European Bakery and Deli – Calgary, AB


European Bakery and Deli
160-515 17 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2S 0A9
(403) 806-3768

Meat on a stick. Meat wrapped in dough. Every culture has some variation of these tasty treats, and I have to admit, I’ve never really found one I didnt like. While im sure anthropologists have some theory for why these managed to develop separately in countries with no trade, or historical contact, the end result is really all that matters. When attending a festival, or travelling abroad, you can always count on finding a new local variant of meat in dough. Something a little less exotic, and a little more familiar, on one of your less adventurous days.

Hidden in a small recessed storefront, underneath an apartment building on 17th Ave SW in Calgary – better known as the Red Mile – the European Bakery and Deli, from outwards appearances, seems to be another in the long line of independent convenience stores. “Porn, liquor, and smokes” my University friends used to call these ubiquitous stores. With one drastic difference: Bakery really means bakery. Inside is a treasure trove of breads and other baked delights. Including Burek.

The first Burek i ever had was the Bosnian & Herzegovina version – rolled puff pastry filled with spiced beef, and coiled into a pie and baked. This was an extremely tasty treat – each bite netting a great combination of pastry and spiced meat – no bite was left wanting. This was a dish truly worthy of the meat in dough tradition.

I first heard mention from John Manzo (by way of Chowhound) , frequent Foodosophy commenter, that fresh Bureks were available in Calgary at the European Bakery and Deli. I was slightly disappointed to discover that they served the Serbian version – rounds of pastry and meat that more resemble a Calzone, but i quickly put that aside and looked forward to sampling a new meat in dough offering.

European Bakery and Deli had two Burek versions available – meat, and cheese. Cut like pizza slices, a very large piece of each was laid out in a to go container, with the corners thoughtfully cut to allow steam to escape. These are probably better eaten promptly, than allowing them to cool, and get a bit soggy.

The verdict? Not bad. The meat one was quite good – the outside was baked to a wonderful golden brown, with a satisfying, crispy bite. The pastry inside was soft, not flaky, but contrasted well with the crust. The meat itself was a bit sparse, many bites missing the required blend of dough and filling. It was also a bit under-seasoned, and could have used with a few more spices, and salt. The cheese offering was a bit worse – filled with feta, it came out a bit mouth-blistering salty. Once again, some spices, or hot sauce, would have been a welcome relief from the blast of salty, sticky feta. However, at the price (~$3.50), it’s really hard to complain about something handmade, that can easily serve as a large snack for a hungry person. If you have no shame like me, next time, i would bring tomatoes, banana peppers, and some spinach, and stuff the cheese Burek with them, making a better balanced, tastier meal.

What have i learned from all this? Surprisingly, a lot. Im surprised that a few regional differences in a Burek would result in such a difference in taste. Considering these version both come from the former Yugoslavia. I never expected there to be such variation. After all, in Asian cuisine, a dumpling is a dumpling to me, and i love them all. While i will continue to search for Bosnian Bureks, the ones available fresh at the European Bakery and Deli are worth the occasional drop in.

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10 thoughts on “European Bakery and Deli – Calgary, AB

  1. Interesting article! It’s making me want to try a burek now too!
    I do think there is quite a lot of variation in the world of Asian dumplings, though.

  2. Prized Cow – you’re right, there’s lots of variation in filling. But i find very minute differences between Gyoza, Jiaozi, and Mandoo. Sure, the skins are different thicknesses, but other than that, they are all derivatives of the same thing in my mind.

  3. Irene,

    European Bakery and Deli doesnt use Puff Pastry, they use a risen dough. I have no idea if it is fresh or frozen though. Sorry.

  4. their food is amazing! they give you a taste of europe.
    i honestly get so home sick sometimes
    but they have stuff my mom use to make when i was a kid
    their all so friendly and its an awesome enviornent to be in
    i love it, im their almost every other day.
    keep up the great work guys!

  5. Excellent food real EUROPEAN taste, i am there almost every second day
    for fresh BUREK. People who raised up on Chinese food have no idea what is a quality food with less spices in it and natural ingredient components.

    Bread is excellent on quality i will recommended to all bread lovers
    it is now almost 11 years i was waiting for this kind of Food Store.

    CONGRATULATION EUROPEAN BAKERY keep up the good job.

    Thanks for reading my comment …………../

    >> Life Time Customer <<

  6. Jozef,

    Maybe im being particularly sensitive at the moment, but your comment smacks of racism. And i’ll be honest… i thought about just deleting your comment and being done with it, but we established rules, and you are entitled to your voice. However, i personally still think you’re a jackass.

    Out of curiosity, what does the kind of food someone is raised on have to do with their understanding of food in general? Seriously. I’d love to hear it. My reference to Chinese cuisine was a way of describing a ubiquitous cultural dish similar to the burek in it’s pervasiveness across a region. A simple reference, which if you actually bothered to read the site, as opposed to googling in on a specific topic, you might understand that we at Foodosophy have a fairly global view. Much more so than you appear to demonstrate.

    Anyway, your points on how you enjoy the bakery are certainly valid, and even an expression of your preference is encouraged. But do NOT ever again criticize something on this site based on race – or for that matter, gender, or sexual orientation – it will not be tolerated. Period. I personally ABHOR this kind of behaviour. Consider yourself warned. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on food here. Even you, as sad as that makes me sometimes.

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