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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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Summer Refreshment at your fingertips, literally.

Augie's Ice Pops

We figure most of you know that we carry a couple of different (but equally great) lines of ice-pop moulds so you can make frozen treats at home. We know this because we are already on our second or even third order of the things. We keep selling out of them!

But for those muggy days when you're not at home but you need a quick hit of cool, we've got ready-made ice-pops in our freezer at the back of the store. And not just any ice pops. They're the best in the city and they're made right here in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood: Augie's.

Of course, there's no pleasure like a simple pleasure and Augie's ice pops certainly do the trick. But some of those flavour combinations (wild blueberry citrus, strawberry basil lemonade, Vietnamese coffee...) hint at a background working with some of the city's top chefs and a dedication to sourcing local ingredients from the farms where the flavours grow. Simplicity and sophistication in one delicious, refreshing treat, right at your fingertips and right down the street at the Mercantile.

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For the Kid in Dad (or just for the kids)

Assorted Ice Pop Molds

We admit it, we were caught off guard. 

Remember a few weeks ago when there was that heat wave in May? We had put out our stock of various ice pop molds just to remind people we had them, really, but within a week they were mostly gone. So we immediately placed an order for more and of course it turned cold again. Which is fine because there was a delay in the delivery. But as the official start of summer looms, we're glad to report that ice pop molds are back in stock in a variety of shapes and manufacturers.

Choose the Onyx stainless steel models for durability (and for a household where you don't need a lot of them!) or go with the fun shapes and different sizes from Tovolo. There are plenty of choices, now you just need to decide what flavours to make! For a guide to some great flavours and combinations - from kid favourites to healthy alternatives to boozy adults-only versions, check out these recipes.

And don't forget that Father's Day is this weekend. If you don't think he'd like popsicle molds, maybe something in the BBQ or hot sauce department? But don't limit yourself, the options are endless, as always, at the Mercantile.

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Summer Blue

Meredith's Blueberry Elixir

Ontario strawberries come for that brief period at the beginning of summer and they are spectacular. Ontario blueberries have a longer season (roughly May to September) and in that sense they define the taste of summer in this province. So it's perhaps not surprising that Meredith - our favourite mad scientist of Meaford - has captured that flavour in her latest specialty elixir. The lemon, lime and straight ginger versions remain the core of the line-up but this branching out into seasonal editions has been spectacular - combining powerful ginger with honey she raises herself and bold fruit flavours.

Some people use them medicinally, some purely for flavour, some for a soothing tea, some for a bracing soft drink and some for a zingy cocktail. It is versatile, healthy and delicious and the blueberry variety has really captured the essence of Ontario in a bottle for us all. Try gin or vodka and soda with a splash of this for an instant summer classic. You'll find it in the fridge at the back of the store.

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PLAYing with the big Boi

Play ginger ale

The introduction of U.S.-based Lacroix sparkling waters to our shelves has been a huge hit (and more flavours are coming by year end). Some have suggested that the Lacroix phenomenon is old news south of the border, but recent stories in the financial pages and YouTube tributes like Lacroix Boi by Big Dipper indicate there's still lots of over-the-top enthusiasm for this sweetener-free, naturally flavoured beverage.

So we wanted to draw your attention up above the border and up one shelf in our fridge to a Canadian player in the sparkling game: Play unsweetened ginger ale. This is made using spring water from Oro-Medonte, all natural ginger flavour and no sweeteners of any kind. I suppose you could call it Canada Really Dry but on a hot day you'll just call it refreshing.

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Prime 'Q

BBQ Suite

Well, we're in the thick of it now.
With good weather and longer days, we want to maximize the time outdoors and so cooking moves to the deck or the yard or the balcony or the tailgate. Whether you're a wood or charcoal purist or belong to the Hank Hill propane-powered team, there's something so satisfying about cooking on the grill. Our neighbours at Pollocks Home Hardware and The Cookery have a variety of useful tools (many on sale as we speak!) and our pals at De La Mer, Village Meats, Butcher Bar, The Meat Dept., Rowe Farms and our plentiful veggie markets have all the options of what products go on your grill. But planning for your BBQ is not complete until you've stopped in at The Mercantile.

For pre-seasoning we've got everything from Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and an array of peppers to a great range of honeys, oils and vinegars. Peruse our spice shelves to concoct your own flavour mixes or select from among our many spice rubs. And then, of course, there are the BBQ sauces. Pictured here are just a handful of our many available options but we especially wanted to point out the grill-specific additions to the line-up from No. 7 Hot Sauces - a great Toronto company. They've introduced a classic Mexican BBQ sauce AND a series of Portuguese-style grill sauces called "Sandra's Piri Piri".

