Hot Food Off the Press – June Food Calendar, Part I!

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I’m only about half finished the June Food Calendar (this week has left me so beat that this was all I could muster!) but I wanted to post as much as I could for you guys today so expect the full calendar over the weekend.

Food Festivals & Events

The GridTO Burger Week, May 29 – June 1.  All across the city at different restaurants, burger joints, bistros and more!  $5 for all Burger Week burger specials.  Calling all burger lovers!  Whether it’s good old fashioned beef, chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, veggie tofu or bison, this week is what burger dreams are made of!  64 participating locations in the city including The Good Fork, Hey Meatball, The Gladstone Hotel, The Emerson and The Stockyards among many others will be dishing out one-time only special burgers on their menu for $5 during Burger Week!  Enjoy all sorts of different burgers with smoked sauces, cheese, salsas, mayos and so much more.

In addition, E11even and Frank are both offering special “Black Tie” burgers ($13 and $17 respectively) where $5 from each Black Tie burger will go towards The Stop Community Food Centre.  http://www.thegriddoes.com/food-booze/burger-week/week/

Cones for the Community, June 1.  12pm-5pm.  At 74 participating Baskin-Robbins locations!  Click website below for locations and details.  $0.31 scoops (limit 3 per customer).  Baskin-Robbins is back with their annual Cones for the Community event where line-ups around the block come as no surprise!  As part of a month-long program in support of SickKids Foundation and The Hospital for Sick Children, Baskin-Robbins locations will be collecting in-store donations all month long.  This event is meant to promote the cause and give thanks back to the folks and communities who have made it possible for Baskin-Robbins to continue their fundraising and support.  http://www.baskinrobbins.ca/en/2013/05/03/cones-for-the-community/

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Eats & Beats in Riverside, June 1.  1pm-6pm.  In the Riverside District neighbourhood on Queen Street East from the Don Valley Parkway bridge (Queen-Broadview Village) to just past Degrassi Street.  FREE; cost of food on-site in shops and vendors.  Come celebrate the beautiful, cultural dynamo that is Riverside District at Eats & Beats!  Riverside is a foodie district in its own right so for this special event, food shops and vendors will be opening their doors with special tasting places and food for the event and live music and entertainment will be filtering through the streets for one fun and delicious afternoon!  http://www.riverside-to.com/

Toronto Veggie Pride Parade, June 1.  12pm-4pm.  Parade starts by the Toronto Reference Library on Yonge Street and will end at Trinity Square at Queen West.  FREE.  Come show your veggie pride at the 4th annual parade!  Entertainment, fun shows and acts will descend upon the city with fabulous vegan food at the afterparty afterward!  http://veggieprideparade.ca/

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Savour Toronto Kensington Krawl, June 2.  11:30am-2:30pm.  Near Bellevue Square Park in Kensington Market (exact location will be sent upon registration via e-mail).  $40 per person (capacity for the tour is 12 people).  As a lover of Kensington Market, I can’t tell you how warm and fuzzy this tour makes me!  Explore and learn about the culture and history of this eclectic neighbourhood and eat through 6 mouthwatering food spots! https://www.facebook.com/events/451497988278099/

The GridTO Burger Day, June 2.  11am-5:30pm.  76 Wychwood Ave. at Artscape Wychwood Barns.  $30 for all-you-can-eat sliders.  If you thought Burger Week was awesome, try the finale: all Burger Week restaurant participants will be joining forces at Wychwood Barns for an all-you-can-eat, gut-busting, droolworthy slider extravaganza!  All Burger Week burgers will be transformed into oh-so-cute and oh-so-tasty sliders at the event for everyone to nosh on to celebrate the end to a burger-iffic week.  http://www.thegriddoes.com/food-booze/burger-week/week/

