Hallowe’en Headquarters – If Only Real Mummies Looked This Cute! Gingerbread & Hallowe’en Confections

4 Comments

BOO!  It’s Gingerbread Mummy peeking out to haunt you with his yummy frosted coated ginger cookie body and chocolate eyes!  If only real mummies were this cute.  I was “heehee”ing as I took him out of his paper bag “coffin” to snap his photos this morning (I actually wanted to pose him in a bed of crushed Oreo cookie crumbs to make it look like he was coming from the ground, but I ran out of the house this morning in a rush so alas, no crushed Oreos) and couldn’t wait to give this little guy to my boyfriend for his afternoon snack.  For the record, my boyfriend wanted to eat it for breakfast and I scoffed and told him to save it for the afternoon because he had already eaten the Hallowe’en cupcake I had also brought him.  That also had a chocolate topper on it.  Sigh.  Boys.  Anyway, he (the mummy) was too cute to do any real scaring so he was much better off being gobbled up by sweet tooths like us.

I think Hallowe’en has totally evolved from a candy-centric occasion into a full-0ut creative foodie fest.  The holiday has morphed into a foodie affair, incorporating cupcakes, cake pops, pastries, and savoury foods (Witch’s Cauldron Tortellini, anyone?) all in one and I only wish I could have planned an entire week’s worth of Hallowe’en themed foods.  Even though I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do this year for Hallowe’en, I still had fun nevertheless.  Not only did I hit Mount Pleasant and Avenue Road yesterday, but I also paid a visit to Kensington Market to walk around (it was a really nice day out) and to take photos in my favourite bakery, My Market Bakery, and to Cabbagetown where I picked up my container of ravioli and this cute-as-button gingerbread mummy cookie at Daniel et Daniel.

I can always count on My Market Bakery to do seasonal everything and anything!  Their cookie selection is amaaaazing and they have something for every palate: fruit and nut cookies, chocolate chip, chunk, and fudge cookies, biscotti, gingerbread, tea cookies, sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, thumbprints, and others.  They had frosted pumpkins, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and Hallowe’en sprinkle cookies and if I hadn’t already picked up cupcakes, I would have mostly liked snatched up an orange frosted pumpkin because they were so cute and pretty. 

I was so excited to go to Daniel et Daniel later on in the day because they have some of the most gorgeous pies and tarts and I knew they would decorate and be decked out for Hallowe’en.  And I was right!  They had a ton of pastries, pies, tarts, and cakes decorated in beautiful Hallowe’en motifs, such as a lemon chiffon cake with googly eyes, a chocolate raspbery cake with smiling fruit pumpkins, and my favourite, the mixed berry fruit tart with carved fruit bats!  What totally got me though were the gingerbread mummy men! 

I LOVE gingerbread cookies.  Not the hard kind that tastes like cardboard and makes me roll my eyes because it’s so bleh, but the soft, chewy, spiced ginger molasses kind that melt in your mouth.  I love these so much.  I nosh on the ones from Tim Hortons whenever they have them and over the summer I went crazy for the ones by More Than Pies Baking Co. Ltd. at the David Pecaut Square farmers’ market.  Ginger molasses cookies are huge and round and I always break off half so I can eat half and save the other for later, but I never end up sticking to that.  I just happily eat the whole thing in one sitting.  And if we’re going to be talking about our favourite types of cookies now that the holidays are in full effect (like my friend Amanda @ Fake Ginger did yesterday), I actually like gingerbread cookies more than I like shortbread and sugar cookies.  Although I have my shortbread and sugar cookie weaknesses, I just love how gingerbread molasses look and taste with the crackling, sprinkled sugar, and spiced flavour.  And combining chocolate and icing the way Daniel et Daniel did with their Hallowe’en mummies just seals the deal.  Pun totally intended.

Oh cookies, how we love thee.  I saw so many amazing cookies when I was out yesterday and I had to mentally tie my hands together because I wanted to take home one of everything I saw.  I was a good girl though and I only brought home 2 cupcakes (another one for myself and one for my brother), this gingerbread mummy, and some stuffed ravioli to share with the fam for dinner.  I know, the stuffed ravioli has nothing to do with Hallowe’en (unless of course you count the fact the ravioli was covered in yummy orange sauce with chives), but the cookies certainly do!  And I know I was being a nice girlfriend by getting the gingerbread mummy for my boyfriend (because he loves gingerbread too), I really wish I had gotten one for myself now.  Sigh.  Like eating two Hallowe’en cupcakes wasn’t enough yesterday, right?

