Have you ever walked into a cafe and said to yourself: there’s something in the air, the vibe, the food, and the people? That’s what the dynamic duo felt this past Saturday on a blisteringly cold morning. Whenever it gets cold like this we think of when our grandparents emigrated from Southern Italy, and if only they could have sold that extra cow to pay for a boat ticket to Australia; life could have been very different…
Anyhow back to our Canadian reality… Dei Campi translates into Deschamps, which is the last name of the extremely talented pastry chef, wife and co-owner behind this Rosemont gem. Together with her charming husband Nick, Isabelle cranks out some seriously decadent vegan desserts. Have we converted to veganism? Time to find out:
Located in a nondescript industrial strip mall facing a lovely park, Dei Campi is hard to spot but well worth the trip. The neighborhood has come a long way over the years. Through the magic of gentrification it has gone from being an area known for its questionable revenue properties (and tenants) to now housing chic condos and revitalized green spaces. Rosemont metro is literally two blocks away, which is perfect for people travelling via public transport.
Superficially, this isn’t your “hardcore” bromance cafe, but upon closer observation you will notice that Dei Campi hosts a diversified clientèle ranging from young families to millennials on their MacBooks. This diversity is also reflected in Dei Campi’s unique aesthetic. The decor is an interesting blend of rustic modernism with a tasteful touch of Italian soccer culture: garden lights hang from the ceiling, while a Napoli soccer scarf is carefully placed above the door frame at the entrance. A large picture of the legendary Diego Maradona graces the wall of the sitting area (by now it’s pretty obvious that Nick is a die-hard Napoli fan). The diversity captured in the aesthetic and culture of the cafe continues to translate into their food. Nick and Isabelle have succeeded in combining Italian classics with high quality vegan products. Where else can you get Neapolitan goods with 100% vegan ingredients?
For the sake of being neutral and fair, we made sure to order a traditional latte, as well as one made with almond milk. The regular latte was smooth and rich but also presented a slightly bold flavor (the foam was also spot on!). As for the almond milk latte, it presented all of the flavor components of a traditional latte with a slightly lighter consistency. This would be an excellent choice for someone who is lactose intolerant or simply, seeking a lighter option.
For dessert we selected an exclusive maple syrup tartelette garnished with caramel pop-corn, as well as a pecan-caramel mini-tartelette (we were in a tartelette mood that morning). To be quite honest, the desserts were nothing short of fantastic! They were sweet without being overbearing (or brutal on your teeth). We strongly recommend the maple syrup tartelette which is only available until the end of March. However, all of their desserts and baked goods looked delicious. Not to mention, Isabelle cooks up something new every month. Nick was nice enough to introduce us to Isabelle and show us around her kitchen. We briefly sampled her focaccia which is baked in a 1940’s bread oven. It was simply outstanding!
As the bromance came to an end, we both concluded that this was a place where one could find refuge amidst the more populated areas of the city; an enclave within the Rosemont area. The emphasis here is quality seasonal products and talent with a hint of passion.
While the cafe began to fill, Nick started playing 90’s hip hop a fitting tribute to this cafe which is a mix of old and new: Italian classics with a vegan twist. Dei Campi is a reflection of its changing neighborhood, and they say change is good. Right?
David & Joey