Chocolate Caramel Torte


We had a good Halloween week at PGB. Halloween has always been a fairly busy holiday for us – lots of parties and so on- but with the pandemic, all bets are off with any kind of historical data.
But, come October 31st, people managed to creatively and safely gather to celebrate Halloween with cake and cupcakes and so our advance orders and walk in sales were a nice surprise.
But overall, as the days get shorter and the pandemic storms on, I’d describe this time as a waiting game, with a lot of uncertainty here in Toronto’s retail and foodservice industries about what Winter 2020-21 is going to bring.
In the meantime, with a really strong team in place to run PGB’s operations, I have more time than I did a year ago when we were expanding and every day was full of new challenges to solve.
So over the last couple of months I have done a few things to fill the extra time.
I’ve reinstated my status as a registered psychotherapist from “inactive” to “active”, relaunched writing a book, and started cooking and baking more.
The active RP status means I need to start taking professional development; so far I’ve taken a half day course called “Challenging Treatment in Challenging Times”, and I am 3 days into a 5 day course about narrative therapy at the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health. 
My book outline has changed 180 degrees to be less about the business of food, and more about the role food plays in the lives of our families and friends.
And my greater time in the kitchen has meant that I have perfected a couple of recipes I have been semi-working on for years: a Chocolate Caramel Torte with which I won $100 in a dessert café’s contest years ago in Calgary, and another recipe for Mocha Crunch cake that is my attempt to recreate a cake that I love from another Calgary dessert place. There is one small piece of the latter still in the fridge and when I wrapped it up last night, I had to make it clear to our son – now living with us who has taken quite a shine to this cake- that, about this last piece, it is mine. 
It’s weird to think that none of these activities would be happening at all but for the pandemic – and it all has made me realize (once again) how little control we have over circumstances and how much control we have over what we do with them.



About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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