Kasmiri Delicacies by Dimple Monga: A Rusholme Park Supper Club at The Depanneur, May 11.  7:30pm. 1033 College Street.  $40+HST/person.  Sharing food, stories and recipes from generation to generation is one of the cornerstones of building familial and community relationships with food and at this supper club, Dimple Monga shares some her most beloved dishes and Kashmiri and Punjabi recipes.  Learn about the use of yogurt to make curries and marinades, the communal atmosphere and characteristic of food, and the vibrant platters of food presentation.  Enjoy chicken with yogurt and saffron and mint sauce, chicken kebabs, Kashmiri cottage cheese, rice pudding and so much more.  http://thedepanneur.ca/event/supper-club-kashmiri-delicacies-by-dimples-monga/

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Artisinal Food Market, June 8 & 9.  12pm-8pm on Saturday, 12pm-6pm on Sunday.  World Café at the Harbourfront Centre at 235 Queens Quay West.  FREE; cost of food on-site.  Harbourfront introduces a brand new food event to its summer line-up this year!  Enjoy this weekend market festival focusing on local food and local food producers.  See what’s new, taste fresh food, and get to know independent, local food businesses!  http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/whatson/today.cfm?id=4892festival_id=0

Toronto Raw & Vegan Festival, June 8 & 9.  10am-8pm on Saturday, 10am-4pm on Sunday.  918 Bathurst Street.  FREE; cost of food on-site.  The Toronto Raw & Vegan Festival is back for another year!  You don’t have to be vegan or lead a raw lifestyle to enjoy festivities – come shop for eco-friendly, cruelty-free products, attend some workshops and food demos, enjoy plenty of samples and food from vendors (food trucks, coconuts and chocolate?!), get to know local vegan and raw chefs and learn more about vegan and raw lifestyles and food diets!   http://www.torontorawveganfestival.com/

Toronto Taste at the Royal Ontario Museum, June 9.  6:30pm-10pm.  100 Queens Park at the Royal Ontario Museum at Queens Park and Bloor Street West.  MUST be 19+ to attend.  $250 ($125 tax deductible) general admission/person, $225 corporate rate/person with a minimum purchase of 10 tickets ($100 tax deductible).

Presented by Second Harvest Toronto, Toronto Taste is an annual culinary event showcasing the city’s top restaurants and beverage connoisseurs from across the province (oh, there will be wine and lots of it!), all dedicated to providing Second Harvest with funds to continue its mission on developing programs that target hunger relief, helping families in need and rescuing food to feed hungry stomachs.  This year, the event will be co-hosted by Second Harvest ambassador and our very own Canadian Bob Blumer, and celebrity chef, recording artist and restauranteur Roger Mooking!  http://www.torontotaste.ca/

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Market 707 & Foodies on Foot – Flavours of the City: Fish Fry-Day!, June 14.  5pm-9pm.  707 Dundas Street West by Bathurst Street.  FREE; cost of food and drink on-site.  Love fish?  Go fishing in more ways than one at this yummy food event devoted to fish!  The Scadding Court Community Centre will be turning their indoor swimming pool into a makeshift fishing pond (no joke!), plenty of fresh fish vendors and food trucks will be on-site serving up one big fish-fry (and there will non-fish for those who aren’t into aquatic cuisine), 5 new pop-up shops debut for the month of June, info on sustainable seafood from Oceanwise, and so much more!  Foodies on Foot will be partnering with Market 707 for this summer foodie event, bringing some great fish vendors and restaurants to the scene.  http://foodiesonfoot.ca/fish-fry-day-market-707/

Blues & Brews, June 15.  7pm-11pm.  601 Christie Street at Artscape Wychwood Barns.  $20 for advanced tickets, $33 for advanced package tickets (available until June 10; includes Caplansky’s sandwich, sides, beer sampling), $25 tickets at the door on the day of.  Music and food come together for one harmonious night at Wychwood Barns.  Enjoy live blues music by Toronto artists Terra Hazelton and Julian Fauth and nosh the night away on Caplansky’s famous deli sandwiches and beer from Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewery.  http://www.atthebarns.org/blues-brews/

