Take in some of Toronto’s history and some freshly baked bread right from the Inn’s wood fire oven!
You will hear me write this over and over but it truly is one of my most favorite aspects of getting out to the markets and that is meeting the folks behind the stalls and hearing their stories on how they got their start and why they enjoy what they do best. I recently toured the new farmers’ market at the Distillery District…the Sunday Market and what a nice addition to the Distillery District!
Make it a to do on your list this summer from now until September 28th. A special thanks to a few folks…firstly, our lovely tour guide Audrey Ooi from Tasty Tours who hosted my very first sweet tasting tour this past Father’s Day weekend. You have got to do this at least one if not all of their delectable tours;) We were also greeted by the Distillery’s very own Candace Shaw who gave us a bit of background on the start of the market and what criteria they work with when making their vendor selections. Our first stop was with Adam and Blythe from Spade and Spoon who allowed us to sample their fine maple syrups, and jarred preserves. I now know feel a bit more enlightened about the different shades of syrup and their best attributes and have a new appreciation for ketchup, tried their Hot’n Spicy version and what better timing to discover than during bbq season. Next stop in was with Shane from Haute Goat who shared his story on how he and his wife combined their two passions to become what was meant to be. Find out why you will be glad that they did! I’ll give you a clue, think goat’s milk. Lastly but not least, we were introduced to Karen McKenna from Hi Honey whose passion for bees and their honey of a cause is not afraid to take a stand when it matters most. Did not realize how much variety honey had to offer. Karen also showed us how versatile honey is for cooking by allowing us to sample her delicious Rhubarb Compote. Read this interesting article which Karen penned for edible Toronto.
Toronto has many fantastic tour companies that will help you get up close and personal and show you the hidden gems behind some of our cities amazing markets. (yes and still made it to my dad’s on time–thanks Audrey;). I was 20 minutes late for my father’s big day but the saving grace was the Whiskey Chocolate Cake exclusively made by Jill Lawrence at the Canadian Whiskey Cake Company (also known for her Apple Crumble Company)that I brought back with me–I owe you one Jill!
In case you missed it, the annual T.E.S.T. Springtime Market took place this past weekend showcasing over 30 different vendors. Aside from discovering a new unique find, getting out and meeting the talented individuals behind each shop is my most favorite part. If you want to see what was on hand, check out T.E.S.T.’s pretty look book.
As usual, here are a few of my favorites:
1. See how Jool recycles old keys into key fashion statements (pardon the pun:).
2. Beautiful hand-bound books from Sprouts Press. I especially liked the mini ones you could wear around your neck.
3. Made locally in Toronto, each piece of hand-dyed bamboo clothing from Masha Apparel is a one of a kind!
4. Loved designer Michele Guevara’s crocheted designs–reminded me of another artist I came across in New York.
5. If you are like me, illustrations hold a sweet spot in my heart. Artist Lichia Liu from Gotamago had so many to indulge in.
6. Printmaking designs by Ele Willoughby will warm your heart.
7. Fun and collaborative patterns from Pickled Herring Designs.
8. Meet fashion designer Sarah Catalfo of Maybe By Catalfo. If you are looking for flirty, this is your girl!
9. Need some personalized stationary and art prints, then you will want to see what marsdesign can for you.
10. Cat lovers rejoice! House of Cat has all the homemade treats your kitty is looking for.
It could not have been a more perfect Saturday morning! Got on my bike and made my way up to the Saturday farmers market put on by The Stop. The sun was shining, the vendors were all set up, chatting with visitors, regulars and new ones, about their latest goodies and there were plenty on hand! I like to peruse the whole market and work my way back to make sure I don’t miss anything. Here are some images to show you what I came across and a list of some of the vendors you will want to get to know more about. Also, don’t forget about The Stop’s amazing night market coming up on June 17th and 18th, that is if there are any tickets left!