*****

My Market Bakery is located at 184 Baldwin St. in Kensington Market.  The bakery is located west of Spadina Ave. and south of Nassau St.  Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop in Cabbagetown that does event catering.  They are located at 248 Carlton St. near the intersection of Carlton and Parliament St.

Advertisements

Lemon Vanilla Panna Cotta & Lemon Macarons: The Gourmet Delights at Daniel et Daniel in Cabbagetown – Part II

9 Comments

Have you ever had the experience of making a fabulous foodie discovery only to reluctantly tear yourself away because you found it after you already ate?  Or because the weather wasn’t nice and you couldn’t be bothered to take your food to go in the rain?  Or because you already had other plans in mind and you were too stubborn at the time to change them for something else?  I’ve had all three experiences. 

Daniel et Daniel has been mocking me for a year.  I feel kind of foolish that it’s taken me this long to eat their delicious desserts because it was a little over a year ago (last March to be exact) that my hun and I found this Cabbagetown gem.  For one reason or another, we just never got around to getting food from here.  Last month though, I dug my heels into the ground and finally went back for those desserts that I had been longingly staring at through the shop window for ages and I am SO glad I did.   You stare at their glass displays of beautiful tarts, pies, macarons, chocolate truffles and bark and a little squeal slips out because you can’t believe what’s in front of you.  The desserts here are delicious and sweet and decadent and everything your sweet tooth could possibly desire.

Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop and event catering business that serves not only desserts, but plenty of gourmet jams and jellies, chocolates, sauces, vinegars and oils, and antipasto among other things.  Along with desserts and great pantry style items, they have a fantastic selection of lunch foods that are priced by weight – think stuffed peppers, salmon, chicken parmesan and lots of cold picnic salads like tomato and bocconcini; asparagus, snap pea, and cherry tomatoes; long string green beans and mushrooms; beets and orange fennel; and chick pea and corn salad.  It’s a gourmet food, grab-and-go kind of shop.  It’s SO perfect if you’re looking to have a picnic at Riverdale Park West which isn’t too far of a walk from the shop – just several blocks east of Parliament St. which you can get to if you walking on Carlton St.

There were so many amazing desserts staring back at me.  I can never resist a lemon dessert though, so I bought – get this – a lemon vanilla panna cotta (!!!) and a lemon cream macaron!!!  OH.MY.GOD.  The lemon loving part of me was going berserk!  In a nutshell, panna cotta is a firm, Italian gelatin dessert that is made with milk, cream, sugar, and gelatin and is similar to a custard and pudding.  Panna cottas are incredibly soft, silky, and smooth and the lemon vanilla panna cotta was delicious in both taste and texture.  

The body of the panna cotta  was so nice and firm yet it still had that beautiful milky silkiness to it which was important.  Too jelly means too delicate and it’ll up end flopping around and losing its shape (basically making a mess of itself).  Too firm and it’ll end up tasting like a flavourless blob.  To me, the texture was great because the firmness was just right and it allowed the lemon glaze and citrus peel to stand out without overwhelming the body of the dessert.  It had a delicious lemon glaze on top along with a scrumptious piece of soft, chewy, lemony candied citrus peel that was all sorts of amazing.  It had that amazing mix of sour and sweet and ugh, it was just SO good.  Not to mention the price was fab: $3.  So worth it and I am whimpering for another one just looking back the photos now. 

And the macaron!  Oh man.  Thumbs up.  There are a number of places around the city that make the beautiful, delicate French macarons, including Petit Thuet (which I blogged about and liked), Nadège Patisserie (with locations on West Queen West and most recently, Rosedale), Pusateri’s, and Whole Foods Market.  I’ll tell you why I enjoyed the lemon macaron from Daniel et Daniel so much and why I would recommend their macarons.  The lemon flavour was absolutely phenomenal.  Even though lemon is a single fruit flavour, it’s often a very difficult  flavour to execute well.  Often times it comes across too strong in its sourness and other times, it’s tamed too much by sugar and it ends up being sickly sweet and artificial.  Their lemon macarons have the PERFECT balance of sour and sweet.  Creamy, fruity, tart, and sweet, they nail the lemon flavour and the macaron itself is delicate, airy, and crispy without being too chewy. 

