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Eat & Drink

A Toronto gift guide for the food-obsessed

Posted by Frank / December 18, 2011

PDT Cocktail bookStill wondering what to get the food-obsessed person in your life this holiday season? I asked some local authorities on food and drink to give me their wish lists as to what locally produced or locally available gifts they'd be thrilled to receive this year. Here are ten ideas.

Chocolate and hot sauce
Two things that I would be super happy to find under the tree would be any chocolate from SOMA (especially the aged balsamic vinegar) which can be found at their two locations (Distillery District or King West) or a bottle of Rossy Earle's Diablo's Fuego hot sauce, which can be found at Pimenton, or Culinarium.
(Scott Vivian, Chef/Owner, Beast Restaurant)

Foods foraged from the wild
Forbes Wild Food is one of the coolest food businesses in Ontario. I love that they gather everything from the wilderness that's so close to us; it's a delicious testament to just how lucky we are to live in such a relatively unspoiled part of the world. I'd be really pleased to see a jar of their pickled spruce tips, milkweed pods, or Cedar Jelly in my stocking. Under the tree, a big bag of the their dried Wild Forest Mushrooms would be a treat that would find their way into stocks, soups, and breakfasts.
(Joel Loughead, Co-owner, Squareroot Catering)

Westend Food Co-op Holiday card
It only costs $5 for a lifetime membership to the Westend Food Co-op which gets you access to the brand new Parkdale retail store, cannery workshops and more, all while supporting a really great local organization dedicated to farmers. delicious organic produce, and local artisanal foods.
(Joel Loughead, Co-owner, Squareroot Catering)

A new cookbook
Something we got recently was Nigel Didcock's new book Field to Table, he is executive chef at Granite Club and he's written it with Eric Graham and Heather Cooper, a well known graphic artist/designer, both Torontonians. Billy's Best Bottles 2012 always a great stocking stuffer for wine drinkers and everything is available at LCBO. Fresh by Ruth Tahl and Jennifer Houston, from the Fresh restaurants. Great vegetarian and vegan book even if you're not vegetarian.
Alison Fryer, The Cookbook Store

A new cookbook (this one, more exotic)
Roger Mooking's Everyday Exotic cookbook. That's a good one and it's available at the Cookbook Store as well.
Janean Currie, Owner, Swirl Wine Bar

Raw sheep cheese
I suggest the local raw sheep's milk cheese Mouton Rouge from Best Baa Dairy. It has won numerous prizes including a silver medal in this years American Cheese competition. The cheese is available at the St. Lawrence Saturday farmers' market and good cheesemongers.
(Jennifer McLagan. Author of the Odd Bits Cookbook)

A book all about cocktails
There is a fantastic cocktail book coming out for the holidays is The PDT Cocktail Book. PDT was recently awarded best bar in the world, and the author Jim Meehan is an authority on the subject. It also has some really unique artwork. It's available at Good Egg in Kensington Market.
Scott Selland, Proprietor, Acadia Restaurant

Cocktail bitters
Keeping with the 'spirit' theme a new start up in Toronto has begun to import both the Bitter Truth and Bittermens cocktail bitters. They don't have a store but they can be reached at Fantastic stocking stuffer! [Ed. note: BYOB carries a good selection of bitters in-store].
Scott Selland, Proprietor, Acadia Restaurant



Sandra Manahan / December 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm
I'd agree with everything except the cocktail book. I'm a FOOD ADDICT and I wouldn't really want a book about cocktails-a book about PAIRING food and drink/entertaining is different though.

Specifics can make or break a great gift.
Choose as if you were to receive the gift. How would it make you feel?

Give love. Keep peace to make peace.

Happy holidays.
Kennedy at The Crafty Bartender / December 19, 2011 at 11:40 am
Hi everyone. As far as bitters are concerned, we also carry all the flavours of the following brands: Urban Moonshine; The Bitter End; Angostura Orange; Victoria's Twisted & Bitter Orange; and Fee Brothers. You can find all our contact info on our website at Thanks and have a great holiday season! -- Donna and Kennedy
Other Cities: Montreal