Monforte Dairy, Cheddar & Black Pepper Scones, Local Food – The *NEW* Crème Fraîche Market Cafe in The Junction!

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Imagine products from almost all of your favourite farmers’ market vendors and producers under one roof.  Then, imagine this one roof being available to you 6 days a week.  Guess what?  You don’t have to imagine.  This is the real deal: introducing the new Crème Fraîche Market Cafe in The Junction!  Founded and run by “Monforte Dairy ladies” Constance Dykun and Rachel Silva, Crème Fraîche is a local food lover’s dream!  The cafe and local food shop located on Annette Street several blocks west of Runnymede Road in the west end takes everything wonderful and delicious about Toronto’s small food business and local food scene (and some non-Toronto), rolls it into one big ball of food happiness, and presents it all back in a sweet and sunny cafe outfitted in yellow and blue decor with baked goods, bread, cheeses, coffee drinks, ice cream, and so much more.  

At Crème Fraîche you’ll find bread and baked goods from Sara Lapell’s Nice Buns and St. John’s Bakery, sweets and baked goods from More Than Pies Baking Co. Ltd., Evelyn’s Crackers, Mapleton’s ice cream, chocolate and Mayan drinking chocolate from ChocoSol, jarred pickled vegetables, salsa, and preserves from From These Roots, sweets from DeFloured, and of course, LOTS of Monforte Dairy cheese and products!  They have a selection of prepared food and drink (iced teas, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast tarts for example), and they also have a sweet little breakfast, lunch, and midday snack menu that you can order from. 

Now, keep in mind that while Crème Fraîche is a market cafe, it’s a “stop-by-and-pick-up-goodies” type of shop, so their menu items are definitely grab and go fare.  Their menu includes items such as toast and cheese (fresh cheese and jam, $2), grilled cheese and tomato ($5.25), cacciatore and arugula “bun-wich” ($4), and grilled halloumi (fresh cheese with arugula, radish, and tomato salsa, $7.50) among others.  They also serve plenty of fair-trade, organic coffee (americanos, espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes), tea, and Organic Meadow soy and almond milk.

What I love about Crème Fraîche, aside from the great food I can pick up here, is what the shop itself represents.  It’s easy to think, “oh, well, if I want these market products, I can just go to the different farmers’ markets to get them” or “I can just go to the producer’s main shop and location in the city”, but what Crème Fraîche affords everyone in the surrounding neighbourhood and community is an alternative, a place where people can come in the mornings and afternoons to grab a cuppa, a chance to get to learn about some of the local food that’s available in the city and their makers, an opportunity to form new friendships and relationships with locals, and a sweet shop to grab some great eats.  

I may go all over town to visit all the markets I can, but not everyone has the ability or even the desire to do so.  A farmers’ market in one’s area only takes place once a week and they may not be available year-round; Crème Fraîche is open 6 days a week from Tuesday-Sunday from 8am-8pm.  Even though its location certainly caters to those in the west end and in The Junction area in particular, it’s the concept that I am completely in love with.  There should be a Crème Fraîche in EVERY neighbourhood.  This shop is wonderful and I LOVE that so many of my favourite producers and vendors such as More Than Pies Baking Co. Ltd. and St. John’s Bakery sell their products here.

During this first visit, I picked up a giant cheddar and black pepper scone from St. John’s Bakery ($3) to take home, sliced it in half, and slapped it on my little George Foreman grill (don’t laugh, this thing is all sorts of awesome!) to heat up.  OH.MY.GOD.  One of the best, most delicious scones EVER!  You all know love cheese and black pepper so this scone had my name written all over it.  I am telling you, put the scones on the grill and you will be “mmm”ing the entire time you’re eating it.  It was so fluffy and moist and buttery without actually having to put butter on it and I am so happy I bought it because from here on out I’ll be looking out for these cheddar black pepper scones!

I’ve totally fallen in love with this sweet shop and you can bet I’ll be coming back to check up on what eats are available and to try something off their food menu!  It’s a fabulous concept and I’m glad for the vendors, producers, and to those who eat and work here because they truly get to be a part of something special in the community.   

*****

Crème Fraîche Market Cafe is a cafe and local food shop located in the west end of Toronto in The Junction neighbourhod at 639 Annette Street.  The shop is just several blocks west of Runnymede Road and south of Dundas Street West.  They are open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays), from 8am-8pm.  Visit their official website HERE.

The One That (Almost) Got Away – St. John’s Bakery, ChocoSol, & Baked Goods at the Last CBC Indoor Market

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Pretty sugar cookies & chocolate chip shortbread!

Have you ever found out about an event when it was too late or almost too late and it upset you so much because you knew it was an event you would have loved going to?  Hello, my name is Deb and I nearly missed out on an entire series of farmers’ markets this past winter and early spring!  (Cue chorus of voices: “Hi, Deb”).  That’s right.  Yours truly, the self-proclaimed event guru of TO, has let one slip by.  (Cue chours of audible gasps). 

There have been a handful of food events that have happened in the city that I missed out on because I had no idea they were happening, but basically missing out on an ENTIRE series of markets that was happening every month since November in the downtown core right under my nose?!  That is unacceptable!  And even though I made it to the very last market of the indoor season at the CBC broadcasting building  on Wellington this past week, I am fuming because I missed out on everything that happened prior to it!  And to add insult to injury, I found out that this was the indoor version of my beloved farmers’ market at David Pecaut Square outside Roy Thomson Hall.

My favourite part of the CBC building - green tiles!

When it dawned on me that the market had actually been indoors all this time since November, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to run into a secluded corner and scream at myself or stand there and cry.  I did neither.  I bought cacao cookies and scones to soothe my wounded ego instead.  I am so, so sorry for not finding out about this market sooner.  I feel like such a doofus, especially since it was located in such an accessible location – right in the downtown core, accessible by the underground PATH, and just a few blocks away from Union station.   

Simcoe Place Park, just outside

I actually found out about the CBC indoor market by accident.  I was exploring the underground PATH one day in March and as I was passing through the CBC building at surface level, I noticed a poster of calendar events taped to one of the poles.  I saw the words, “farmers’ market” for one of the dates in March and was thoroughly confused.  A market?  In the CBC building?!  SINCE WHEN?!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the market in March, so I told myself I would make it to the one in April and that is how I ended up here.  Sigh.  If it’s any consolation, now that we know the market is in operation year-round we can go on a regular basis now!  And it also makes me feel slightly better knowing that I had only missed one market each month since November as opposed to a market each week.

Beautiful portobello mushrooms!

Just so everyone is on the same page, let me sum up: the farmers’ market that took/takes place at David Pecaut Square during the late spring, summer, and fall months moved/moves indoors into the CBC broadcasting building at Wellington and John Street from November to April.  The indoor markets, however, only take place ONCE A MONTH in November, December, January, Febraury, March, and April.  The market then moves back outdoors in May.  Because the Luminato arts festival takes place around David Pecaut Square and the theatre district though, the farmers’ market actually stays close to the CBC building – just outside at the Simcoe Place park and courtyard until Luminato finishes up.  I don’t have exact market dates for the month of May on me right now, but I’ll find out as soon as I can and report back!  All markets run from 8am-2pm though, so definitely accessible to the morning rush hour crowd and the lunch hour crowd!

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