal.

"It never really occurred to me at the time that it was something I could do, but in Montreal in the '80s they were just starting to get gourmet grocery stores and cafes.

"Everyone else was going to the museums, but I was going to the cafes."

The products at Framboise are made fresh. (Julie Van Rosedaal)

Tetreault took some time off to be at home with her four young children, but when she decided it was time to return to the work force, she went back to school and completed the two year program in Baking and Pastry Arts at SAIT.

"I'm a morning person," Tetreault explained.

"I knew the late day and evening schedule of the regular culinary arts program wasn't going to work for me. But then I saw that they taught baking too and I thought, that could work."

Classes started at 7 a.m., so Tetreault was finished by the time her kids got home from school.

While at SAIT, Catherine did her apprenticeship at Wilde Grainz in Inglewood, where she learned even more about the business of bread-making.

She also studied as an apprentice to Victoria German, a world class pastry chef and instructor at SAIT.

"I learned more than I ever could have at a bakery," Tetreault said of the few months she spent baking with Chef German in New York.

"We made hundreds of different things."

The crew at Framboise haven't yet decided if these macarons will be on the permanent menu. (Framboise Bakery/Facebook)

Putting it to good use 

Tetreault then became the pasty chef at the Hyatt, where she learned about scaling her baking to a higher volume and how to plan and preserve.

When she decided to open her own place, it took awhile to find a good location, but they're happy with their two-week-old space, with plenty of traffic going by, parking out front, a school across the street and easy access to the surrounding neighbourhoods of Capital Hill, Confederation Park and Rosemont.

Tetreault is joined in the kitchen by head pastry chef Tammy Crocker, also a SAIT grad who most recently served as head pastry chef for Model Milk and Pigeonhole.

On a recent Thursday morning, the pastry case at Framboise was loaded with croissants (depending on the day, you might find ones stuffed with spinach and feta or pistachio paste and raspberries), pain au chocolat, fruit danishes, cookies, squares, tarts and cakes with bare sides — a new and trendy cake style that minimizes thick layers of frosting and allows them to play with unique flavour combinations, like coffee and passionfruit.

Here's a behind the scenes look at the how the spinach feta croissants are made. (Framboise Bakery/Facebook)

A cappuccino machine turns out delicious espresso-based coffees using beans from 49th Parallel.

A shelf along one wall offers bags of granola, almond and pistachio nougat, almond butter toffee crunch, caramel bourbon popcorn and a jar of salted caramels, carefully hand-wrapped by Tetreault's 11-year-old daughter, Pascal.

"Everything here we make ourselves," Tetreault said.

A couple of her kids — the eldest just graduated from high school — will help out at the bakery over the summer, doing some of the shopping, and another SAIT student will spend the summer doing her internship in the kitchen with Tetreault and Crocker.

Like a french patisserie

They're already experimenting with new cakes, pastries and fresh fruit tarts.

Within the first week of being open, created croissants stuffed with pistachio paste and raspberries for a neighbour who stopped in after a visit to Paris and reminisced about the pastries he fell for in France.

Although Framboise isn't pigeonholed as a French patisserie (there are items that are decidedly un-French) it has all the characteristics of one — irresistibly buttery pastries made with the best ingredients, baked and served (with espresso, if you like) by a few friendly people on a neighbourhood corner.

Framboise will be open on Tuesdays to Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit framboisebakery.ca.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal talks about food trends, recipes and cooking tips on the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. MT. The best-selling cookbook author is a contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, and writes for other publications across Canada.

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