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Edible Evergreen Tour, June 22.  10am-12pm.  550 Bayview Ave at Evergreen Brick Works.  FREE.  Join the Evergreen team for a food-themed tour exploring the many programs and initiatives that support farmers and local food producers, urban farming and ecosystems, food sustainability and healthy living and eating.  The tour will explore the gardens, the market and more!  http://ebw.evergreen.ca/cal/event/edible-evergreen-tour

501 Streetcar Food Tour: Presented by Foodies on Foot, June 29.  11am-3:30pm.  1730 Queen Street West starting location (by the intersection of Roncesvalles and Queen Street West).  $65-$76 +HST based on whether or not participants need a TTC day pass.  See the city from east to west or west to east in one delicious swoop!  As one of Foodies on Foot’s most popular food tours, the 501 Streetcar Food Tour takes you on a culinary journey along one of the longest continuous transit surface routes in the world.  6 neighbourhoods (Parkdale!  Leslieville!  And more!) with 6 food spots – ding!  Get ready to hop on and off and eat your heart out.   https://kiosk.eztix.co/kiosk/13916

Oh Canada Eh!  Food Tour: Presented by Foodies on Foot, June 30.  11am-3pm.  75 Portland Street starting point by King Street West.  $65-$76 +HST based on whether or not participants need a TTC day pass.  Oh, we love our poutine, but as Canadians we know we’re soooo much more than that culinary-wise.  Let Foodies on Foot show you some of the city’s local and true North Canadian gems at this food tour devoted to Canadian cuisine and food.  Whether it’s locally grown and produced, or culturally unique, this tour will stop at 5 to 7 food shops where you’ll sample yummy food that leave you singing O Canada by the end of the tour!  https://kiosk.eztix.co/kiosk/14359

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Farmers’ Markets Returning – and Debuting! – in June 2013 in the City

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There are SO many markets returning for the summer and fall season this June, not to mention FOUR (count ’em, 4!) brand new ones making their mark on the food scene including CityPlace market by the Lakeshore, Regent Park market by Dundas and Parliament and more!  Markets are listed in the order of their return or debut.  Check out all markets and market events on the Market page on Ate by Ate’s menu toolbar up top – I’ll be updating the full shebang for June tomorrow!

Etobicoke Farmers’ Market, June 1 – November 2.  Saturdays, 8am-2pm.  Etobicoke Civic Centre, located at 399 The West Mall just south of Burnhamthorpe Ave.  http://365etobicoke.com/etobicoke-civic-centre-farmers-market/

Humber Bay Shores Farmers’ Market *NEW!*, June 1 – October 12.  Saturdays, 8am-1pm.  Humber Bay Park West (just south of Lake Shore Boulevard West and Park Lawn Road).

Liberty Village Farmers’ Market, June 2 – October 27.  Sundays, 9am-2pm.  Green P parking lot on East Liberty Street between Atlantic and Hanna Ave.  http://www.my-market.ca/liberty.html

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Nathan Phillips Square ‘Fresh Wednesdays’ Farmers’ Market, June 2 – October 13.  Wednesdays, 8am-2:30pm.  100 Queen Street West at Bay St. in downtown Toronto by Old City Hall and The Eaton Centre.

CityPlace Farmers’ Market *NEW!*, June 4 – October 15.  Tuesdays, 3:30pm-7:30pm.  Canoe Landing Park at the corner of Fort York Blvd. and Dan Leckie Way (north of Lakeshore and west of Spadina).  http://www.my-market.ca/

Bloor-Borden Farmers’ Market, June 5 – October 23.  Wednesdays, 3pm-7pm.  Green P parking lot at Lippincott St. and Bloor Street West, just east of Bathurst St.  http://www.my-market.ca/bloor.html

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John Street Farmers’ Market *NEW!*, June 5 – October 30.  Wednesdays, 3:30pm-7pm.  205 John Street at the St. George the Martyr Anglican Church (by the Grange Park and OCAD between Dundas and Queen).  http://www.johnstreetmarket.ca/

Regent Park Farmers’ Market *NEW!*, June 5 – October 30.  Wednesdays, 2pm-8pm.  Regent Park Boulevard, south of Dundas Street East and east of Parliament.

