I am getting married in November and I have a lot of guest coming in from the US (my parents moved here just before I was born so the rest of my entire family lives out there). I wanted to create "out of town" gift baskets to leave in their hotel rooms. I want to put in local treats or things we are known for in Toronto, to give them a taste of our city. The only thing is that I am not really sure of stuff we have and they don't or that we have that is better....I am looking for suggestions, any ideas?? Also, I cannot include things like peameal bacon because they wont have anywhere to cook it....lol
Nice idea! Some quick initial thoughts:
- Portuguese custard tarts
- fleur de sel caramels from Soma (and pretty much any other goodies from there)
- smarties and maybe a only-in-Canada chocolate bar or two
- Ruffles all-dressed chips (or other "strange" flavour that they don't have in the States)
Hmm, need to think of some more savoury items, but most of the things I can think of require refrigeration or heating (like beef patties!).
re: Soma- I also recommend the feuilletine chocolate, the cherry bomb & english toffee w dark chocolate!
I regularly transport packs of English toffee and boxes of custard tarts to family that live outside the Greater Toronto Area.
If there's a bar fridge in their hotel rooms that's cold enough to refrigerate food (some aren't), you could include some small pieces of Monforte cheese or Niagara Gold cheese, too. Or maybe a very small cheese tray, small enough for a bar fridge, wrapped in cello, from Alex Farms.
I'm also a fan of Rootham's jams, sauces & jellies, made in nearby Guelph! http://www.roothamsgourmet.com/
Here are a few ideas:
Kozlik’s mustard http://www.mustardmaker.com/
Greave’s jams or chutney http://www.greavesjams.com/
Coffee Beans from Balzac’s in the Distillery District
Cocktail Cheddar Shortbread biscuits from Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.
Chocolates from SOMA – Distillery District
The AGO gift shop is also a great spot to pick up local items.
55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA
Coffee Bean Cafe
15400 Hurontario St, Inglewood, ON L7C2C3, CA
You can get some delicious Loukoumades dusted with Cinnamon or get some Tiropita/Spanakopita, all of which can be put in a box by the salesperson, it will look and taste amazing!
not sure on the shelf-life tho, so you would probably get it the day your family arrives...
509 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA
estfufarian you'll have to check out SOMA, I'm sure they will be able to suggest some of their fabulous locally made chocolate that would pair beautifully with your Framboise.
I hear you in terms of keeping costs at bay when it comes to gift baskets but its worth noting that Niagara wineries are producing some excellent, reasonably priced ice wines now. Of course there are also some wonderful Late Harvest Vidals that offer huge value.
I love TorontoJo's idea of the Mill St beer! Reminds me that All the Best Fine Foods have some yummy house-made maple coated nuts that would be just dee-lish with that beer!!!
Not Toronto specifically, but Ontario, you could look for the small Noah Martin's summer sausage chubs. I know we have them out here in the boondocks, surely someone in Toronto carries them.
Thanks for all the suggestions! My initial thought ( an one for sure I am going to use) was some local beers because they are pretty good and Canada really makes better beer then the States. I love the idea of some local chocolates and chip flavours they don't have. Also like the Kozlik'x mustard idea. Keep them coming!!! I love to make my American family jealous of the things they don't have! ;)
lol...if you could wrap up universal health care and place it in a welcome basket...that might make them jealous!
Perhaps browsing some of the local farmer's markets might bring a small treasure trove of gift ideas...jams, jellies and the like.
Below is a list of those I tend to frequent...
Distillery Historic District Farmers’ Market
55 Mill Street (at Parliament)
Sundays, 10 am - 4 pm, May 2 to September 26, 2010
Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market
873 Dufferin St. (in Dufferin Grove Park
)Thursdays, 3 – 7 pm, Open all year
Liberty Village Farmers’ Market
(Liberty St – Atlantic Ave
)Sundays, 9 am - 2 pm, June 6 to October 31, 2010
Nathan Philips Square Farmers’ Market
Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. West
Wednesdays, 8 am – 2 pm, June 2 to October 13, 2010
St. Lawrence North Farmers’ Market
92 Front Street East (at Jarvis)
Saturdays, 5 am – 5 pm, Open all year
Sorauren Farmers’ Market
40 Wabash Ave. at Sorauren
Mondays, 3-7 pm, May 17 to Oct 25, 2010
Winter Markets the third Monday of every month
Dufferin Grove Park
900 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6H, CA
2917 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6B3S7, CA
Get a bottle of Indian Summer Reisling from Cave Springs cellars. It's a really great 'dessert' wine without being cloyingly sweet like ice wine.
Tasting note from their website: Ginger-spiced pear preserve, sultana raisins, lychee and apricot show on the nose; the palate is rich and medium-bodied with apricot/peach fruit, followed by a succulent, cinnamon-tinged mid-palate and a long finish of pear crumble and comb honey; from beginning to end, a core of brilliant acidity lifts and balances the palate (9/08)
From all the suggestions so far, it looks like it is going to be a basket I would love to get my hands on!
And just to round out the "Toronto" idea, you can consider including some of the Chinese, or even Vietnamese, pastries that you can find in Chinatown, such as the ones from the bakery on Dundas near Spadina (I can never remember the name). I am thinking about one of those flaky pastries that are filled with a sweet bean or nut filling, for example, which should be able to last for a good week or so.