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Walking past 224 Queen Street West, Marvelous by Fred is hard to miss, as their large open windows showcase a beautiful display of freshly baked French pastries that tempt customers to wander into the store.
This French bakery chain opened back in April but was unable to receive the grand community welcome Torontonians are known for because their opening, unfortunately, coincided with the beginning of the citywide shutdown.
To the owner's excitement, the patisserie is finally now welcoming walk-ins for the very first time, as the shop is slowly beginning to operate how they had imagined it would have originally.
The first Toronto location of Marvelous by Fred was opened by Lille couple, Jean-Sébastien Gambier and his wife Jennifer. The couple are hoping to bring a taste of France and Belgium to the neighbourhood and are trying to navigate logistics of this family operated business during this period of slowly reopening.
This past weekend was one of the first weekends good weather has graced the city. As people started emerging from their homes, the owners thought it would be beneficial to test out the walk-in clientele. "We decided to open the doors because we noticed that there was definitely more foot traffic and more people in the parks and outside," commented Sebastian. "We are equipping ourselves with plexiglass around the displays and asking cashiers to prepare themselves for our customers," Sebastian added.
Sebastian and Jennifer are in the midst of raising their young children and are about to welcome a new baby into to their family. Juggling stress from the pandemic, and a family, these business owners are working to keep the shop running smoothly and implement ways to ensure their customers and themselves remain safe.
When Sebastian spoke with TasteToronto, his passion about his business and pastries shone through immensely. Aside from the delicious croissants that you may find in most French bakeries, this patisserie is known for their Merveilleux -- a meringue coated in chocolate whipped cream and covered with shavings of dark chocolate.
They also serve delicious Flemish-style brioche called cramique, which originate from northern France and Belgium. The brioche is filled with chocolate chips and Flemish flat waffles.
Sebastian also spoke of new lunch specials they will be testing out -- delicious sandwiches served on their famous milk bread brioche buns. "We do a few products and make them as good as possible," Sebastian added.
The duo believe that the quality of their product is the key to success. Everything is made from the freshest, finest ingredients that have been well researched and sought after. Taking one bite into any of their pastries -- it is apparent how each pastry is masterfully created and baked to perfection. If you haven't already you should definitely try a pastry (or three) from Marvellous by Fred.