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Let's Make this a Thing!

Bunny Hug Kaya - coconut spread

One of the great things about being in a diverse city like Toronto is that tastes for certain things - be they music or movies or fashions or food - move beyond their cultural origins. At The Mercantile we see this every single day in the number of people who come in to stock up on their harissa paste or Okazu or gojuchang or preserved lemons or pasilla peppers or Mado's sauce who aren't north African or Asian or Latin American or Caribbean. All of these flavours have become part of a common repertoire.

A week or so ago, the folks from a local producer called Bunny Hug came into the store with a product we'd never heard of called Kaya. Its roots are in the colonial era of Singapore/Malaysia when local cooks ventured to approximate the jams and morning toast spreads of British officers using local ingredients. 

So think of something like lemon curd in terms of consistency but remove the tartness and replace it with the soft, round, creaminess of coconut and you've got Kaya. It. Is. DELICIOUS!

Now, we can totally see this being overlooked because it's an unfamiliar product and you're not looking for it in the first place and wouldn't know what to do with it if you just stumbled upon it. But we're pretty confident that if you try it you're going to want to keep a jar in the fridge for when you want that sweet comforting piece of toast - or even dolloped on a cracker. We tried it on a salty potato chip and it was fantastic! For now, we're keeping it with the jams and jellies in the cabinet just to your right as you enter the store.

If you're in the neighbourhood tomorrow at 4:00pm, Bunny Hug will be at the Mercantile offering samples so you can see whether you might like to make this taste part of your culinary repertoire.

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Great Taste, Great Gift, Great Cause... Scout's Honour!

Boy Scout Maple Syrup

When I was a kid, the Girl Guides had the cookies and the Boy Scouts had Apple Day (not ApplePay, Apple Day) as fundraising tools. Things are a bit more sophisticated these days. The 65th Toronto Scout Group based on Roncesvalles has teamed up with family-run Pefferlaw Farms to offer this high quality dark grade 100% pure, organic maple syrup gathered from trees in the Woodland Trails Scout Camp and surrounding forests.

For many Canadians, maple syrup is a pantry item. For Canadian and visitors alike it's one of the most popular Canuck souvenirs going and "Where do you keep your maple syrup?" is one of the most common questions we get when people enter the store for the first time. We have several excellent maple syrups to choose from and you'll find them on the top shelf above the mustards and pestos on the north wall of the store but for a limited time (and for extra convenience) you'll find this special fundraising edition bottle right on the counter. 

Come see us and help support the Scouts in your neighbourhood!

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Be the Best BBQ Guest

For the gear and the know-how this BBQ season, visit our neighbours up the street at The Cookery. For everything else related to flavour and refreshment, we're your next stop for both hosts AND guests of our favourite backyard celebrations.
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OMG - it's almost Father's Day!

Father's Day stuff

If you're like most families in the neighbourhood, you AND dad have been engrossed in the fortunes of our Toronto Raptors and you may have forgotten that Sunday is Father's Day! Let's hope you'll be able to give dad your full attention on Sunday - assuming we take care of the Warriors tomorrow night in Oakland.

Whether it becomes a shared celebration or not, we have a great selection of stuff for the dads in your life - including the best non-alcoholic beer around. Partake Brewing. Headquartered in Calgary and brewed in Vancouver with Research and Development based in Toronto (in partnership with Durham College!), Partake is a true Canadian product that began with a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 followed with support from investor Manjit Minhas on "Dragon's Den" with a mission to bring craft beer taste and variety to the growing near-beer market. It is now available across Canada and in parts of the U.S. 

With a cold one in one hand and a spatula in the other, you might also want to give dad some saucy options for the BBQ. We have many to choose from, including a zesty trio from Kozlik's - the kings of Canadian mustard.

There's lots more, of course, whatever your dad's personal tastes, as well as the best curated (though steadily dwindling!) selection of Father's Day cards on the block.

Happy Father's Day (and Go Raptors!)

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Mom, so sweet!

For a long time, Wendell Estate creamed honey has been a favourite of ours but they've recently introduced a new organic line and we've got it in store now!
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It's Hopping around here!

