When you first walk into Delysees you’re struck by the chic white interior. As you start to focus, you’re hit with a wash of jewel-like pastries that come in all shapes and sizes; from éclairs and multi-coloured macaroons to mini cakes and croissants – a deliciously visual feast.
It’s at this point I meet Fred Naggar, the personable owner of Delysees; I’m here to learn more about Naggar, the patisserie and his new line of sweet offerings.
Naggar, is Parisian-born, Toronto-educated (George Brown College – Culinary Arts program) and passionate about his business, Delysees, which he opened on King Street West, in 2013. As our interview continues, I discover that Naggar has a background in fashion; he spent 10 years in the fashion industry (California and New York), six of which were in LA as a brand manager for the denim line, Rock & Republic.
He returned to Toronto in 2011 and with his stellar marketing background, it’s not surprising that he was instrumental in the design of the café. He combined his passion for French pastries with his branding and merchandising background – and we get to enjoy the results.
Naggar got the buzz going before he opened the doors to the store. Launching only 10% of the product selection from what is evident today in the display cases.
The pastry chefs at the café all have a hand in the design and launch of new products. They are created, tested and tasted until everyone reaches a consensus the product is ready for sale. Not only does the pastry or frozen treat must taste heavenly it must also have an artistic appeal.
For example, it took the team six months to perfect the Choux pastry for the éclairs, from vigorous testing and tasted until it was finally ready for the pastry shelf. The Éclairs sell very well and are often featured on dessert tables at wedding parties.
The éclairs seen in the display case come in a variety of flavours from passion fruit, chocolate truffle, raspberry cream and coconut as well as specialty flavours like pure matcha cream. Pure matcha is sourced from Japan.
Ingredients for the creations are sourced from the best suppliers in Toronto, but food colours and gelato molds are imported from France and Italy.
New Launches of Mini Gelato Bars and the Mini Collection Pastries
In July 2016, Naggar launched a collection of “mini cheesecakes, éclairs, and tarts”; these bite-sized treats are available until September. Along with this mini-collection, Delysees also partnered with The Grange Winery, Prince Edward County, to offer a limited run of sparkling wine infused macaroon created using Brut Lot 4.
A mini collection of frozen Gelato ice-cream bars has been available throughout the summer. These frozen treats took a while to perfect to ensure that they not only taste delicious, but the look of each bar is consistently appealing. The macaron gelato treat was the most difficult to create; macaroons break easily under normal circumstances, but to freeze them, fill them with gelato and have them still hold their shape, that is no small feat. The team at Delysees perseveres and in the end they meet with success. Biting into these gelato bars; Sea Salt Caramel, Madagascar Vanilla, Lindt Chocolate – I’m impressed by the taste of the bars and burst of flavour with each mouthful.
Expanding the Business
Not one to rest on his laurels, Fred Naggar like most entrepreneurs is always exploring new ways to expand the business. Most recently he has signed up with Fedora delivery and Giftagram. Imagine you’re having a get-together with friends and need some high-quality desserts, you pick up the phone and in 15 minutes viola, you have Delysees pastries ready to serve.Signing up with Giftagram allows anyone to place an order with Delysees and have it delivered across the country.
These are just a few of the initiatives Naggar has launched, but one of the most successful is his personalized service provided to wedding parties. Brides and Grooms are always looking for that spectacular “Sweet Table”, party favours, and plated desserts at their wedding. This is where Naggar steps up the game by not only delivering the order but also personally sets up and customizes the look at the reception. The wedding business service has become so popular that Delysees is booked up till next year.
Fred Naggar’s other two partners in the business are his parents. His father lives in China and has helped in sourcing and lining up Delysees packaging needs. His mother handles all the bookkeeping needs of the business here in Toronto.
Delysees pastries can also be found at high-end cafes across the city from McEwans to Boxcar café. If you stop by the cafe try the mini-sandwiches they are absolutely delicious.