Friday, September 14, 2012

Bakery Review: Boulangerie Owl's Bread, Magog, Quebec

During our camping trip at Mont Orford in Quebec, the weather forecast one day was looking a little less than ideal, with something like a 70 or 80% chance of rain. So, we headed into the nearby town of Magog, a quaint village on the northern shore of Lake Memphremagog, for a little sightseeing.

As we walked the main drag, lined with a number of inviting restaurants, we stumbled upon Boulangerie Owl's Head, a bread bakery named for nearby Mount Owl's Head. A bilingual French-English sign in the front window noted that the bakery offered gluten-free breads on Wednesdays. It was a Tuesday. We resolved to return the next morning, our day of departure back to the states.

We had such high hopes. Overnight, we entertained visions of an elaborate spread of French-inspired gluten-free options: baguettes, croissants, pastries. The reality fell far short.

In practice, Boulangerie Owl's Head—at least on that day—offered a single gluten-free bread, in sizes small and smaller, which cost $6.25 and $3.50 Canadian, respectively. The bread is made in-house from rice flour, buckwheat flour, and a third flour we had trouble translating from the French, but which we suspect is garbanzo bean flour, plus maple syrup and olive oil. It is displayed on a common wooden rack alongside and beneath gluten-ous breads, which raises some serious cross-contamination concerns.

Fortunately, you're not missing much if you wisely opt to take a pass. This was one of the worst gluten-free breads we've ever had. When someone describes a loaf of bread as being dense and heavy like a brick, this bread should be the standard against which all others are judged. We couldn't even cut it with a knife. We tore it apart with our hands, took a requisite bite, and opted to give the rest to the birds, so to speak.

On the plus side, our campsite cuisine on this trip was glorious ... coming in a blog post next week!


1 comment:

Christina said...

If you ever pass by central Alberta, there is a bakery in Ponoka called the Raspberry Patch which makes gluten-free loaves right after they clean the bakery top to bottom. These loaves are available Thursdays for $7 and are a normal size and shape sandwich bread that is great cold or toasted. No bricks! Usually you need to pre-order but if you arrive early in the day you can snag one of the extras they make. They also have a lovely carrot cake and cookies you wouldn't realize are gluten-free but usually these are made by order only. There is often a gluten-free soup available at lunch too.