Another reason why the macarons are great?  The price.  All other places charge around $2 for their macarons.  Daniel et Daniel charges $1.50.  And if you’re trying several at a time, it makes a BIG difference, especially when others are the same size.  With the exception of Whole Foods Market who makes theirs a little bit bigger for $2, I would totally give everyone the push to try the macarons here.  Obviously I’m only taking into consideration the traditional French-style macaron and not the jumbo-sized ones at Metro supermarkets.  I LOVED the lemon macaron and could honestly eat a dozen of them.  I am so incredibly happy with the desserts I got from here and I can’t wait to try some of the more savoury stuff.  And you know, some chocolate and dried fruit bark.  But that’s for another time.  Enjoy the scrap pages and photos!

*****

Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop in Cabbagetown that does event catering.  They are located at 248 Carlton St. near the intersection of Carlton and Parliament St.

Scrapbooking materials used: beige and buttercup yellow cardstock (Recollections); patterned cardstock (The Sweet Stack by DCWV); pink and lime green argyle patterned paper (Making Memories); lime green daisy vine felt borders (Forever in Time Scrapbook Collection); alphabet stickers (Make It Special Crafts); black and floral epoxy stickers (Horizon Group).

The Old-Town Victorian Feel of Cabbagetown and the Gourmet Delights at Daniel et Daniel: Part I

Leave a comment

When I recommend good eats to friends and tell them about my fun walks and exploration days in the city, my friends will often ask, “how in the world do you find these places??”  I know my brother has asked me that very question on more than one occasion and the only answer I can give everyone is that I walk.  A lot.  And I look at maps of the city.  A lot.  I have a hunger and a thirst to see and do as much as I can and to learn about my surroundings.  I’m fascinated by the different neighbourhoods and enclaves in the city and their histories.  Every part of town has a story and exploring it all on foot (or bus or streetcar) is like experiencing a visual playbook.  Finding food gems in every Toronto neighbourhood is one of the best – and most rewarding – parts of exploring and discovering Cabbagetown has been no different.  Walking east from my favourite indoor garden conservatory in the city, Allan Gardens, seemed like a no-brainer for me and this “just keep walking” mentality of mine led me to one of my favourite foodie discoveries last year.

The cheerful “Welcome to Old Cabbagetown” billboard sign sits right at the intersection of Carlton & Parliament St. and it beckons you to take a stroll and to take a look at what is now one of the largest areas of restored and preseved Victorian housing and architecture in the city.  And you feel it and see it when you walk around.  You see the historial significance of the neighbourhood’s name when you pass by a house donning an old green-and-white Cabbagetown flag, indicative of the Irish immigrants who settled into this neighbourhood in the 1800s.  You feel as though you’ve entered some parallel universe where the contemporary and the old have fused into one.  You see where the old has been retained and at the same time, you see where the gentrification has happened.

On the one hand, Cabbagetown makes you envision old school general stores and barber shops with the iconic striped twirly outside along with vintage bicycles and horse-drawn carriages roaming through the streets.  You envision men in tweed and women carrying parisols.  But on the other hand you have hip home decor stores and cafés amongst buildings reminiscent of the early 1900s.  There’s so much history; from Cabbagetown being dubbed by media outlets as an impoverished slum from the effects of WWII and the neighbourhood’s proximity to low-income social housing by Regent Park to the gentrification of the area in past decades, you can’t help but get immersed in it when you get to know the neighbourhood. 

Visually, gourmet haunt Daniel et Daniel near the corner of Carlton and Parliament St. tips their hat to this history with its old-fashioned lamp posts and their logo of a man riding a vintage pennyfarthing bike carrying French baguettes.  Daniel et Daniel is a foodie’s gourmet dream.  With walls of gourmet jams, jellies, mustards, antipasto, and chocolates, along with glass displays featuring mouth-watering picnic salads and fresh baked desserts, it would take a lifetime to feast on everything the shop has to offer.  So, consider this post as a little intro into my exploration of Cabbagetown and its good eats as well as a teaser to tomorrow’s thorough Daniel et Daniel post, complete with scrapbook layout and food porn of tarts, chocolate bark, and lemon luscious desserts.  It’s going to be good 😉    

*****

Daniel et Daniel is a gourmet food shop in Cabbagetown that does event catering.  They are located at 248 Carlton St. near the intersection of Carlton and Parliament St.