University of Toronto Scarborough Farmers’ Market, June 5 – October 9.  Wednesdays, 3pm-7pm in the summer and fall.  Markets continue during the winter on the first Wednesday of every month from November to April from 11am-3pm.  Parking Lot 4 located at 1265 Military Trail, south of Ellesmere Rd. and east of Morningside Ave.

East Lynn Farmers’ Market, June 6 – October 17.  Thursdays, 3pm-7pm.  East Lynn Park, located at 1949 Danforth Ave. just east of Woodbine Ave.  http://www.my-market.ca/eastlynn.html

Fairview Mall Farmers’ Market, June 14 – October 11.  Fridays, 8am-1:30pm.  South parking lot at Fairview Mall, located at 1800 Sheppard Ave. East at Don Mills Rd.

Stonegate Farmers’ Market, June 25 – October 8.  Tuesdays, 4pm-7pm.  Parking lot of Stonegate Plaza located at 150 Berry Road just east of Stephen St. in the west end of Toronto (as a geographic reference, south of Old Mill and Royal York subway stations).  http://www.stonegatechc.org/programs-services/food-programs/farmers-market.html

A Rainbow Sea of Fruit & Vegetables – Asparagus, Cherries, Berries & More at The Farmers’ Market on Main Street Markham!

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It’s finally here: a farmers’ market post from Markham!  It’s almost embarrassing how I’ve made nearly 15 posts on Wychwood Barns but never made a post on any of the markets in Markham or surrounding York Region area.  To quote Eddie from Family Matters after Myrtle Urkel told him he should have knocked before barging in on her primping session: I LIVE HERE!  I guess that’s the thing.  When you live close to something, you end up having the mentality that you can go to that something anytime you want so you focus more of your attention on things that feel further out of reach or beyond your immediate grasp.

I made a conscious decision this month though to really make a better effort at visiting those markets that I haven’t yet been to and this is my start.  The timing was perfect: the market on Main Street Markham at Robinson started bright and early in the morning at 8am, I was meeting up with my best friend in the area, and the weather, while a bit chilly, was beautiful and my camera was raring to go.

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I actually wasn’t anticipating the market to be as big as it is and was when I went.  I mean, I wasn’t expecting a dinky hut but I also wasn’t expecting it to be like Trinity Bellwoods or Liberty Village, but there was plenty of gorgeous fruit and vegetables to shop for on one side and prepared foods such as baked goods, meats and sausages, honey and savoury pastries on the other.  It was like browsing through a rainbow sea of juicy red strawberries, raspberries and cherries, cheery orange apricots, yellow and purple eggplant (yes, yellow!), lush green asparagus, celery, cucumbers and fiddleheads, and of course, blue blueberries.

Since this was my very first visit, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I went into it thinking I’d probably just get some nice shots and go on my merry way.  Um, not the case.  I didn’t buy out the market, but I did leave with a giant spinach phyllo pastry wheel ($4) and a whole freakin’ pint of baby cucumbers ($3.5o).  THEY WERE SO CUTE!  And I’ve never had baby cucumbers before.  Let me tell you, those baby cucumbers sliced like a dream and as a bonus, they were seedless and DELICIOUS!  My recommendation?  Ranch and dill cucumber salad!  Now THAT screams summer dining.

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Even though there’s a bit of construction going on in the neighbourhood, there’s plenty of foodie things I’d love to do here such as paying a visit to the Greek bakery, doing afternoon tea at the Old Curiosity Tea Shop, shop for cute home and kitchen decor at Cornercopia and Season to Taste Kitchenware, and enjoy some yummy dining at Lemon Bistro!  Now that I have the market Main Street Markham under my belt, let’s see if I can swing on over to Main Street Unionville one of these Sundays for theirs!

