I’m a big fan of food (in case my previous posts haven’t already suggested this.) And I’ve already covered off my patronage of local farmers markets. But there are a few food products made locally, of which I am a big fan (and an enthusiastic consumer.) These are a few of my favourite things :
Did you know that Canada grows over 90% of the world’s mustard? Me neither. But most people in Toronto are familiar with Kozlik’s. And if they’re not, well they’ve been missing out. It’s sold in retail food outlets and farmers’ markets throughout the city, but their flagship location in downtown Toronto is at the St. Lawrence market. It’s a regular mustard boutique. And on Saturdays, they traditionally fire up the hotplate and provide complimentary morsels of peameal bacon for a genuine taste. They have more than 30 different flavours and types such as “Clobbered Cranberry”, “Sweet & Smokey” and “Iced and Wined.” They make great gifts and if you’re going out of town, take something truly local with a Canadian flavor like “Amazing Maple” or “Niagara Classic.”
A trip to the SOMA location in Toronto’s Distillery District makes me feel like I’m shopping in a jewellery store. The rows of truffles are neatly displayed in a shiny glass case, (and when the words champagne and truffle are combined, I’m thinking luxury.) They make their confections onsite in small batches with cocoa sourced from around the world. They offer creations like Rootbeer & Poprocks Toffee and Drunken Sailor Rum/Raisin Twig. Their truffles are filled with ingredients like olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. (Don’t knock it ’till you try it..) My personal favourite is a bar called Starry Night : dark chocolate with flakes of sea salt. They also do really amazing hot chocolate and gelato too. Their Dark Chocolate Lover’s Lunchbox is definitely on my Christmas wish list…
Okay, Monforte Dairy is located in Stratford, Ontario. But thank goodness they have a team of nice people who bring their products to farmers’ markets throughout Toronto. I follow them on Twitter (@MonforteDairy). Honestly, I was never really a fan of cheese until I found them. Now their stall is a regular stop on my Saturday trips to the farmers’ market at St. Lawrence, but you can find them around town. I think a big key to their success is their generous sharing of samples. Their cheeses have names like “Bliss”, “Paradiso” and “Waltzing Matilda”, featuring milk from sheep, cows and waterbuffalo. Many of their products such as the fresh cheeses and grass-fed butter are seasonal (and I lament the end of the season.) But I stay satisfied by the aged ones throughout the winter and keep them on my list of favourite things that come along with the spring.