Provenance Regional Cuisine
Provenance Regional Cuisine sits like a tiny beacon of light that shines its delicious produce, hearty pantry stables and wide selection of cheese and meats throughout the whole neighbourhood. At the corner of Dundas West and Palmerston, this is the local grocery store that everyone envies and wishes sat in their neck of the woods.
Yes, it's pretty much the tiniest grocery store in the world, but they have the shop packed to the rafters with local and organic produce, soups and prepared sauces and stocks, salads and stews. Inside the tidy refrigerated case in the front of the store, Provenance houses their fresh and semi-prepared selections of meats, fish, dairy and fowl. Everything looks delicious - charming, even - and the fact that it's all local and sustainable only adds to the experience.
In addition to the tiny storefront, Provenance Regional Cuisine also offers a home delivery service. So, if the Palmerston/Dundas intersection is just a bit too far away, it's possible to order these delicacies through either the "a la Carte" option where selections are made through their website and deliveries are made weekly on Thursday afternoons.
Provenance also offers a subscription option where a weekly menu has already been developed and pre-chosen to please a variety of palettes. There are a few regulations on the subscription menu, so some shoppers may still prefer to make the selections themselves with the a la carte menu. Plus, at $140 for a four-week cycle, it might not be in everyone's interest or pocketbook to make that commitment.
When I dropped by the shop last week, I was a bit confused because the store actually sits squarely in the middle of the Palmerston cafe and the kitchen that serves the cafe. So, once I waited for the waitress to pass by with her plates and dishes, I took a good look around and found myself impressed with the selection.
Now, I will admit that I have a bit of a limited and uninspired range when it comes to my personal food choices, so I chose their Heritage Pork meatballs in a cream sauce ($8.95), some local, organic potatoes from the produce baskets and for dessert I picked up the apple, pear and rosemary crumble ($13.95).
The meatballs were well-seasoned, had great shape and broke apart perfectly on the plate with just a fork. When I make meatballs at home, I struggle with the too-wet/too-dry issue, but these meatballs found that balance nicely. The cream sauce ended up being a nice touch because at first I was weary of such a vague name - what is cream sauce ? - but the taste indicates that it clearly involved some mushrooms and added just the right amount of flavour to the dish without being overpowering.
The potatoes were good, but I credit my own culinary skills for that because I decided to take them home and mash them with my own random spices and seasonings. But, the produce is really what makes Provenance stand out from some other prepared food stores in Toronto. I wasn't buying boxed dinners and take-out entrees, but rather a variety of raw, semi-prepared and prepared items to add to my own kitchen and menu.
The apple, pear and rosemary crumble was an inspired choice for dessert and really added a great finish to my simple dinner menu. It tasted original and homemade.
Provenance Regional Cuisine also provides a variety of event and catering support for private dinners or other small functions. They will also consult with wine selections through their on-staff wine steward. In addition, their culinary team offers several cooking classes - either in home as private lessons or community group lessons. Tutored wine tastings are also available for those looking for personal lessons on which wine to pair with what food for the best flavours.
Yes, Provenance is tiny, but their selection and quality product really make up for their lack of square footage. Through their local, organic and sustainable product, they really stand a chance to illustrate to the consumer that it is possible to have a delicious meal, be positively overwhelmed with dinner options and make a tiny difference to our local organic and sustainable farmers and food producers.
Writing by James Buttivant. Photos by Dennis Marciniak