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Main Street Markham Farmers’ Market, May 11 – September 28.  Saturdays, 8am-1pm.  Located on the outdoor terrace at 132 Robinson Street and Markham Road (Main Street Markham North), just north of Highway 7 in Old Markham Village.  There are free parking lots in the area behind many of the retail storefronts, the closest being the parking lot behind Scotiabank.  http://www.mainstreetmarkham.com/page.asp?pageid=5

June is Right Around the Corner – With Burger Week, Riverside Eats & More! Ate by Ate’s Food Event Spotlight

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The GridTO Burger Week, May 29 – June 1.  All across the city at different restaurants, burger joints, bistros and more!  $5 for all Burger Week burger specials.  Calling all burger lovers!  Whether it’s good old fashioned beef, chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, veggie tofu or bison, this week is what burger dreams are made of!  64 participating locations in the city including The Good Fork, Hey Meatball, The Gladstone Hotel, The Emerson and The Stockyards among many others will be dishing out one-time only special burgers on their menu for $5 during Burger Week!  Enjoy all sorts of different burgers with smoked sauces, cheese, salsas, mayos and so much more.  In addition, E11even and Frank are both offering special “Black Tie” burgers ($13 and $17 respectively) where $5 from each Black Tie burger will go towards The Stop Community Food Centre

The GridTO Burger Day, June 2.  11am-5:30pm.  76 Wychwood Ave. at Artscape Wychwood Barns.  $30 for all-you-can-eat sliders.  If you thought Burger Week was awesome, try the finale: all Burger Week restaurant participants will be joining forces at Wychwood Barns for an all-you-can-eat, gut-busting, droolworthy slider extravaganza!  All Burger Week burgers will be transformed into oh-so-cute and oh-so-tasty sliders at the event for everyone to nosh on to celebrate the end to a burger-iffic week.

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Cones for the Community, June 1.  12pm-5pm.  At 74 participating Baskin-Robbins locations!  Click website below for locations and details.  $0.31 scoops (limit 3 per customer).  Baskin-Robbins is back with their annual Cones for the Community event where line-ups around the block come as no surprise!  As part of a month-long program in support of SickKids Foundation and The Hospital for Sick Children, Baskin-Robbins locations will be collecting in-store donations all month long.  This event is meant to promote the cause and give thanks back to the folks and communities who have made it possible for Baskin-Robbins to continue their fundraising and support.

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Eats & Beats in Riverside, June 1.  1pm-6pm.  In the Riverside District neighbourhood on Queen Street East from the Don Valley Parkway bridge (Queen-Broadview Village) to just past Degrassi Street.  FREE; cost of food on-site in shops and vendors.  Come celebrate the beautiful, cultural dynamo that is Riverside District at Eats & Beats!  Riverside is a foodie district in its own right so for this special event, food shops and vendors will be opening their doors with special tasting places and food for the event and live music and entertainment will be filtering through the streets for one fun and delicious afternoon!

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Liberty Village Farmers’ Market, June 2 – October 27.  Sundays, 9am-2pm.  Green P parking lot on East Liberty Street between Atlantic and Hanna Ave.  The Liberty Village Farmers’ Marker returns on the first weekend of June for the 2013 summer and fall season!

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Savour Toronto Kensington Krawl, June 2.  11:30am-2:30pm.  Near Bellevue Square Park in Kensington Market (exact location will be sent upon registration via e-mail).  $40 per person (capacity for the tour is 12 people).  As a lover of Kensington Market, I can’t tell you how warm and fuzzy this tour makes me!  Explore and learn about the culture and history of this eclectic neighbourhood and eat through 6 mouthwatering food spots!

Goodbye Manor, Hello Avenue – Bidding Farewell to La Bamboche on Manor Road

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Right at this moment I don’t even care that I found out about this almost a month after the fact.  The sad truth is that La Bamboche was forced to close down their beloved Manor Road location last month at the end of April because of lease renewal issues and while all of our love and support will be redirected to their Avenue Road shop, I am still heartbroken over the news and quite frankly, stunned.  I know nothing is forever, but you just never think that one of your favourite spots will leave you and as a foodie, news like this hits you hard right the heart.

