The opening of Felicio’s Cake Boutique realized a longstanding dream of its owners and operators Alessandra and Valdir Felicio. In 2002, a decade prior, they had moved their family to Canada from Brazil. Alessandra is a math teacher by training, but acquired a love for baking at a young age – having learned at home with her parents – while Valdir’s parents were themselves bakers by trade. Felicio’s was launched with ambitions to impart a sense of Brazilian heritage to the region. To that end, everything they sell is made in-house, from scratch, with all natural ingredients – some of which are also brought in from Brazil – with no dyes, no shortening, no preservatives. And while it certainly is a tremendous cake boutique, Felicio’s is much, much more.
Stepping into the shop, I am always met with a warm greeting. Felicio’s is home to an inviting, relaxing atmosphere. With ample seating, free WiFi, and room to lounge, this place feels just as comfortably appropriate on a quiet afternoon with a book as it does a social outing with company. Alessandra is terrifically gregarious in her approach to welcoming customers and is always excited to answer questions about the menu; it is wonderfully heartening to hear a chef speak with passion for her food so consistently, and all of this tends to set a positive tone for your visit.
Felicio’s makes and serves cakes, of course, but there are many ways to try their cakes and sweets. Its cake-in-a-cup is essentially a slice of cake, fitted into a to-go cup, alternating layers of cake and frosting. On a smaller scale there are cupcakes, and if I need to explain cupcakes I don’t think we can be friends anymore. Smaller still, their ‘mini sweets’ and bonbons are bite-size (big bites) treats well-suited to sharing. Or not sharing. But it's also a great place to stop in for lunch, or a quick snack. The menu includes salads (garden and tropical), signature soup (with ingredients imported from Brazil), panini, and empada. I swung by for lunch before an afternoon class and set my sights on a Premium Panini (Ham) and a Hot Chocolate.
Felicio’s Hot Chocolate is hands down my favourite in Oshawa. A friend and I have had a recurring conversation about this magical stuff for more than a month which can be boiled down to “it tastes so real.” So I finally asked about it. It’s made with 100% cocoa, some milk, no additives, and as with everything else: all in-house, all from scratch. The Premium Panini comes with ham or turkey, and I opted for ham. The bread is a jalapeño bacon cheddar roll, sealing in the ham and tomato slices under a bed of melted parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella. The Panini isn’t uncomfortably hot; the jalapeño lends it a little bit of a perk, which is quickly subdued by the sweet and salty toppings. The flavours all play nicely off of each other. The side salad comes with Felicio’s in-house vinaigrette, and is a fresh, feel-good complement to the panini. I didn’t realize until looking up the menu much later that this meal is actually one of Felicio’s gluten-free options, which I never would have suspected, but you can bet I’m going to let myself feel extra healthy about it.
Felicio’s is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Stationed at 65 Albert Street, it is a very short walk from downtown classes. I don’t think there’s anyone for whom I wouldn’t recommend a visit; Felicio’s boasts gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan choices, one of which is a vegan chocolate raspberry cake on my to-eat list. You can place a cake order online for pickup too, but for your more immediate dining needs – whether you’re craving Brazilian coffee, the best hot chocolate ever, lunch, dinner, or just dessert (try the Raspberry Surprise cake-in-a-cup!) – Felicio’s Cake Boutique is a must-visit. On top of its everyday menu, its Facebook page is also regularly updated with seasonal and/or unique additions to the menu, like Apple Cider in the fall, or the occasional Glazed Orange Donut. Be sure to pay Felicio’s a visit soon, and say hi for me!