1. Found another tasty snack to love…Made Good Granola Minis and Bars contain all the goodness your body needs.
2. Attention book lovers! Abu from Accents Bookstore has a great collection to sort through and find your next read.
3. Get out and see the talented Chalk Chick in action!
4. Sweet honey from Honey Pie Hives and Herbals. They even offer beekeeping workshops..I’m gonna try it out myself!
5. Make your life easier and have your organic groceries delivered fresher and at less than retail from Organics Live.
6. For the knitters out there, beautiful assortment of colors of Worsted Yarn from the Stoddart Family Farm.It’s true, you can now pick out a new favorite bottle of wine at the farmers market! Tawse Winery and Cornerstone Estate Winery were both present.
7. Savory gallettes from the Dundas Park Kitchen.
Ready to try something new, fresh, and delicious? That is exactly what the Toronto Underground Market has in store for you! This amazing event gives new cooks and chefs an outlet and audience to share their food passions with. The 2014 season got off on the right foot this past long weekend with it’s first event held on Saturday May 17th from 5pm to 11pm held at 99 Sudbury Street. My husband and I made a visit and a long list of new discoveries. The choices were endless and a little something for everybody no matter their tastes. If you have not already visited, be sure to at least try it once before the Summer ends. Future dates and tickets can be found here. Did I mention there’s wine and cocktails too;)
Our favorites included:
1. TOL Filipino Gastro Fare
2. Conductor’s Craft Ale from Junction Craft Brewery
3. Meat and Vegetarian Galettes from the Galette Girls – Be sure to check out their picnic bag for two!
4. Bite-sized snacks from Nomz that are yummy and good for you–REALLY!
5. A nice reminder of the evening on our way out was a complimentary gourmet meal to take home and try from Fudi. They had 5 signature chicken dishes to choose from. We went with the Tandoori. Can’t wait to try it out!
Looking for a new way to explore the market? What better way than to have one of Toronto’s top chefs from the Royal York Hotel lead the way. Chef Tom Phuong-Luu personally hosted one of my most enjoyable and intimate visits to the St. Lawrence Market. Joining me on this fun field trip were husband and wife, Scott and Pam who were in town for a nice getaway and fellow Chef Jordan, also from the prestigious culinary team.
Our tour started at 8:30am sharp and we covered the entire market in good time while stopping and sampling a few of Chef Tom’s favorites. Each stop we were treated to some of his insights as to what to look for when visiting a food market. We sipped on gourmet coffee from Pasta Mia on the lower level while partnering it up with the world-reknowned morning Peameal Bacon Sandwich from Carousel Bakery on the second floor. A quick stop into Kozlik’s Mustard stand to complete our Sandwich was also a must try. We strolled through the various meat and fish markets to see their latest offerings. One of the stops at Whitehouse Meats was a fun one where Chef Tom pointed out a some of the exotic meats one could sample…Crocodile and Ostrich to name a few.
The highlight of the tour was definitely when we were introduced to Murray, a good friend of Chef Tom’s, and also the owner of Golden Orchard Fine Foods located on the upper level. He shared a few personal stories with the group on his store’s origins. He told us of the times his mother would bake pies and leave them in the freezer to share with her customers as they visited. Here’s another interesting tidbit, we also learned that the organic movement that is so popular today actually started in his store 20 years ago. Ending our visit on a sweet note, Murray treated the ladies to a bottle of home-grown Toronto Island Airport Honey.
A big thank you to Chef Tom for the wonderful experience. It was lovely meeting Tom and Pam and Chef Jordan who made the excursion an even more enjoyable one to take part in together.
The next time you are in Toronto, check out the “Shop with Chef” package at the Royal York Hotel, this will be one of the most authentic Toronto and market experiences you have.
To celebrate our 100th post and the completion of the first official Toronto Market Guide, we are letting our readers download a free copy. Just visit our marketplace and use the coupon code CELEBRATE14. We hope you enjoy the read and get to as many markets as you can this summer!