On a Saturday afternoon, we ventured out to the Southwest-end of Toronto and met with Bria Weaver, the owner of Food Nook Tours. She welcomed us into Roncesvalles (aka Roncy) the home of the Hairspray movie set and the world’s first hairless cat.
Bria brings us to five of her favourite stops by foot: The Chocolateria, Fantail, The Mercantile, De La Mer, and the Barque Butcher Bar. We not only got to nibble at unparalleled recipes made by the humble shop-owners, but we also got to talk to them personally where they shared some background information about their business.
We began with dessert at The Chocolateria, an antiquated boutique filled with home-made chocolate creations. Ranging from salted-caramel truffles to Nanaimo bars and chocolate-dipped potato chips, this confectionary’s sweets are the epitome of indulgence.
Next was Fantail, an artisanal café that opened up last year. Not only is their café beautifully-designed by the siblings of this family-operated business, but their creative made-in-house pastries are just as well-crafted. Their specialties include edible flowers, baked-vegan-goods, and croissant-sized scones. More notably they make their healthy treats extremely tasty! We got to sample an amazing phyllo pastry with roasted beets, pumpkin seeds, and herbs as well as a flourless chocolate cake that didn’t quite convince me that there wasn’t any flour; it had a deliciously moist texture.
The Mercantile is a specialty store filled with edible goodies from local vendors, where many buy personalized gift baskets for house-warming gifts. Here is where I discovered Meredith’s Ginger Syrup. This super delicious sweetener adds a kick to all my drinks, and after taking home a bottle for myself, my life hasn’t been the same without it.
De La Mer knows how to handle their seafood to produce the best quality and freshest products for their clients. This fish market also specializes in candied salmon and vodka-induced gravlax (Bria’s favourite!). I have never seen salmon this vibrant up until visiting De La Mer.
For the last stop, we headed to the Barque Butcher Bar to sample their variety of unique spices, sauces, and rubs with their savoury wings. The Baha sauce was agreeably our favourite out of the bunch.
Only a 5 minute walk away from High Park, this Polish sub-urb is rich in not only specialty boutiques but also in Canadian history. Bria’s Food Nook Tour was the perfect way to discover the highlights of this lively neighbourhood!
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Photos by Janey Tso