Unique treats, gifts and baskets for unique people.

The Mercantile in Toronto's Roncesvalles Village is your go-to shop for everyday luxuries, with a thoughtfully curated selection of gourmet food items, kitchen accessories, gifts and gift baskets to help you live, give, and entertain in style.

Gotta Terra Cotta

Terra Cotta Dip

We always manage to get great little bowls and tableware items in that seem to really catch on around here. It's not hard to imagine neighbours visiting one another and finding the same stuff in each other's cupboards!

These are the latest items we're sure everyone's going to want first - beautiful glazed terra cotta pieces with a variety of functions: from egg cups to nested measuring bowls to open top jars to spouted jugs - each with that signature unglazed terra cotta bottom that give things a part-upscale part-pueblo feel. These are definitely hand wash items but they're so beautiful you're going to want to use them daily - never mind the dishwasher.

And just so you know, we did check (several times, in fact) and the spouted jugs perfectly hold a bottle of wine - for when you want to have a kind of rustic gathering. A few hunks of cheese, some bread, a jug of wine.... and thou, to borrow a phrase.

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Family Time

Hot Choc Set

In case you've forgotten, this coming Monday is a civic holiday. It's Islander Day (in PEI) and it's Riel Day (in Manitoba). But in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario it's Family Day (not sure what the rest of the country is doing!) In fact, we're not sure what we'll be doing yet but it won't be in the store.
So that's the first thing: we'll be closed Monday with a day to follow our fancy.

We had been all geared up for a skate on Grenadier Pond but it seems likely that will be off limits with the warm weather moving in. Still, skating or no skating, what we were really looking forward to was just being with the people we love - related or not - and sharing some unencumbered time capped with some fresh hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows in it. And that we can still do!

Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best ones to share. And our selections of hot chocolate (and our marshmallows!) make them easier to share with everyone. Dandies Marshmallows are made with all natural ingredients, contain no high fructose corn syrup or gelatin (they're 100% vegan!), and are the first ever marshmallow to be Non-GMO Project Verified. AND they're kosher! Camino Hot Chocolate powders are gluten-free, GMO-free and soy lecithin-free, Kosher, QAI certified organic and Fairtrade certified by Fairtrade Canada because, hey - the people who produce these products have families too.

Put them together in one of our great new enamel mugs and you have coziness in a cup.

Stock up in store this weekend, have a great holiday Monday and we'll see you again as usual on Tuesday!

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Think Outside the Box (of chocolates)

Mercantile Love Window

Now let's be clear: Valentine's Day is kind of like riding a bike with training wheels: if you're confident in your expressions of affection you don't wait for one particular day or limit yourself to certain kinds of tokens of that affection. But we forgive Valentine's Day it's amateur status because it's really very sweet. And the gifts we give are generally quite simple (and also often very sweet!) And yes, we have a great range of products purpose built for the day - from cheap and cheerful bags of cinnamon hearts and those message candies the kids all seem to really love to more sophisticated choices like the Laura Slack chocolate valentine boxes with dulce-de-leche skulls included or the heart-shaped shortbreads from Mary MacLeod's or the heart-shaped raviolis from Queen's Pasta (find those in the freezer) and a great selection of cards (note the "Hay Girl" Ryan Gosling card in the photo).

But let's think outside the box of chocolates for a moment. Here's a romantic accent you can apply any time of year on any occasion:

As you enter the store, to your left you'll find our cabinet of cocktail accoutrements - including a fine selection of aromatic bitters. Look for the cardamom bitters (we carry a couple but we find the Scrappy's is best for this application). Instead of buying an expensive champagne, get yourself a decent bottle of very affordable prosecco.  Prosecco is fermented in stainless steel tanks rather than wooden barrels so it's mostly about the brightness and the effervescence rather than the complex flavours. Put a few drops of the cardamom bitters in your glass of prosecco and you instantly add a kind of creamy, woody, exotic note to a very simple celebratory beverage. And if we sell out of the cardamom, there are lots of options to choose from perhaps the chocolate bitters would kill two lovebirds with one stone (so to speak)!

One of our regular customers from the neighbourhood is Matt See who comes in to stock up on various bitters - including the cardamom - that he makes great use of in his brilliant Chinatown restaurant, People's Eatery. Not a bad spot for a romantic night out, come to think of it, but at the very least you'll find inspiration on his cocktail list for delicious and inventive ways to use bitters on Valentine's or any other day.

Cheers to love. May we all have more of it!

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