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Oct 6, 2007 07:48 AM

Looking for leaf lard in Toronto

Hi everyone,

My grandmother has been making a mouth-watering pate for decades, but lately she's been finding it very difficult to find the right ingredients because butchering just isn't the same and butchers aren't familiar with a variety of cuts.

So, while she's had no luck in her hometown of Sudbury, I'm hoping that Toronto has enough traditional butchers that I can find what she needs.

She's looking for pig leaf lard - a round elongated piece of fat with a thin film over it that's found under the ribs.

Anyone know where I could buy 10 lbs of this stuff somewhere in downtown Toronto? I don't have access to transportation other than ttc so I can't trek out to the suburbs to buy it - somewhere in central Toronto is necessary.


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  1. Okay, I asked all over SLM for you and they all looked at me like I had three heads.
    I'd like to find some too, so I'll keep asking around.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mila

      Off the top of my head I'd bet Cumbrae's and the Organic Butcher would know what your talking about and be able to get it for you. You could also email the friendly folks at Otherwise I'd start going to Asian (particularly Chinese) butchers, they are much more at home with pig innards then some other cultures. El Gaucho in the market might be worth a call too.

      As I said just off the top of my head, I prefer veal kidney fat frites, the reason the Les Halles cookbook by bourdain is worth buying.

    2. You might want to phone the Ontario Pork Marketing Board in Guelph, Toll Free number 1 877 668 7675!! They should be able to help in every manner, price, availability, source you a retailer, etc.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jar

        I would call the Healthy Butcher on Queen. They are extremely helpful and welcome those kinds of requests.

        1. re: Jar

          Did you call the Pork Marketing Board as I suggested, I'm sure they'd love to get you 10 pounds of the " stuff " and they might even want the " pate " recipe!

          1. re: Jar

            I sent an email to "Ask the Butcher". No word yet.

            Just got the email:

            Maureen, thank you for your question.
            Leaf lard – the crumbly fat around the pig’s kidneys – is essentially regular lard before it has been rendered. It is an exact analog of beef suet. There’s not a huge call far this, which is why you are having a problem locating it.
            My best advice is to call the Butcher Shoppe (416 234-2290) in Etobicoke – they assure me that they have it, but give them a call beforehand to ensure they have it in stock. At least they knew what leaf lard was when I called them.
            Please get back to me if you have any further questions.
            Best regards,

            Charles Bruce-Thompson
            Ontario Pork
            Guelph Office: 519 767-4600
            Fax: 519 829-1769
            Mobile: 416 452-5617

            1. re: Mila

              More updates...
              Butcher Shoppe (or the person I talked to) had clearly never heard of leaf lard when I called.

              Update from Bruce...
              Sorry! I called the largest Toronto processor - Quality Meat Processors
              - and they don't sell it any more either. My guess is that it all goes
              to make lard or other industrial applications. As there must be about 4
              or 5 lb leaf lard per hog, that's an awful lot of leaf lard that gets
              processed. I know it's not thrown out as I've seen it sold separately at
              the abattoir.
              It's not often a question defeats me, but I have to admit that this is
              one of them!
              Best regards,

              1. re: Mila

                Mila, have you tried Conestoga Meat packers?
                They sell product to many retail and processors in the toronto area.
                call them and ask them to refer you to a store they supply leaf lard to.
                i've purchased their product and the quality is great!

                1. re: noriega

                  Thanks Noriega. It's getting near pie time.

        2. SUCCESS ! Should have known, The Healthy Butcher !

          We do carry leaf lard. We render the kidny/leaf fat from our pigs and strain the fat into a pure rendered lard. We have this lard readily available in our front fridge. Or you can purchase the raw fat right off the hog and render it yourself. If you having any questions, I am happy to help.


          Ryan Donovan
          Head Butcher
          The Healthy Butcher

          1. Thanks a lot for your help everyone. It's good to know that others are still looking for the real stuff.

            I don't want to become too soppy, but of all times and misfortunes, my grandmother died this past weekend after suffering a stroke the day after I wrote that first message.

            So, if I can, in her honour I'll try to find the recipe and post it here. I'll also let my mother know (since she has tried to make the liver pate dish as well) that it's possible to pick some up the next time she comes to Toronto.

            Thanks all and best of luck on your own cooking adventures!

            1 Reply
            1. re: fussyfoodie

              So sorry to hear about your grandmother, fussyfood.

              I really enjoy cooking my mother's and grandmother's recipes and remembering the times I spent in the kitchen with them. I would love to try the pate recipe when you find it.