The holidays are here. If you have a foodie on your list, consider purchasing a gift from one of these local shops. You might even find something for yourself, too—hey, all that holiday shopping works up an appetite! 😉
Labour of Love in Cabbagetown is beautifully curated gift shop with something for everyone. For people who love to cook, they have a great selection of cookbooks with little descriptions written by the owners. They have lovely Canadian made products like Cosman & Webb maple syrup in pretty bottles, Kinsip bitters from Prince Edward County and more. Sleek and gorgeous tableware as well as cute but functional household items also make some great gifts. Finish off your shopping by picking out a few greeting cards from their impressive collection that fills the entire entry way of their shop.
Kitten & the Bear makes small batch French style jams in traditional copper pots. Fruits are selected at the prime of their season and slowly cooked into thick luscious jams. Their Banana, Bourbon and Vanilla Bean is not to be missed and a classic like their Strawberry, Raspberry and Cream is bound to please anyone’s palate. Adorable gift sets are available too, with pairings of colourful tins of Sloane Fine Teas and even their own candles made to smell like their signature buttermilk scones. A selection of vintage teaware, such as dainty floral tea cups are available for sale as well.
As the name suggests, Cocktail Emporium has everything to make the most inventive cocktails save for the booze. A whole section of their shop is dedicated to bitters from all over, including Canadian bitters from Dillon’s Distillery. At Cocktail Emporium you will find interesting syrups, a variety of preserved cherries and even hot sauce to add to your next drink. Glassware, both new and vintage adorn their shelves, making it easy to get the perfect glasses to suit any style. Many cocktail books or cocktail themed gifts, like art prints are available as well.
Foodiepages is an online shop that curates the best food and drinks made by local artisans. You can shop through their website a la carte for items like brownies, cheese kits, wines and more. An even easier option is to choose from premade gift boxes assembled around a theme like their Charcuterie box for meat lovers or their Bubbly Brunch box for a decadent breakfast in bed. Gift boxes can also be bought as a subscription as well to try new goodies every month, including a Bean to Bar box for chocolate appreciators.
The Spice Trader’s shelves are full of tins of unique spices, high quality oils and vinegars and different types of salts. The selection of spices is extensive and you can find different varieties of cinnamon and cardamom. The best part is they always have open tins for you to smell all their different spices to easily compare. You can also sample their variety of premium extra virgin olive oils and fine balsamic vinegars, so you can make sure you will find a gift you would enjoy yourself as well. All their products can be made into lovely gift boxes and a small variety of classes are offered here as well, such as a workshop on how to blend spices for curries or a pasta making class with a local chef.
The One of a Kind Show features a large variety of different artisans, including over 70 just for food and beverages making it a great place to shop for unique edible gifts. Coach House Shortbreads wrapped in colourful paper tubes are always a popular booth and Tracy’s Wine Jellies from Niagara on the Lake are excellent additions to cheese boards. Artisans come from all over North America and many of the products you can find at the show are not for sale in shops in the city. Since there are over 800 artisans in total, it’s also a great place to do all your shopping at once. This year the show will run from November 22 to December 2 at the Enercare Centre.
Everyone knows at least one person who is serious about their coffee and Toronto has many local cafes that have exceptional beans for making an impressive cup of coffee at home. Rustle & Still is Vietnamese cafe that sources all their beans directly from farmers in Vietnam for their signature Koho coffee beans which has notes of blackberry jam, dark chocolate, macadamia and honey. Pilot Coffee Roasters is one of the biggest coffee roasters in Toronto and aside from selling some amazing beans, barista classes are also offered at their shop. If you are not quite sure where to start, a coffee subscription from The Roasters Pack with beans roasted from all over Canada might be a fun option as well.
Toronto has no shortage of amazing chocolatiers and around the holidays you will always find seasonal creations available for sale. Chocolate Christmas ornaments can be found at Odile Chocolat and Sugarplum Candied Macadamia Nuts from Soma Chocolatemaker are perfect stocking stuffers. Many chocolatiers make their own hot chocolate mixes as well, which makes a great gift for the whole family to enjoy. Check out our list of some of the best artisan chocolate shops in the city for more options.