Ukrainian Desserts Famous in Canada
Ukrainian cuisine is renowned for its delicious desserts. In Toronto, Canada, a Ukrainian from the city of Ternopil runs a shop where people can try cakes, savories, and cookies
“I make them as my mother and grandmother taught me. We knead the dough in milk and eggs. The dough is very tasty. It’s tastier than how many people make it – with water. The flour has high gluten content – so they’re easier to make and don’t fall apart when boiled,” shop owner Natalia Shevtsiv said.
Shevtsiv opened her shop four years ago. Initially, she only sold baked cakes – but later expanded the selection, to include borsch, cabbage rolls, and varenyky.
“I was a bit wrong in thinking, at first, that it will be Ukrainians that will come to eat our traditional food. And you can’t make a business case on that alone. So I added Italian cuisine. But it turned out that many Canadians and representatives of other nationalities love our borshch, soup, cabbage rolls, and varenyky,” Shevtsiv said.
The Ukrainian bakes up to 30 different kinds of cakes and cookies — most of them using recipes from her home city of Ternopil, in the west of Ukraine.
Shevtsiv also prepares pecan tarts – a Canadian cake, and “cake pops” better known in Ukraine, as potato cake for its peculiar shape. Both are very popular among customers.
Diana Maksymmyshyn has been a sales assistant at the shop since it opened. Maksymmyshyn is a Canadian of Ukrainian descent. Working at the shop gives her the opportunity to practice speaking Ukrainian.
“At first, it was difficult. There were many different kinds of desserts that I needed to learn, with many different ingredients. And when there are many clients, one needs to be quick. This is good practice. Around half of the customers that come in are Ukrainian – so I can practice my language skills,” Maksymmyshyn said.
For the confectionery to have that homemade touch, Shevtsiv experimented with a lot of ingredients.
“I changed some of the recipes. I had to work on them, to adjust them, because they have different ingredients here, different fat content in butter and in margarine; totally different flour too. It works in some instances, but doesn’t in others,” Shevtsiv said.
Shevtsiv plans to expand the range of cakes and desserts – and introduce Canadians to a larger number of traditional Ukrainian pastries and dishes.