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.

Suffering from Gifter's Block?

Mercantile Gift Boxes

You know the feeling.
You have people on your Christmas list and you've spent most of your brain power choosing just the right thing for that special someone. You're spent - fresh out of ideas for everyone else.

Fortunately, there are Mercantile Gift Boxes. With four unique and carefully curated collections, you're bound to find a box perfectly suited for the people left on your list: one for the seasoned home cook, one for the dinner party hosts, one for the sweet-tooth and one for that certain someone who just needs to take a day off and treat themselves to some well-deserved quiet time. As an added bonus, they're already tastefully wrapped in an elegant craft-coloured box with black ribbon. Just remove the price tag and it's ready to go under the tree.

You'll find them right opposite the checkout counter. For those of you expecting to find our killer selection of tonic waters there, don't worry we've temporarily moved them to the other side of that centre table!

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Fewer tricks, more treats

Halloween Pasta

In communities where they take Halloween seriously, it's a holiday that presents an opportunity to confront fears, exorcise personal demons and commune with the spirit world. At its commercial worst, Halloween is fundamentally about promoting characters from the comic book universe and collecting free sugar. Somewhere in between is where most of us experience this fascinating orphan of a holiday.

Now, if you're looking to provision for the great giveaway at the door, you might want to give us a miss. We don't carry anything "chocolatey", only real chocolate! But if you do want to get into the .... spirit.... of things then there's lots to choose from:

First of all, there's the pumpkin fudge. We have customers who seem to sniff it out a few days before we've even put it on the shelf and they've already made a considerable dent in our stock of this decidedly seasonal treat. If you don't want to miss this year's bumper crop, you might want to get here before the weekend.

Second, if you're making creepy-themed treats at home, we've got everything you need for baking that says "BOO!" - including spooky cooky cutters, blood-coloured icing and dagger, machete and monster-eyes cookie and cupcake decorations.

Third, if you want to be like Mrs. McAuley who always stood on the porch of her house at Halloween dressed as a witch, dispensing little cups of hot chocolate out of her dry-ice enwrapped cauldron while spooky music played in the background... well we've got lots of great cocoa and hot chocolate mixes.

Fourth, if you're thinking past the porch - more about interior decor - we have a variety of harvest and Halloween themed table charms and other decorative items.

And Finally, if you're planning a more adult kind of evening - perhaps a séance/dinner party, Bat and Cat shaped black pasta cheesy ravioli from Queen's Pasta (pictured above) is the perfect primi course for your feast of goat's blood or spiders-flambé or whatever you have in mind. Oh heck, the kids will love them too!

Have a safe and happy Halloween and don't forget to contribute your Jack-o-Lantern creations to the Pumpkin Parade in Sorauren Park!

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Toronto Heatwave

Toronto Heatwave

Clustered on your tongue, in your mouth and on your skin are thousands of TRPV1 thermoreceptors. Their function is to kick into action at temperatures about 43C and above to initiate a pain response and trigger some protective measures to try to cool us down and dissipate the heat - things like producing sweat.

Now, by complete accident it turns out that a couple of non-heat-related enzymes also bond to these receptors - one of them being capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilli peppers. That's why we perceive spicy foods as "hot". They're not really. It's an illusion created by those TRPV1 receptors!

So why do human beings deliberately subject themselves to that pain response by eating spicy food and adding capsaicin-rich sauces to all foods? One theory floating around the scientific community is that prolonged exposure to capsaicin causes a desensitization of the TRPV1 receptors. ie., eat more spicy food and feel the actual heat a little bit less!

Given the successive heatwaves that have hit Toronto this summer - and global warming trends in general - maybe one response is to amp up your intake of hot sauce. Toronto produces some exceptional hot sauces and spicy condiments from a number of different traditions - including Okazu fermented sesame chilli and Mado's Dominican pepper sauce, both featured here on the blog in recent posts - but the flag-bearer for the recent explosion of heatwaves of flavour in this city has got to be No. 7 Mexican Hot Sauces.

Founded in the Junction Triangle in 2013 by the husband and wife team of Sandra and Carlos Flores, they offer a line of hot sauces ranging "from Mild to Wild" with no added preservatives, sodium or sugar. They are soy/dairy free, gluten-free, peanut-free, as well as vegan. Try the sweeter Pasilla (made with tequila!) or the smoky Chipotle or challenge yourself to the Habanero-Ghost Pepper blend (softened somewhat by the presence of cauliflower and carrot in the mix).

Remember, you may be preparing your body to handle the heatwaves still to come!

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