As you can tell from our blog, we are big on sweets so we decided to keep the momentum going with a Chicago-area Romanian find. Ovy Bakery (3455A W Dempster, Skokie, IL) is so unassuming, if you blink you’ll miss it for two reasons: 1. it is located in a completely nondescript strip mall and 2. there is a big sign reading “La Patisserie” outside from the bakery’s former incarnation. I only noticed Ovy because I was intrigued by the “Transylvanian” sign in the window – not a common sight. Ovy Bakery is small, and when we visited it was pretty crowded! There were 2 sections of pastries in the glass case: traditional Romanian and more modern French-inspired creations. Chef Ovidiu Pop, the eponymous “Ovy,” who is of Romanian extraction, honed his pastry skills by working at Blackbird and the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, which explains the mashup of Romanian and other European styles.
We were bringing dessert to a friend’s house for dinner so we decided to sample five different pastries from both categories (clockwise from top right):
- Amandine – This is one for the rum lovers – a chocolate covered chocolate cake that had been soaked in rum. beware – it is very strong.
- Dobos Torte – This is a classic Eastern European cake that is composed of thin layers of chocolate buttercream and yellow sponge cake. Ovy’s was a perfect rendition that equally blended both varieties, which complemented each other perfectly, with neither flavor dominating. A creative new twist was the crunchy, caramelized top
- Honey Cake (seen at the bottom of the page) – This was similar to the Dobos torte in appearance, and featured delicate layers of honey cake, pastry cream and apricot jam. It had a faint graham cracker flavor, which was both delicious.
- Creme – This dessert looked simple, but had a very unique taste – it was puff pastry filled with a vanilla cream that tasted more like a gelatinous zabaglione than pastry cream. Though the texture was a bit unusual, it was still very good!
- From the modern side we sampled a Passion Fruit Mousse on a cookie base, which was exquisitely presented, and tasted even better.
I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of Ovy Bakery. They even offer catering for savory Romanian dishes, and other tidbits like breads (the most popular seemed to be the sweet bread Cozonac) and doughnuts. If you are in the mood for something a little different to bring to a dinner party, these pan-European treats from Ovy will definitely impress your guests