The food: more lemon meringue tarts
Now that we’re in round two of the Hungry Novelist lemon meringue tart round-up (see round one here), it’s time to institute a completely arbitrary and subjective scoring system. Because I can.
Each tart judged in this round will be scored out of 19 with up to 5 points given for each of:
1) visual appeal
2) filling and meringue taste/quality
3) crust taste/quality
and up to 2 points given for each of:
1) shop ambiance, and
2) value for money
Contestant #1 in this round is a tart from the new Yonge Street branch of Nadege, a jewel box of a patisserie that originated on Queen West and recently set up shop in the tonier Summerhill area.
The design of the Yonge Street shop is similar to the award-winning look of the Queen Street shop, with a looks-like-it’s-curated selection of pastries, croissants, cakes and macarons displayed as if they were precious objects. Even the box that the $5.50 lemon meringue tart comes in is design-y:
Here’s the Nadege tart:
I’ll give it 1.5 for shop ambiance (the shop is lovely but a little off-putting/intimidating, like I felt I ought to be dressed better and be wearing more makeup than I usually am, just to enter it), 3.5 for the nicely circular swirled design of the rather pallid-looking meringue, 4 for the taste of the filling and meringue and the generous quantity of the lemon filling, 3 out of 5 for its competent but not-my-favourite cookie-style crust, and 2 for value, especially compared to the other cakes on display which cost around $8+ for tiny little things, some smaller than this tart. Total points: 14.
Next up is a tart I bought in a moment of madness at a Loblaws bakery counter. The tart was labelled as being from La Rocca bakery, though I can’t find it on the La Rocca website, so maybe it’s from somewhere else.
Its conehead look was intriguing (I gave it 4/5 for appearance) but it tasted nasty, with a chemical-ish aftertaste to the filling and meringue and a yucky, possibly almond-pasteish flavour to the crust. It was so bad I threw it out after taking two bites. It gets 2 zeroes for taste, and 1 out of 2 for value, because at $2.99 it was cheap. Total score: 5/19
The round two winner, then, is the tart shown at the top of the post, and in cross-section below, from Frangipane, a charming patisserie on Dupont Street at Madison.
The shop gets a 2/2 score for being cosy, friendly and pretty; the look of the tart a 5 for the nicely browned, pleasingly shaped meringue, the taste of the filling a 4.5, and the crust a 4, because though it’s a shortbread crust, it’s a good shortbread crust. At $5.50 per, its value also garners a 2/2 score, making its total 17.5 out of 19, and coming in at a close second behind the round one winner from the Canadian Pie Company (score: 18) which, though pricey, is still the best, in my particular and perhaps peculiar opinion, in either round.