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New to the city, ISO cured meats, cheese and sausages

Dear TO Chowhounders,

I recently moved to Toronto from Montreal, where I spent years refining my where-to-go list for food items such as sausages, charcuterie, cheese, bacon, cured pork products, etc.

I've been perusing this board, and it seems like to the get the "best" of anything, I would have to drive, which isn't a problem, and I'm willing to drive to buy something I'm craving.

So my question is, where do I go for:
- Cheese (I read that the Cheese Boutique is the place to go)?
- Cured meats (Salamis, hams, etc.)
- Artisanal sausages (Montreal was a mecca for this, and I miss my favorite smoked pork sausage with cheese ever so much!)

I am sure Toronto has all this (and more), and would love to be able to find what I'm looking for here. Otherwise, I'll have to take a big cooler with me on my next trip down the 401.

Thanks!

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  1. I think you will be shocked by the prices here even if you can find stuff that you like in comparison to Montreal.

    Personally, I haven't found anything equivalent to the variety/quality/price of Montreal products.

    I will be watching this thread for recs though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ylsf

      Ylsf, this has been my experience so far. Your reply is getting me a little depressed, but I hope others will have some feedback.

      As for SLM, I knew it would come up, but it seems to me that it's more of a tourist destination than an actual market. But again, I've only been once, and thought many vendors were just overpriced. Maybe I'll give it another shot.

      1. re: foodie_mtl

        BTW, not directly related to what to find in the GTA ,but, if you can take time to go over the boarder I highly recommend a trip to some shops in Buffalo for good prices/selection of cheeses and other products you are looking for (Wegmans, Premier Gourmet, etc)

        1. re: ylsf

          Thank you! I was actually thinking of taking a trip across the border this weekend.

    2. You may want to make a stop at St. Lawrence Market (SLM) if you haven't already done so, just to browse and for the convenience factor of so many shops close together.

      There are quite a few cheese shops (e.g. Olympic Cheese Mart and Alex Farm) and meat shops there that may meet some of your cravings.

      The Market offers workshops such as a Charcuterie Primer that is happening in a couple of days on November 21 which you could sign up for too ($45).

      1. Hi and welcome to TO foodie_mtl.

        For cheese and cured meats I highly recommend La Salumeria at Yonge and Davisville. Really great selection of stuff at reasonable price.

        They also carry many different olive oils and vinegars so in that sense it reminds me of that gourmet shop in the Atwater market (I never remember the name) but on a smaller scale.

        Also Oliffe's Butcher Shop at Rosedale and Yonge carries a limited and perhaps pricey, but very good selection of cured meats.

        1. I love Starsky Foods for my Polish fix! Lots of great sausages, cheeses and pork products.

          1. Many people here will say the Cheese Boutique is expensive, but I recommend it and I am a very cheap guy! I also like Karlovo Meat and Deli for certain dry cured meats, here is the website: http://karlovo.com/

            5 Replies
            1. re: foodyDudey

              Agree on Cheese Boutique, it IS the place to go, for cheese and charcuterie.

              1. re: catherine88

                Went to Cheese Boutique on Friday, and all I can say is that their name doesn't do them justice. I was very pleased to see all the other products. And I didn't think the prices were that outrageous. Will definitely be going back.

                1. re: foodie_mtl

                  You missed the $11.99 bottle of Sriracha hen! :)

                  1. re: foodie_mtl

                    I know, it should really be called something like "Great Food Seventh Heaven"

                    I am glad to hear that you liked it. I rarely steer people to the wrong place. Now go try Summerhill Market and tell us what you think. (I don't shop there any more)

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      Haha I wish others would follow your lead and stay away from Summerhill foodyDudey. It took me almost 10 minutes just to get a spot in the parking lot on Sunday. It was chock a block madness inside. I guess everyone was gearing up for Grey Cup.

                      Anyways, I digress. I am curious though why you suggest that the Op check them out? I don't consider them a destination spot for cured meats and cheeses and from the sounds of it, either do you?

              2. Brandt Meat in Mississauga for wurst, smoked pork products, German cold meats, hams.

                1. If you put a similar amount of effort into finding new Toronto favourites, I'm sure you'll find lots to keep you busy. (I lived in Montréal for a few years, and had the same experience in reverse.) I would suggest not trying to find the same things, but, rather, new favourites. Toronto doesn't do the same things well that Montréal does, and vice versa.

                  As far as places for meat go, I'd suggest Sanagan's Meat Locker in Kensington. I haven't tried their sausages extensively, but they have interesting, and high quality stuff.

                  Also, IMO, St. Lawrence deserves another look. There's some touristy stuff there, sure, but there's lots of substance, too. Sausage King has some good stuff, and a lot of the Saturday morning farmers's market on the north side is good, too. National Geographic may not have a big food emphasis, but they didn't pick St. Lawrence as a top worldwide destination for being a tourist trap:

                  http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: trombasteve

                    I will put the effort, it's just that, Toronto is just too big, and daunting at times. In Montreal, you could take an afternoon and explore Jean Talon Market, Little Italy and surroundings. This is simply not the case here. So that's why I started this thread. To get an idea of where to start my search. And from the responses so far, we there are great suggestions all over the GTA.