PLUS, right now we have the last of our grill planks on sale for 25% off! 
So make sure you put us on your BBQ provisions circuit and Happy Grilling!

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Apples for Teacher?

Apple for Teacher

Traditionally, apples were given to teachers at the beginning of the school year. It was meant to both literally and figuratively feed the person responsible for educating the children of the community. As the school year comes to a close, a newer tradition has sprung up to offer a little gift as a thank you for the care and attention the teacher has brought to his or her students since last September. I suppose some people might offer an apple - or, for that matter, an Apple iPad - but we had something a little more modest in mind.

We have all kinds of great gifts suitable for the occasion - including a special price on Laura Slack's famous chocolate potted flowers. But we know that teachers and their tastes are as diverse as their students so we have a special offer for readers of this newsletter:

This week and next, come in and find whatever you think is appropriate for your kid's teacher and pick out a tea-towel to wrap it in and we'll give you 10% off the bundle. Just mention that you saw it in our newsletter or on our website or social media feeds. And by all means encourage your friends and neighbours to subscribe to our newsletter too so they can take advantage of this offer! We'll even throw in an apple, since you're taking the kids back for summer!

 

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DIY Summer

Tovolo, Lekue and Onyx ice pop molds

In spite of the cool spring, we've already seen quite a run on our selection of ice-pop molds. But with summer starting to come seriously into view, we expect to see a lot more people coming in to find the best way to make their favourite easy summer treat.

We have a variety of styles, shapes and materials to choose from - from the classic rocket and playful "thumbsucker" molds in BPA-free plastic by Tovolo to the innovative horizontal silicon trays by Lekue (available singly or in sets of four - perfect if you have one of those dedicated flat ice-cube drawers in your freezer) and the super-durable, fast-freezing, easy-to-clean stainless steel models from Onyx.

Perhaps the best idea is to get a couple of different styles so you can have one reserved for the kids' treats and another dedicated to the grown-up ice-pops you might experiment with, like this one!

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Not Beyoncé

Lemo Lemonade

As much as we love her (and carry a "Happy BirthBey" card in her honour) this post is about the other kind of Lemonade, which is about to come in to its time in the sun.

Once again, a happening company from Montreal (though with roots in Franco-Manitoba) is the source for this excellent syrup/cordial/cocktail mixer. LemoLemonade (take note of their awesome square logo!) is all hand pressed, hand grated and hand bottled using quality ingredients with gorgeous balance in three flavours. Depending on which one you choose you're going to get the perfect blend of sweet and sour, tart and spicy, tangy and bitter.

We keep promising we're going to publish a video with some summer cocktail tips and I think we may start with this one (it's just that the test results are so darn delicious we get a bit sidetracked). If you don't see a video up here by mid-June, come and ask at the counter and we'll try to give you the benefit of our experience!

Find LemoLemonade at the front of the shop to your left as you come in. Let summer begin!

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Summer Sneak Peek

PopStand Ice Pops

While it's cooled off towards more seasonable temperatures heading into this long weekend, summer did give us a tantalizing preview earlier this week. So we thought we'd give you an equally tantalizing sneak peek of summer ourselves:

Like the burger and the G&T, ice pops have been undergoing a renaissance in recent years that taps into a deep nostalgia for these cooling treats but updates the flavours for our ever-expanding palates. Kari Marshall's Pop Stand series is, we think, the most interesting entrant into this market with flavours that range from the traditional to the experimental. Among our favourites now available at The Mercantile:

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North Ontario Meets North Africa

North Ontario Meets North Africa

Settling in Toronto, Walid Hachani just wasn't finding a harissa to measure up to his mother's so he decided to make it himself and so El Tounsi Foods was born. Walid promises there's more to come from El Tounsi in his quest to introduce the Canadian palate to the full range of North African cuisine but it all starts with harissa.
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Smokin'

Smokin'

Immerse the individual cedar wraps in whatever liquid you like - apple cider, beef stock, wine, bourbon - then tie them around your main course - fish, seafood, beef, pork, chicken, corn, stuffed eggplant! - and let the alchemy of fire, smoke and aromatic steam go to work. The results are super moist and flavourful. Plus, when it comes to plating, you're not just serving up another charred piece of chicken - you're presenting a.... present. The experience of unwrapping the bundle and feeling that first waft of smoky, aromatic goodness overtake your senses is a culinary gift your dinner guests will love.
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