Originating in British Columbia, COBS has made a comfortable home for itself across Canada. With many locations in Toronto, COBS is positioning itself as a tasty, healthy option for buying baked goods. I walked into their Annex location (like their Kensington location, an excellent place to stop in the midst of a Sunday afternoon stroll) to buy their pizza bases and left with seven-grain bread and sourdough as well. It’s hard to resist fresh bread, especially at a bakery that only sells what they’ve baked that day. You can rest assured that the leftovers aren’t going to waste — COBS donates much of the day-old bread to charities.
You can also be confident that what you buy is good for you, as well as for the community, by encouraging healthy bread options at fair prices. All traditional breads are made without added preservatives, colouring, sugar, or dairy. Alongside crunchy white bread, you’ll find sourdough, rye, multigrain (labelled "country grain"), and pumpernickel. There’s also a higher-fibre white bread with three times the fibre and the same taste. Their chia bread is a source of Omega-3. If you aren’t sure what to pack for the kids when they’re at school, there’s a pamphlet on the counter that lists healthy suggestions using COBS baked goods, complete with mouth-watering photographs to convert candy-craving children. Since the prices per loaf are relatively equal ($4 to $5) to what you'd find at the Metro across the street, there's no reason not to make COBS your bakery of choice.
If you do feel like indulging, COBS has an assortment of sweet treats all year round, including apple and walnut logs, blueberry teatimes, classic cinnamon buns, and scones galore — pumpkin, cinnamon, fruit, chocolate, banana chocolate, apple and butterscotch, or berry and white chocolate. If you’re looking for seasonal fare, fall is the season for pumpkin, Christmastime brings ginger buns, spring is for lemon tarts and danishes, and Easter is all about hot cross buns.
The excellence of COBS bread is recognized beyond its customers. Looking around the shop, I saw 2012 and 2013 regional baking competition wins displayed above their breads, half of which were for first place (their high fibre and whole wheat loaves, respectively). You’ll also find COBS products all around the neighbourhood. The 370 Bloor Street location provides baked goods for a number of restaurants (there’s a list of them right next to the cash, including Serra, Insomnia, KO Burger, and Morocco in Yorkville). You’ve probably enjoyed their food without knowing it. If you need more baked goodness than you can find on their shop’s shelves, they take orders for events (the example one COBS employee gave me was 120 buns for a barbecue).
Like me, you might go to COBS to pick up pre-made pizza bases that you can throw in the freezer until you want to make a delicious dinner with as many veggies as you like and the cheese you prefer — whether low-fat mozzarella or Greek feta. Maybe you need some good sandwich bread for lunches at work or for the kids’ meals at school. Or perhaps you just want to pick up some pumpkin scones to eat at home with some apple cider or hot chocolate in celebration of fall. Whatever you’re looking for, the cheerful, enthusiastic staff at COBS will find it for you.