Easter2019

Don't tell the kids but a certain long-eared cotton-tail comes to the Mercantile a little bit earlier than to your house... and drops off a TON of colourful treats for every budget and every taste. We're giving you a heads up to let you know we've seen the bunny tracks and we've got the goods to prove the existence of the Easter Bunny!

Old standbys like Jellybeans, Easter Gummies, Malted Eggs, Chocolate Robin's Eggs, Foil Eggs and special seasonal offerings from friends like Laura Slack, Denman Island, Roger's, Saxon and gummy treats and carrot-cake marshmallows from Tout de Sweet.

PLUS, we've got dishes and egg cups and napkins and tea towels and table charms (including bunnies in a variety of sizes). You can even buy our delightful daisy-eggs right from the window display!
We're open Good Friday and Saturday as normal but closed Easter Sunday and Monday. We'll give you more reminders as we get closer but the goodies tend to go fast so we thought we'd let you know now to give you plenty of time.
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Get FUNCHed UP!

FUNCH lunch bags

Spring is right around the corner (and March Break is just about over!), which means there's still a few months of school lunches to be made, carried to school, shoved in a locker and eventually consumed. While we do have lots of good things to go IN to lunch bags, people often come to us looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional lunch bag. We finally have just the thing.

Meet FUNCH.

These beautiful and durable bags are made of insulated Tyvek printed with a gorgeous selection of designs and come in two sizes - each with a Velcro closure. So not only will these bags keep your lunch fresh and secure until lunchtime, because they're made from Tyvek, they're strong, recyclable, washable and tear and water resistant. Look for them on the rack right inside the door to your right. 

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Time for a Heart to Heart

Valentine's Goodies

You know that we love our customers. And we know that our customers know that the Mercantile is the perfect place to provision for LoveDay - that's why they've already put a serious dent in our selection of Valentine's Day cards!

But don't worry, there are still treats galore - whether it's cinnamon hearts to pass out at school, luxurious chocolates from Roger's and Laura Slack, a sweet/tart combo for your sweetheart from Tout de Sweet or heart-shaped spinach and cheese ravioli from Queen's Pasta for a romantic dinner at home. Or all of the above wrapped neatly in a CandyHearts Tea Towel!

That's just a fraction of our Valentine's selection but February 14th is a day that tends to creep up on people so we thought we'd let you know before the rush.

XOXOXOXO from all of us to all of you!

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A Taste of Sunny Spain

Plaza del Sol paella etc.

Man, that was grim yesterday. 
Thought I was going to wipe out just going to the corner store. And if I didn't wipe out I certainly came home chilled and damp. And that made me think of Spain...

...to be precise, an open air market in Valencia and the heady aromas emanating from a huge paella pan right there on the sidewalk. Seafood, chorizo, tomato, saffron and that very particular rice. Bomba rice. It's not impossible to find bomba rice around but it's not everywhere so many people substitute arborio and it's just NOT the same thing.

A new line we're carrying called Plaza del Sol delivers the full paella experience along with some beautiful stuffed olives and tasty crostini just in time to beat the winter blahs and turn your kitchen into a street market near the Spanish coast.

Provision here at the Mercantile and then it's off to Spain. 
Traditional recipe here.

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A Superlative Alternative

Seedlip Distillates

Alcohol seems to go hand in hand with the holidays - from cheer to "cheers!" - for better or worse.

For some that presents a personal challenge. For others it creates a conundrum about what to serve the non-drinkers at the gathering. And for many of us a New Year's Resolution to cut back our alcohol consumption is just around the corner. That means a spike in soft-drink sales but, honestly, what non-alcoholic beverage offers the complexities, subtleties and sensations of a finely crafted spirit? Are we doomed to drinking syrupy-sweet "mocktails" on a night out?

Ben Branson, the founder of Seedlip - the world's first non-alcoholic spirits distiller - found the answer to those questions and more in a book of medicinal distillation recipes dating back to 1651 and the company now offers three distinctive flavour profiles in gorgeously evocative packaging. Sip them straight, mix with tonic or apply your best mixology skills to creating the next breed of non-alcoholic cocktails. There's nothing "mock" about them. This truly is the solution of what to drink when you're not drinking.

Just because you choose to drink less, doesn't mean you can't drink well.

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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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