WHERE TO FIND TORONTO-EXCLUSIVE FOOD
Story & photos by James Harrison
Recently, some very close friends of mine decided to pack up and move to Québec, just outside of the Ottawa area. While I’m not thrilled about the idea of not getting to see them very often, I must admit that the idea of packing up and starting fresh is rather romantic.
In any case, I thought a while about what to get them as a going away present – something that wouldn’t overly complicate the already complicated process of moving cities. But what to get the people who already have pretty much everything I can afford? A stern looking photo of myself to hang over their fireplace? An essay comparing Rob Ford’s immediate asininity to Stephen Harper’s Stalinist megalomania? No.
As with most solutions, the best one was edible. I will get them foodstuffs to take with them – but not just anything – amazing things that you can only get in Toronto. Tourists, get your pens ready.
So this prompted my search – what can you get in Toronto that you cant get anywhere else? Our city tends to export our most successful products, and that makes sense. There are obviously some great Toronto brands – beers like Mill Street and Steam Whistle, Kozlik’s mustards, and others that have spread far beyond city limits, so those were out.
In addition, there were several other factors, principally the notion of finding food that travelled well (Burger’s Priest or Greg’s Ice Cream might not be in such great shape after the trip out there). This was about what you could take with you, not what you could have here.
I eventually came up with four products, but I’m sure there’s so much more out there – read my list, and add your faves below in the comments section!
If you’ve had one of their sandwiches you know. For me, BBQ sauce is usually either too sweet, or inundated with gross liquid smoke flavouring. This one is just right.
So I know someone is going to point out that a) these were not made here and b) Terroni also has a LA location, but I consider Terroni to be a Toronto institution. These spicy/sweet peppers are good on pretty much anything.
I was gifted a jar of this some years ago, and as someone not big on toast or jam generally, I really like this. Patachou makes a bunch of stuff under their own brand, but this has to be the best of the bunch.
If you haven’t been to the chocolate shop Xococava, or its big sister resto Cava, you likely have a void in your life that could possibly be filled with salty bacon candy. I think that says it all.
If that list has whet your appetite as it has mine, I’m now in the lookout for more stuff I can send to them care of our fine city. Beyond food, there is so much Toronto has to offer. I’m hoping this is just the tip of the iceberg!
So, what’s your favorite Toronto-exclusive product?