Sweet victory: The battle of the Hintonburg bakers

A photo of a white layer cake made by Isabelle Rose Golding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Isabelle Rose Golding holds a layer cake she made during an ongoing baking war with her neighbour in Hintonburg, Dave Albert. The local baking war has been going on since the pandemic hit Ottawa in mid-March. Photo courtesy of Mimi Golding.

By Kristin Perrin

A friendly baking war has been waged between neighbours in the heart of Wellington West. 

In mid-March, as COVID-19 forced many to stay home, a surprise delivery of delicious homemade fudge made its way to the Golding family home in Hintonburg. 

The batch of about 20 decadently-rich morsels was made by David Albert, a Hintonburg neighbour. In early January, David’s mother-in-law passed away. These last months, he and his family have been very grateful to the Golding family for their friendship and kindness during the difficult time. 

“It all started then. The Goldings’ compassion really spoke to me,” David said. “They brought over mass amounts of food, and things a grieving family would need to help them through the mourning period. I wanted to do something to repay the thoughtfulness.” 

Isabelle Rose Golding, a local grade 11 student, was in self-isolation during March break and fighting off boredom. Dave is both a neighbour and Isabelle’s Tae Kwon Do classmate, so she knew she had to respond to the delivery. 

This fudge meant war, Isabelle secretly declared! She decided to prepare a “care package of baked goods,” using recipes from her mother Mimi’s infamous Betty Crocker cookbook to fire back at the Alberts. Isabelle wanted to put them “smack back in their place” by leaving several batches of baked goods at their front door. (and as a way to say “thank you!”)

David had no idea what he started by baking his homemade fudge. 

“Miss Golding, or as I refer to their daughter, Isabelle, [with] our shared Taekwondo protocol, ninja’ed us back one day,” he said. “It just took off from there.”

“Miss Golding has been raising the bar ever since, and it has been hard to figure out ways to counter,” said David. 

A few days after Isabelle’s delivery, a pie showed up at the Golding residence as a “gros merci beacoup.” 

With that, the battle of baked treats between the Hinchey and Pinehurst Avenue houses ignited. These nearly-next door neighbours show up on each other’s doorsteps at any given time, loaded with homemade goodies that would put a bake sale to shame. 

Imagine having piesrhubarb, pumpkin, or chocolate cream, you name it ?— dropped off at your front door, just because it’s Tuesday night. How about homemade lemon squares and lemon cake, to your heart’s delight? Or how about cinnamon buns, chocolate cherry cheesecake or homemade ice cream cake? These are just some of the examples of sweet ammunition being used in this friendly war. 

Isabelle said she even attempted to make homemade macaroons, an admittedly “difficult challenge,”and a layer cake that Mimi said resembled a professional wedding cake. Both sides keep getting more creative by the day, finding new recipes and baking techniques to use.

“The Alberts’ shamelessly out-did themselves with donuts once, in assorted flavours, including good old fashioned plain, and sprinkles too” Isabelle said. 

A photo of Isabelle Golding holding a cake in Hintonburg this spring.
Isabelle Rose Golding holds her latest creation made during an ongoing baking war with her neighbour, Dave Albert. The Hintonburg war began when the pandemic hit Ottawa in mid-March. Photo courtesy of Mimi Golding.

At the Golding house, baking is a family tradition. Mimi has been a serial baker since the late 1990s-early 2000s, drawing on classic recipes from the notoriously sweet Betty Crocker cookbook that made its way into many homes over the years.

For Christmas, Isabelle received her own copy of the cookbook from her mother. Their family version was falling apart at the seams and covered with hand-written notes after generations of loving use. 

Isabelle was the primary baker at the beginning of the pandemic but her “minions” (her other family members) have helped out along the way.

Earlier this spring, when there was no flour to be found locally, the minions traveled to secure baking supplies. 

A similar situation unfolded on the Albert side.

Dave was the solo baker in the first battle, but he said he’s now enlisted his three daughters to help with the efforts which has been “a lot of fun!” He even made a special request to one of his colleagues for a bakery-pick up outside of the city!

The baking war continues to this day, and the two houses have even found a way to counter the “COVID 15” weight gain.

“Driveway Tae-Kwon Do classes!” Isabelle said, smiling. 

The two families occasionally engage in some physically-distanced driveway Tae Kwon Do exercises to “balance out the sugar” and connect. 

Now how sweet is that? 

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