                    So far, my experience hasn't been great. And I admit, it's my fault. Lack of time, unfortunately, is the culprit here.

                    I'm not trying to find exactly what I had back home. I'm sure Toronto has plenty to offer. So any suggestions for uniquely Toronto fare would be greatly appreciated.

                    As for SLM, I will give it another shot. I'll check out Sausage King. I went on a Sunday only to find out it was closed! I thought that was strange, in a city where everything is open late. Went again on a Saturday, but wasn't terribly impressed.

                    1. re: foodie_mtl

                      The size thing is certainly a factor - the different neighbourhoods in Toronto are almost more like different cities in some ways, and there isn't the same centrally agreed-upon "Toronto" stuff to do, since everyone has their own pocket of the city. I wouldn't worry too much about "uniquely Toronto fare", but would just aim for "good". Most of the stuff pushed as being distinctively Torontonian/Southern Ontarian isn't worth the fuss. (Or homemade is better anyway, like peameal bacon, or butter tarts.)

                      Your taste/interests may vary, but here are some of my "do"s, and "don't"s. You can find lots of opinions (for and against) about most of these here on CH.

                      DO:

                      Coffee - Crema
                      Beer - Bellwoods Brewery, and Bar Volo
                      Baked Sweets - Baker Bots (ice cream sandwich!)
                      Indian - Moti Mahal (Gerrard + Coxwell)
                      Middle Eastern - Al Tanoor (only went once, but it was amazing - in Scarborough)
                      Sandwiches - Banh Mi Boys
                      - Porchetta and Co
                      Thai - Khao San Road
                      Regional American/BBQ - Stockyards Larder
                      Gelato - Boreal

                      DON'T

                      - Carousel Bakery Peameal Bacon. It's just not worth the fuss.
                      - Anything "Montréal-Style". None of them are worth having, especially by comparison to the originals.
                      - Any attempt at traditional poutine, unless you're okay with the cheese not being as good as in QC.

                      1. re: trombasteve

                        Thank you! We've gone out to eat quite a bit, to explore what the city has to offer. Everyone seems to think Montreal has a better restaurant scene than Toronto, and that may have been true 10 years ago. I don't think it's fair to say that anymore. When it comes to Asian food in general, there is no comparison. Toronto wins! Ramen, Izakaya, Vietnamese, Dim Sum, even the AYCE sushi.

                        Can't wait to explore some more, but can't really afford to eat out every night (and would I really want to?), so that's why I am in search of really great shops for meat, cheese, sausage, etc. so that I can prepare quality meals at home.

                      2. re: foodie_mtl

                        What's nice about SLM is that while yes, a lot of the market caters to tourists, a good chunk of it is reasonably priced and good quality for the local market. My go-to butcher in the city is Upper Cut in SLM, where they have everything you could possibly want, but if they don't have it, they'll order in. Bob, the owner, is a great guy, and he'll happily talk to anyone about anything.

                        You've got some great suggestions here, but one spot that's missing is Kensington. Spend a Sunday afternoon opening doors and snacking at different places. Some magnificent finds in the Market, provided you don't murder all the hipsters who've taken up residence.

                        1. re: biggreenmatt

                          Seems like I may not have given SLM a proper chance.

                          Been to Kensington several times already, and love the tacos, tostadas and other Latino foods. Seems like it would be more fun in the summer months. Went there a couple of weeks ago, it was cold, and only people we saw were the hipsters you speak so fondly of! ha!

                    2. At SLM you'll find Scheffler's for an excellent supply of cured meats. Yes expensive, but some very unique and the best prosciutto in the city IMHO. Ask them to try some neat stuff, like the pork only fed with nuts etc.. Also, my go to cheese guy is Alex in SLM. A word of caution, don't go to the other Alex's. I live in the beach but refuse to go to that local as they tried to screw my multiple times with old decaying product, The SLM guys are amazing. As far as other neat stuff goes you may have wait until spring for the markets to open again. Welcome to the city!

                      1. Unfortunately, cheese is one of the things that I have always found to be better in Montreal. When I say better it seems like the prices and variety are much better in Montreal. Having said that I think everyone here is right, there is good stuff to be had in Toronto. One suggestion I have is Costco, if you are able to handle larger quantities. I wouldn't make a special trip there or get a membership just for cheese, but I have made some interesting finds for resonable prices.
                        BTW no matter what you find in TO I would still bring a extra large cooler with you travel down the 401.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sweetie

                          I'm a total costco addict... Even though I have a "condo" sized fridge/freezer, I still buy in bulk. In terms of meat, I still buy at costco, although recently I discovered Pavao. And I love the fact they have a counter at No Frills in Dufferin Mall. Bought some Portuguese cured sausage and beef. No complaints.

                        2. Whenever I visit the city, my must do is Blue Danube Sausage House. Their products are listed here:
                          http://www.wezel.com/bluedanube/produ...

                          1. As for sausage, there are a few places around that make interesting things. Try Segovia Meats on Augusta for over dozen styles of Mexican, Central, and South American chorizo and adobo marinated meats.

                            Cured meats are not as artisanally prepared for consumers, but there are some good restaurant offerings. There are some good cured meats in the weekly farmer's markets, and Hogtown Charcuterie do some pretty good products if you can find them (https://twitter.com/htchar0