The first thing you notice when you walk into Last Crumb Bakery and Café is the delicious smell of fresh baking. That smell is intoxicating and inviting. The space itself is also impressive, with 2 floors, plenty of seating, and a peek-a-boo window in their busy bakery kitchen. You can’t help but smile when you read the quote on the window, “Life is Short, Eat Dessert First.”
I got a chance to meet one of the woman behind the business, Joanne, who actually owns and runs the business with her sister, Julianne. The Last Crumb officially opened late September 2012 on Main Street near Burgoo on Main and 15th. Joanne calls the concept behind their food “North American nostalgic baked goods and savoury treats” and “a combination of old classics with a modern twist that still remind of your favourites that your grandma used to make.” Joanne used to work in corporate HR and her sister, Julianne is from the world of corporate business development. Joanne has always had a passion for baking and a dream of opening a bakery was always on the back-burner. When Joanne and Julianne’s mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer; things changed. The two sisters formed a strong tag team, navigating their ESL parents through the medical battle.
Pancreatic is an extremely tough cancer. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in Canada and most people who develop pancreatic cancer do so without any predisposing risk factors. Perhaps the biggest risk factor is increasing age; it typically affects individuals older than 50. It has the highest mortality rate of all the major cancers – 94% of patients die within 5 years of their diagnosis and 75% of patients die within the first year. It is referred to as a silent killer – it’s difficult to detect and spreads so quickly. Vague symptoms including back/abdominal pain, jaundice and nausea usually appear after the cancer is at an advanced stage making it difficult to treat.
The bakery dream started to develop as the sisters realized how well they worked together, and the dream seemed to give strength to their mother. “We’d always talk about the bakery with her, we’d tell her about creating a beautiful space where she and her friends could have high tea together.” After battling for one and a half years, their mother passed away. The sisters then moved forward to make the dream a reality and open a bakery café.
The cafe is quite spacious and bright, with two floors and plenty of seating. Joanne says the goal was to create a social space that is open and airy with a sense of community. To help build this social atmostphere, The Last Crumb also offers an afternoon tea service experience of weekends!
The Last Crumb calls their serves up North American nostalgic baking goods and savory treats. These delicious desserts are a combination of old classics with a contemporary feel and remind you of the ones grandma use to bake. Their menu is pretty extensive, offering old-fashioned cakes, pies, cookies, squares, sandwiches, soups, incredible scones, warm drinks, and lots of gluten free options. Everything in the bakery is made fresh, in small batches, and with no artificial flavoring or preservatives AND they have a nice selection of gluten free baked goods.
Joanne was nice enough to let me sample one of their most popular sellers, a Bacon and Cheese Scone ($2.95). This is a killer scone, very homestyle, buttery, and biscuit-like. The outside is crunchy, crispy and caramelized and the inside is flaky and cake-y. I felt like the ratio of bacon, cheese, and chives created a really nice, balanced flavour.
Hungry yet? Well, if you needed more of a reason to check out The Last Crumb, they are partnering with the Canadian Cancer Society for a Desserts and Daffodils campaign throughout the month of April to raise funds for cancer. A portion of sales proceeds for the full month of April on High Tea Service, daffodil cupcakes and daffodil sugar cookies will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society for pancreatic cancer research. To find out more about the campaign check out this link http://www.fightback.ca/index.html