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Foodie gift for a Calgarian from Toronto

Hi, my boyfriend and I will be visiting Calgary this summer. And his brother was gracious enough to offer us accommodations at his house. So, I want to give him a nice foodie host gift that's local to Toronto or, maybe at a broader context, Ontario (Niagara products come to mind). I know he loves to cook and eat all things tasty. My first inclination is a good aged balsamic or the minus 8 vinegar that was mentioned on another post. Any other good ideas? My budget would probably be around $200.

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  1. My first thought would be to bring a big VQA red to go with his Alberta beef. Ontario meet Alberta, Alberta meet Ontario.

    1. Ontario wines are scarce in Alberta.

      Veal is (surprisingly) almost non-existent, expensive, and often frozen.

      Great cheese is pricey, there are few vendors.

      Unbaked frozen Ace bread to bake at home.

      The sausage world in Calgary is dominated by Spolumbos, which to me are mediocre. The sausage guy in the SE corner of the North SLM is very good, esp the lemon.

      Smoked bacon from anyone here who smokes their own. Calgary is great at all things beef, not so much pork.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Scary Bill

        Thanks both for the suggestions so far.

        I was worried about getting wine since the host really knows his wines and the privatized liquor market meant that he probably has a better selection than I can find here. But now that you mentioned the scarcity of Ontario wines, maybe I'll add a bottle to the basket. And I'm sure smoked bacon would be a hit too.

        Any recommendations on a good smoked bacon I can find in Toronto?

        1. re: parallelrulegirl

          If you mean double-smoked bacon, Schefflers at The St Lawrence Market is popular and pretty good. My personal fave comes from St. Jamestown Steak & Chops on Parliament @ Winchester.

        2. re: Scary Bill

          It's funny that you mention veal, as we always bring a San Francesco care package to my uncle in Calgary. They'll give you veal, sauce, peppers, and buns in individual containers

        3. Although not from Ontario, Quebec cheeses might go over well since they are impossible to find in Calgary.

          There are also some great mustards, including at the mustard stand in SLM.

          The minus 8 vinegar is overpriced IMO - but some nice Ontario wine would probably go over well.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cat123

            Whatever food you decide on, I suggest that you also add in a subscription to Toronto Life. A friend of mine moved from Toronto to Calgary a few years ago, and she really enjoys keeping up on the restaurant and food scene via Toronto Life.

          2. Awesome, I can't wait to go out to get everything. Definitely will do a wine shopping trip to Beamsville and Niagara On the Lake. Alright! Meat, cheese, wine! Maybe some local craft beer for some added variety?

            1. Ontario wines are somewhat scarce here in Alberta, but we do get a few. I've seen Vineland, Cave Spring, Inniskillin, Jackson Triggs, and maybe Henry of Pelham out here. I have not seen Lailey or Malivoire -- two of my favorites!

              I would advise against the Ace bread. It's not a bad idea, but there's a bakery in Edmonton (not toooooo far from Calgary) that beats the pants off of any bread I've bought in TO.

              -8 Vinegar might be nice! Ice wine jelly might be another thought, along with a bottle of ice wine or late harvest something or other? There are too many varieties to choose from.

              I like the Toronto Life idea -- I haven't had much luck finding it out here (not surprisingly, I suppose).

              What about some spices from the Spice Trader on Queen W? Do you have any fantastic spice shops in Calgary? If not, maybe get a few blends (jerk seasoning, baharat, chai masala, chinese five spice, za'atar, Tuscan blend, etc.) -- something that represents the diversity of Toronto's food scene.

              Good luck! I'll keep thinking.

              1 Reply
              1. re: littlegreenpea

                Based on the available wines lgp mentioned, something from Stratus would be sure to impress...