As I stepped inside, I was immediately struck by how charming this little nook was. The store is very small and lined with big shelves filled with baked goods. There were even tiny plates of samples scattered here and there. Plus, the entrance boasted a small day-old section for bargain hunters. The first thing that entered my mind was that if I ever opened my own bakery (one can dream!), it would look like this.
I wandered around and saw lots of gluten-free cookies, cakes, a few pies and fruit crumble. They also carried gluten-free bread (not made by them) and pasta. I eyed the array of cookies, and eventually settled on a pack of 2 big chocolate chip ones ($4). I went to the cash to pay for my treats, and this is where the experience turned a little sour for me. I was in a jolly mood, so I told the woman behind the counter how excited I was to have found a place with so many gluten-free offerings. I was so happy! I said I’d definitely return because I was eager to try some of their other goodies. I expected her to show a little enthusiasm, maybe even a smile, but instead she ignored what I said and just tried to upsell me some fruit crumble. Ummm… ok. Not what I had anticipated. Slightly off-putting, but no biggie. Then, as she was counting out my change, I asked if I could have $3 back for bus fare. I didn’t
think it was a huge demand since she was giving me change back anyway. And, after all, I had just bought somewhat expensive cookies and showered her business with praise. But, I was wrong! No change for moi! And, even though I could clearly see she had change in the till, I was told to walk over to the laundromat next door. She said Trillium never carries much change and the Laundromat has lots so I should go there. After her refusal, I tried again:
-Me: “But… but… but… M’am, one of the main reasons I bought these cookies was to get bus change."
-Lady: “Like I said, we don’t give change”
-Me: “But, it’s just $3, and I don’t want to miss my bus”
-Lady: “Well, there’s nothing I can do for you”
What? Really? It’s not like I wanted a barrel of quarters! And, my change already included two toonies, so she just had to break one. It was silly! Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it felt like she was just trying to be difficult. This was definitely not the friendly personal experience I had expected from a local entrepreneur. Plus, after everything, I missed my bus because of it. Grumble. At least the guy at the Laundromat was nice!
I had walked into Trillium with such excitement and delight, only to walk out a disappointed customer. To me, a simple smile and a little human kindness go a very long way. I hope to have a better experience there if I ever wander in again.
As for my cookies, they were OK, but nothing to write home about. (This is my unbiased opinion, which has nothing to do with my experience there! I even got a second opinion from Kris, who wasn’t blown away either) I found the cookies to be a bit too sweet, and somewhat lacking in chocolate chips. They were also just a tad too crumbly and didn’t have much depth of flavour. On a scale of 5, they would get a 2.5. Not that bad, not that great –just OK. I refrigerated the second cookie for the next day, and it was a bit better chilled, but still didn’t knock my socks off. Maybe 3 out of 5 this time.
I’d certainly be interested in trying Trillium’s other cookie flavours, cakes or the fruit crumble sometime, but I won't get the chocolate chip cookies again. If anyone has a different or more positive review of Trillium’s offerings, I’d love to hear it! I’m sad I had a bad experience.
Trillium Bakery also caters to other allergies and food sensitivities by offering dairy-free, sugar-free, egg-free, peanut-free, yeast-free and preservative-free foods. They can also design custom products on request.
209 Belmont Ave. (at Bank St.)