Bomou Artisanal Bakery had its grand opening on March 17, giving away 100 baguettes to the neighbourhood in order to spread the word about the modern Parisienne café arriving at Bayview and Eglinton. With alarming swiftness, however, sisters and co-owners Azar and Negar Sabzevari had to close up shop, as COVID-19 quarantined Toronto and most businesses had to cease operations.
“We were forced to close down for two weeks right after our grand opening,” says Azar, “and we needed to come up with a new agenda so we could survive the situation. [My sister and I] handled most of the work by ourselves and were at the bakery six days a week from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s hard to be a new business and not be able to present exactly what you planned for so many years.”
Despite the rocky start and what was an undoubtedly long list of compromises, the ethos of Bomou comes through loud and clear.
Negar Sabzevari studied in France while dreaming of opening her own boulangerie-pâtisserie that could rival the ones she experienced abroad. Today, Bomou’s signature products include their pistachio croissant and a selection of freshly-baked baguettes, which are both picking up in neighbourhood popularity as Torontonians venture out more frequently in Phase 2 of the city’s reopening.
Negar also makes in-house chocolate spread for purchase by the jar, made with sustainable chocolate and roasted hazelnut. Overall, the creations are wide-ranging, from cookies to mousse cakes and even lemonades and jams made from fresh Ontario strawberries.
The design of the space is stylish, minimalist, and draws the eye straight to big displays of breads and sweets. While the duo cites similar struggles facing most small businesses that had to open in the era of COVID — such as navigating new ways to spread the word and getting new customers in safely but effectively — they are confident that their products do a lot of the talking for them.
“Every day, we flourish in our savoir-faire [know-how] and take pride in our food quality,” says Azar. “We are [continuing to] share our passion for traditional French bread, viennoiseries, pastries, and chocolates with the people of Toronto.”