Included among all the Asian eateries in Richmond, British Columbia are a number of Chinese bakeries where you can find wife cakes, pineapple buns, egg tarts, and the like. So I was surprised to see that the classically French L'Opera Patisserie recently opened in Richmond, offering breakfast pastries, lunch service, and even afternoon high tea.
I started with the Croissant ($2.80, pictured above). It's a little lighter than many of the better bakery croissants I've tried, perhaps appealing to Asian preferences. While it might have benefitted from a little more butter, the flavor was good, and the contrast between crispy crust and airy crumb was evident. For those interested, there's a chance to branch out to chocolate croissants, double almond croissants, and even savory options.
The Rose Raspberry Charlotte ($5.80) beckoned me with its topping of brightly colored, plump raspberries atop a spongy base of light and sweet ladyfingers. Above the ladyfingers is cream infused with organic rose oil from France, giving the charlotte a subtly pleasant perfume smell upon approach to the mouth. This is the type of dessert that would seem suitable if taking high tea service at L'Opera, and it demonstrates the bakery's quest for quality ingredients.
Finally, I finished with a Rumba ($5.80). Though diminutive in size, the dark dome packs powerful flavor. This rumba has both coffee mousse and salted caramel mousse, with praline topping above and chocolate sponge along with chocolate covered feuilletine flakes below. This creates an interesting textural experience, as the mousse melts away while the flakes and praline provide crispiness. Overall, the coffee and chocolate flavors linger in the mouth, sweetened by that salted caramel.
Overall, this bakery is worth a stop, especially if you're in the mood for a more classic European treat.
5951 Minoru Boulevard, Richmond, BC V6X 4B1 (map)
About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.