I generally don’t hang out. I just don’t see the appeal of sitting around a cafe with nothing but a cup of coffee talking to someone or gazing at some scenery. It might be okay for ten minutes, maybe twenty, but after that I just want to leave. I don’t like to be outside. I’m like a fat Gollum. I like to lurk alone in the shadows of my cave with my precious desserts. Hence, while the ocean view of Cafe Villaggio is certainly a draw to many, I was only interested in their food. They have a pretty big selection of cakes, pastries and other baked goods. I picked up a few cakes (Cappuccino Cake, Chocolate Cheesecake, and Chocolate Swiss Roll) and two croissants (Hazelnut Chocolate and Almond).
Cappuccino Cake ($5.00):
According to the description on their label, this consisted of hazelnut daquoise, coffee cremeux, and vanilla custard. The layers of cream and custard were rich, creamy and quite sweet, with a nice fragrance of coffee. Unfortunately, I found the chocolate that they used to be somewhat waxy and had a pretty strong, stale flavour that I found to be somewhat off-putting.
Hazelnut Chocolate Croissant ($4.50):
This is a double-baked croissant that’s filled with a chocolate hazelnut paste and topped with flaked almonds. While the croissant was not as crisp and flaky as the ones from the top tier bakeries (Thomas Haas, Chez Christophe etc), it was still quite rich and buttery, with a nice fragrance from the almonds. I don’t know if they make the filling in house, but it’s not nutella (as I had expected), but rather a ground nut paste mixed with chocolate. It had a nice fragrance of almonds; I couldn’t really detect much hazelnut in it however. They also have an almond version of the croissant, and I got one for my mom. She absolutely loved it.
Chocolate Cheesecake ($5.50):
This consisted of a layer of cheesecake that’s topped with chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache. The cheesecake was smooth and creamy, with a nice mild tang. I do find it to be a bit too soft for my liking – I prefer firmer New York Style cheesecakes – but that’s just a personal preference. I was a bit nervous about the layer of chocolate ganache as I found the chocolate in their cappuccino cake to be stale and waxy; fortunately, the chocolate here however was good; smooth and rich with a prefect bittersweet flavour. This is a solid cheesecake; I actually prefer it over the ones from Trees Organic.
Chocolate Swiss Roll ($4.50):
This consisted of chocolate cake filled with marscapone cream. I did not care for the cake itself: it had an odd chewy, gummy texture and was almost completely flavourless, and seemed to have a bit of a stale, “off” flavour. The cream filling was quite good however: it was light, soft and creamy, and seemed to be quite fresh.
For the (probable) majority of people who do enjoy hanging out, Cafe Villaggio is definitely a good place, especially if you happen to catch one of the rare days when it’s actually sunny in Vancouver. For the few Gollums out there, this is still a decent place to get some reasonably-priced cakes and pastries (provided that you know which ones to get and which ones to avoid). Their cheesecake is definitely preciousssssss!