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Fellow Macaron Ambassador, Bonnie, told me the news the other day and I was gobsmacked when I read her e-mail relaying the sad news.  I think I speak on behalf of all us when I say that La Bamboche’s Manor shop will be so missed.  I know many of us had some of our very first macarons in the city at Manor and boy did many of us go macaron crazy on Macaron Day, treating Manor like our unofficial headquarters.  In this post I’m saying goodbye to Manor with a heavy heart, moving forward with future sweet treat plans at Avenue, and sharing the very last photos of macarons that I took from Manor at the beginning of April.

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La Bamboche is located at 1712 Avenue Road, north of Lawrence Ave. West at the corner of Fairlawn Ave.  You can visit their website, their Facebook page (have you liked them yet?!), follow them on Twitter @labambocheTO, and check out all of Ate by Ate’s La Bamboche’s posts and photos!

Bulk Candy, Cheese, Sweets, Meats & More – The European Food Emporium That is Yummy Market!

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Yummy Market in Vaughan

The Yummy Market location in Vaughan!

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’ve fallen in love with a supermarket.  I do have a special place in my heart for the Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws (come on, the snazzy cupcake counter alone would make anyone’s heart melt!), but I’ve never been to a supermarket where I felt like I could go absolutely berserk snatching up specialty items and shop for basics.

“But, but, you’re a foodie!  Why wouldn’t you love supermarkets?!”

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The scrumptious offerings at the dessert counter!

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Perusing through the grocery aisles

Because when you shop at the same supermarkets on a regular basis, you know them all too well and while you may not dislike them, only shopping for your staples leaves you feeling a little bored while being surrounded by too many specialty items (like in gourmet markets) leaves you feeling kind of at odds because you don’t have the staples to balance them out.  When time is of the essence and you’re food shopping because you simply need to fill your fridge and pantry, you just want that awesome supermarket that can give you both without having to run around.  And while we all know that it’s common to do grocery shopping at multiple locations (hello sales!), isn’t it a wonderful feeling knowing there’s a place that can offer you specialty and staples?  And Yummy Market, with its 2 locations in the GTA (one in Toronto and the other in Vaughan), gives you just that.

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SO MUCH DELICIOUS CHEESE!

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Green and lush!

This place is all sorts of awesome.  REALLY awesome.  I’ve known about Yummy Market for years now.  I used to pass by their Toronto location on Dufferin St., just south of Finch Ave. West every single time I was on the bus to and from school and Downsview station in university.  However, the bus route I took was an express route that didn’t stop by the supermarket so I just never took the opportunity to take the bus that did.  I knew it was a European supermarket of some sort but I had no idea just how amazing it was until now.  It wasn’t until last month that I found out that their brand spankin’ new 2nd location was in Vaughan and much closer to my neck of the woods.  SCORE!  It was time for my first visit and I couldn’t have been more excited.

And so began my exploration of this fantabulous emporium of European and even Russian food.  Greek, German, Polish, Italian, you name it, it’s here.  Their bakery offers baskets of bread samples for you to try so you can make a totally informed decision on which loaf of bread floats your boat the most (my suggestion?  The olive Mediterranean loaf!) as well as European and Russian baked goods (strudels, rugelach, Russian ponchick donuts and more), their cheese counter is to die for (I think I counted at least 8 freakin’ different types of feta alone!), their meats are just waiting to be presented on eleventy billion charcuterie platters, their veggies and produce are lush (my mum and I picked up beautiful green beans and radicchio!), and OH MY GOD their tea section left me gobsmacked.  Oh and did I mention their bulk candy and chocolate section?

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Come here for the fantastic loaves of bread and baked goods!

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Tea lovers paradise

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Bulk candy party, anyone?!

And their cold and hot food counters with salads, potato patties, croquettes, stuffed eggplant, sausages, and more that makes you feel like you’re running suicides because the counter is so damn long and so damn awesome?!  I’m not kidding.  Now I know I don’t have any photos of this droolworthy counter (there were too many people around!), but trust me when I say that I was literally jogging between different parts of this food counter as I was being served!  My recommendations: the turkey slaw with cabbage and slaw (OH YES WE DID), the little bratwurst sausages with sauerkraut, mushroom-stuffed potato croquettes, potato-veggie pancakes, butternut squash and millet porridge, and cheese stuffed eggplant roulades among MANY other mouthwatering, delicious things!

