During a jaunt around town last weekend I made an unexpected detour into the Mission area. As soon as my roomie mentioned desserts were close by, I sought out directions and made a beeline towards a yellow house. Twenty minutes later I emerged with two boxes of sugary confections.
I didn’t know what to expect of this boutique bakery as I had never heard of it before (much to the chagrin of my roommate as Yann Haute has been quite de rigeur since the mid-2000′s). Upon entering the yellow house, the entrance way featured two stark white doors and this spooky display:
Two unmarked white doors stood before me. Door number one led me into a small white room that was sparsely decorated with colourful macarons along the walls. I was immediately greeted by a lovely server with a heavy French accent from behind a glass display case that featured row after row of mouthwatering pastries. This accent was so delightful I had to have the owner of said accent describe every item on the menu (that, and because the menu is not at all descriptive). She was a great sport though and in the process not only did I learn a lot about what Yann Haute is as a company, I got to practice my rusty French language skills. For all you Alliance Francaise members out there that don’t know already, flash your membership card here to receive a ten percent discount on all products and services (go tell your mom!)
I was told that none of the products contain flour produced from Monsanto seeds and no preservatives/additives/artificial flavours. Amongst the macarons, flaky pastry and choux pastry/Viennoiserie there are savories such as a Ham & Cheese bun and a Pizza bread. There was so much to choose from but I managed to narrow it down to half a dozen macarons, one choux pastry and one mousse pastry. There is no seating available at Yann Haute so all orders are made to go. I brought these babies home immediately and dug in then.
First up, was the Hazelnut Beignet which was appropriately chocolate-y, yet interesting enough to write about. Light, fluffy choux dough deep that was deep fried and filled with a decadent hazelnut cream, dipped in chocolate icing and topped with roasted hazelnuts. The dough was wonderfully airy, allowing the injection of the cream to fill up the entire beignet (which really is just a fancy cream filled doughnut honestly). The ratio of pastry to filling was spot on as each bite resulted in a mouthful of cream coming from the centre rather than just dry dough (I’m looking at you, TIm Hortons … stop skimping out on the filling!) This beignet was not overly sweet, not greasy to the touch (no oily grease residue on your hands) and was the perfect ratio of dough to cream to chocolate to toasted hazelnuts.
Next is the Salted Caramel Mousse, which was covered in dense white chocolate ganache (it had a lovely hint of citrus flavour) and garnished with a macaron twist and chocolate salt flakes. Eating the salted caramel mousse felt like I was biting into a cloud as each bite was light and airy. The apricot filling within helped to bring out the citrus notes in the white chocolate, while also adding a touch of tangy-ness that tempered the sweetness in the mousse/ganache. The balance of the salty, creamy and sweetness was well executed as each component did not overpower each other allowing for the distinct flavours of apricot, white chocolate, cream and salt to come through in each bite. My favourite part of this pastry was the squares of thin chocolate decorations (flakes of sea salt encased around chocolate). The sweet sensation of one of these squares melting on your tongue is followed by a small burst of saltiness is out of this world. This pastry has major potential and is a serious contender in the category of being the best thing I’ve ever eaten.
Of all the places in YYC, Yann Haute has a reputation for making “the best” macarons (a quick Google search proved that this patisserie has won several awards for their macarons). As much touted as these macarons are, at the technical level I found that my cookies all varied in quality. I’m not a macaron connoisseur though, so don’t just take my word on this— it’s just that as I tasted each cookie, I noticed that each flavour had a different texture and density (I’m excluding the fillings/jams in this evaluation). Some, such as the Strawberry Vanilla and Rose & Lychee were extremely soft and almost mooshy (too much of a meringue consistency), while others (the Raspberry Chocolate and Black Currant & Violet) were crisp on the outside and chewy within (how macarons are supposed to be technically). While the flavour of the Irish Coffee was wonderful rich and complex, the texture was crunchy. I have not experienced this type of macaron discrepancy at bakeries/restaurants elsewhere but every rose has its thorns, amirite? I wonder if the nature of the various flavourings had a part to play in the off texture/consistency of some of my macarons? I’m not sure if it was an error on the end of the bakery or my choice to leave the macarons at room temperature in the kitchen had a negative effect on the macarons (I don’t use a humidifier and it was a cold, dry day fyi)? Maybe it was due to their the use of the “secret ingredient”:
Personally I was not a fan of the macarons here, but overall I liked Yann Haute and cannot wait to return soon to try some of their more unusual pastry combinations. If you find yourself near Twenty-third Street S.W. and your sweet tooth is acting up, I recommend that you aim to swing by Yann Haute— it’s in a bright yellow house that you can’t miss. Street parking is available and note that they are closed on Mondays. Go tell your mom about it!