Culture  Beginning to blossom

Eco-minded bakery settles into its new location

Old fashioned ambiance, flower-flavoured delights, and eco-friendly products are just a few of the thrills to expect at the recently re-located Fuchsia café.

Specializing in pastries made with fragrant flowers, Fuchsia not only offers a treat for the senses of taste and smell, but also features local produce, minimizing the use of refined ingredients. With a fixed daily meal that includes an entrée, dessert, and drink for $12, one can sit and digest while diving into the café’s archive of Martha Stewart magazines – undoubtedly a source of inspiration for their brilliant concept.

Walking into the café on the corner of Duluth and Coloniale, visitors are pleasantly confronted with earthy brown walls and flowered curtains reminiscent of a country cottage. A big white dog with one blue and one grey eye comes to greet you at the front door. The counter lies adjacent to the wall and cake-stands featuring cookies, cakes, scones, and other tea time varieties – many visibly speckled with flower petals – invite you to take your pick. Lemon-rose cake, lightly dusted with powdered sugar, is just one of the daily-baked confections, standing majestically at the centre.

The establishment’s owner, Binky, grew up in Delaware where her father was an avid fruit and vegetable grower, and her mother tended to a garden as well. As a result, much of her childhood was spent picking fruit and learning about plants. Later on, culinary school taught her to experiment with different flavours. “I started getting into Iranian cooking with rose and orange blossom,” she recalls. From then on, her love for the ingredient flourished. “Once I started using flowers, I couldn’t imagine cooking without them!”

When she’s not helping out a customer, Binky can be seen spending time with family and friends who hang around the café and often help out. Having first visited Montreal in 1987, the owner now considers it her true home and is eager to provide fellow Montrealers with a unique taste that is both healthy and affordable.

The café’s array of mismatched plates and teacups exemplifies its dedication to providing an “eco-responsible” eating experience. Fuschia encourages customers to bring their own containers for carrying home leftovers, and a discount is awarded to those who bring back the mason jars in which products like luscious bath salts and scented scrubs are carefully packaged – even the labels are made from post-consumer recycled paper. Other products offered from their impressive collection of garden-infused delights include rosebud-chai lip balm, vintage aprons, and orange coriander blossom jam.

Fuchsia’s attention to environmentally responsible practices and its community-oriented setting make it an inspiring place to visit. The café’s web site proudly states their affiliation with Greening Duluth, a local organization seeking to promote “a green community in the heart of a thriving metropolis.” Hand-sewn curtains, pillows, and salvaged table cloths all contribute to the comfortable, homey atmosphere. Fuschia is a place to lunch and lounge, surrounded by the clink of cups and the aroma of a freshly brewed pot of tea.