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Ooo, what’s that in the freezer?

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European ice cream pops, treats and sandwiches!

Yummy Market houses a cafe, a dessert counter, an ice cream sandwich and dessert freezer section, and plenty of tea, chocolate, candy, seafood, meats and grocery staples.  Oh!  And samples.  They have wonderful samples.  On this particular weekend they were sampling arancini balls!  I love this supermarket dearly and I can’t wait to share all the great stuff I get from here with all of you.  My blackcurrant Twinings of London was just the beginning!

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Yummy Market serves 2 locations, 1 in Toronto and 1 in Vaughan.  The Toronto location is located at 4400 Dufferin Street, south of Finch Ave. West, close to Downsview station.  The newer Vaughan location is right by Major Mackenzie Drive West and Dufferin Street at 1390 Major Mackenzine in the Eagles Landing shopping complex.

Tea in TO – Blackcurrant Tea & a Newfound Love of Twinings of London!

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Get ready for some gushing: this is a long overdue love letter to the tart and sweet, juicy blackcurrant flavour and the empire of teas, Twinings of London!  I know, I know.  I’m either embarrassingly clueless or just really, really, REALLY late to the party.  In this case, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a little bit of both.  People have most likely been sipping away on this wonderful tea for eons while I’m here just raving about it now!  Twinings of London has been around for what seems like an eternity (I read they are celebrating 300+ years and counting, good lord!) and aside from passing by and throwing very brief glances at their tea boxes in some supermarkets, I had never bought a box to try until now and this newfound love makes me all smiley and excited!  It’s such a surreal feeling, one of those, “where have you been all my life?!”  or for that matter, “where the heck have I been?!” moments when you realize that you so totally could have been learning about it and enjoying it sooner.

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The love didn’t just poof into existence in a day though.  It all started with the Twinings Tassimo T-Discs I saw at work late last year.  Then I happened upon a beautiful magazine ad of a Twinings tea collection on a bookshelf.  A gorgeous, beautiful tea collection!  And finally, my fellow FBCer Heather Mulholland of Tea With Me did me in when she told me about her trip to the actual Twinings Tea Shop in London when we met at FBC2013.  And then she went ahead and did one better: she sent me a sample of a lavender Earl Grey she had purchased from the shop in London.  Well, colour me freakin’ ecstatic and say hello to a new tea obsession!  As mortifying as it is to admit that Twinings was never part of my foodie/tea world until I snapped out of my cluelessness this year, I like to look on the bright side of things: there are SO MANY delicious flavours to Ooo and ahhh over and try and by golly I have the rest of my life to try them!

My first official box?  Their blackcurrant!  Over the last year I have truly fallen head over heels for the blackcurrant flavour all over again.  Not only do I adore Bobbette & Belle’s blackcurrant/cassis macarons, but it also makes me feel all warm and fuzzy because the flavour itself brings back childhood memories.

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When I was little, I couldn’t get enough of the Ribena blackcurrant juice drink my parents used to get from the Chinese supermarkets.  I would feel so grown up lifting those heavy bottles all by myself, pouring some into a glass and diluting it with drinking water so it wouldn’t be too thick and concentrated.  It was my favourite drink growing up and I would always enjoy it with my dad by my side as he loved it just as much as I did.  Some kids thrive on milk.  Others get a little addicted to soda.  And then there are those who are more than content with juice boxes.  Me?  Ribean blackcurrant juice all the way, baby.  For me, this is the love of tea and the nostalgia of my childhood all wrapped into one sweet and charming Twinings of London box and you can bet it will always be close to my heart well after the tea pouches are gone.

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And for those of you who are wondering where this sweet little box came from, it came from one amazing supermarket chock full of European foods and goodies, a food emporium I’ll be posting about tomorrow.  Stay tuned for my upcoming post on the European foodie powerhouse in town known as Yummy Market!