Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ottavio Italian Bakery and Delicatessen, Oak Bay Village, Victoria

Food, Culture and History

One last bakery/deli in Victoria. My sister lives near Oak Bay Village, and I always make my way along the Bowker Creek path to spend a half day visiting the stores in Oak Bay Village.

The Village's Tudor-style architecture is a humorous reminder of Victoria’s strong British roots, and you can still enjoy a British-style tea at the Blethering Place Tea Room.

But there are other cultural strands weaving their way through Oak Bay Village, and one of the most tasty can be found at Ottavio Italian Bakery and Delicatessen.

Ottavio is a third-generation family business owned by Monica Pozzolo and Andrew Moyer. Monica’s grandparents owned a pasticceria, bar & gelateria in Torino, Italy for over 40 years, while her family has operated The Italian Bakery on Quadra Street in Victoria since 1978.

The store carries over 25 extra virgin olive oils from Italy, France, Spain, Greece and the United States. One of the staff helpfully points out some of the different varieties. “Olive oils are like wines. They’re all different,” she explains. “L’Affiorato is light and fruity and popular with local chefs. Oliveto fonte de Poland is deep, rich, very peppery and full-bodied. Olio Carli is blended and popular because it is consistent.” (My apologies if I misspelled the names of the oils.)

Ottavio has a wonderful display of cookies and baked goods from The Italian Bakery – cannoli and cornetti, baci di dama and brutti ma buoni, amaretti, fossette, and moretti.

There is a mix of local and international products – pickled walnuts from England, chocolate bars from Spain, Kusmi tea from France, but also Victoria’s Feys & Hobbs rhubarb chutney and an entire refrigerated case devoted to cheeses from Quebec and British Columbia.

You can enjoy a sit-down meal in the store or on the patio or pick up a takeout lunch to eat on the beach.

While you’re in Oak Bay, be sure to visit the bookstores, jewellery and home design stores. And The Village Patisserie has good take-out salads, pizzas and other baked goods.

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