The Best New Specialty Stores in Toronto, 2008
I couldn't really figure out why so many cheese stores have opened in Toronto in the past couple of years, but after a quick Google search for "Cheese Consumption Canada" I think I found my answer. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians wolfed down a record amount of cheese in 2007, specifically, 10.1 kg per person.
Now, I'm not sure if demand led to more cheese stores, or the proliferation of cheese stores has resulted in increased consumption, but either way we have three cheese destinations on our list of the best new specialty stores to have opened in 2008.
They're joined by at least three health food stores (four if you count The Beet) which I guess means that in order to get away with the increased fat intake from a wedge of brie we're all eating more amaranth cereal, soy milk and organic produce.
Here's a look at the complete list:
The Sweet Potato is like a smaller, cheaper, less refined version of The Big Carrot. On the shelves are all the prerequisite natural, organic and health food must-haves like rice pasta, tofu and organic produce; but the real star here is the small cafe that whips up fresh juices, sandwiches and yummy baked treats. More »
The Beet has a bit of a confusing entrance (it's partly obscured by a TD Canada Trust) but once inside it's a Dundas West oasis. Like Pantry and The Sweet Potato, this place is a hybrid between a store and a cafe. Juices, smoothies and coffee/tea options are made fresh to order. There's also a limited selection of freshly baked goods, organic produce and grocery items. More »
Formerly an online retailer and supplier of teas to many Toronto restaurants, David's Tea has now opened a retail location on Queen West where Fresh used to be before it moved to Spadina. Inside, there are more than 115 different varieties of tea which can be bought to take home, or sampled and enjoyed in the store/cafe itself. More »
Xococava is an offshoot of Chris McDonald's Cava restaurant near Yonge & St. Clair. But instead of fine dining, Xococava tempts Delisle Court passerbys with artisanal ice cream, churros, chocolate bars, cakes, pastries, espresso and handmade truffles. More »
About Cheese brings local, Canadian made cheeses to Church St. While most cheese shops in the city import cheese from Europe by the crate, the owners of About Cheese have taken a different approach and mostly stock Quebec, Ontario and BC crafted product. There are only a limited number of international cheeses in store. More »
A Taste of Quebec shows its love for La Belle Province by stocking artisan cheeses, terrines, pates and other products from our neighbour to the right. Inside there's lots to choose from including a raw milk cheese wrapped in spruce bark, but poutine lovers need to make a pilgrimage here expressly for the curds. More »
This gourmet food store on Mount Pleasant Culinarium specializes in local, Ontario-sourced products. Depending on the season there might be fresh produce from Perth or the Niagara Region or meats, artisan cheese, preserves, pop corn, nuts and grains from various local farmers and suppliers. More »
Once just a counter inside Harbord Bakery, Nancy's Cheese has blossomed into a full size cheese shop on Dupont. Aside from the selection here, the big draw is all the information owner Nancy Peppler provides about the cheese including what to drink with each of them. More »