Strawberry Blonde Bakery @ 114B Grange Avenue, Ottawa, ON
Open daily 8:30am-6:00pm
Yes, I was once SBB’s adopted child. I say “adopted” because that’s the literal word I used when I wrote a spontaneous email outlining my deep-rooted passion for baking — which in retrospect sounded more like a creepy declaration of love — to star owners, J and C, in my desperate hopes of landing a volunteering position there, once upon a blue moon ago. And Reader, adopt me they did.
I’m still deeply grateful that these lovely ladies and E, the manager at the time, took a chance on me. I didn’t have a baking background or any baking credentials whatsoever; I just had my word and my puppy dog eyes that reflected a desire so real and deep, that they felt it too. The best gift was their belief in me, and seeing how passionate I was and how eager I was to learn, they welcomed me into their quaint little bakery with open arms.
During what little time I’d spent with my SBB family, I was given the opportunity to bake all sorts of desserts, with E and my co-workers to help lead the way. Bakery life was no walk in the park, I realized — as with any job, it requires hard work, discipline, commitment, time-management, and the will to succeed — but at the end of the day, being able to create scrumptious treats and to exercise my creativity in a fun and creative environment, with creative and inspiring people, was the cherry on top.
Fast forward to today.
Would I still want to pursue a career in the baking industry? Probably not. Indeed, there goes my wild, passionate dream. But what I can say with certainty is that I’m glad I pursued different interests after graduating from university, and took a chance on the callings of my heart. That’s the only way I could’ve discovered uncharted avenues within myself: by doing things and taking chances, no matter how absurd. And sometimes, what I think I want, isn’t what I truly want; and my soul, the wisest of the wise, knows, and I trust its wisdom.
I didn’t mention it yet, but dear vegans and gluten-free people, this is a vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free bakery! The best of its kind in Ottawa, I dare say. Not because I’m biased, but because the mother whale in me has already been around town sampling treats from all walks of life, and this bakery here is a keeper. Plus, as a non-vegan and non-gluten-free nutty, if I purposely come here for desserts, then you know what’s crackin’. Try their cinnamon buns, please and thank you.
Like a faithful child returning to its parents’ arms, today I went back for another visit. I’ve always wanted to try their blueberry lavender scones because they sound so exotic and I enjoy trying unique flavours; and luckily for me, they were on today’s menu. (I’m a young woman with old lady tendencies — I love tea and scones; in fact, scones are the highlight of my existence.)
Their blueberry lavender scone was kickass. I died and went to heaven, then came back down because I heard a human voice, which smacked me upside the head. “Is it good?” a lady walked up to me and asked, as I was sitting outside enjoying my scone, on cloud-9. “REALLY good,” I said. So good, I returned a few hours later to buy the vanilla peach scone to take home.
They raised me well, and as their long, lost adopted child, even if I’m chasing my tail in circles, I shall never wander far, and will always find my way back to my roots.