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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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Cold Cold Hearts make a Warm Valentine's Dinner

You can pick up all kinds of Valentine's treats this weekend for the LOVE-liest day of the year coming up next week: Popcorn and chocolate Caramel Hearts from Be Mine, Laura Slack's Raspberry Ganache Valentine Dark Chocolate Bar and specialty confections from Denman Island and Saxon Chocolates.

But for a cozy night in, you might want to plan ahead. These ricotta-filled ravioli from Queen's Pasta are cold, cold hearts - but only because we keep them in the freezer at the back of the store. Boil from frozen until they float, finish in a pan with some brown butter, parmesan and pancetta, sprinkle with parsley, serve with a nice bottle of prosecco and things can only get hotter from there!

Pick them up this weekend - quantities are limited!

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Love in a non-heart-shaped Box

Valentine's in a Box

Pop quiz:
What day is coming up soon when you should let that special someone know just how you feel and express your affection and appreciation?

Ummm.... the correct answer is "tomorrow" and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that. Trick question.

However, since the calendar specifically designates a particular day for these expressions and we know people will be coming into the store looking for the right vehicles for that expression on that day, we wanted to let you know that we are prepared - not as on-the-nose as a heart-shaped box and not as lewd as Samberg/Timberlake's other thing in a box but a box nonetheless!

Remember, it's not so much about the stuff as it's about the experience and this box is all about experiences and sensations:

  • Sprucewood Fresh raspberry Shortbread Cookies
  • Pukka LOVE tea (organic rose, chamomile & lavender)
  • Really Great Goods, lavender & lime epsom salts
  • Fenwick Organic Coconut wax candle, Lavender & Eucalyptus
  • Laura Slack Raspberry Ganache Valentine Dark Chocolate Bar
  • all wrapped in a white Flour Sack Tea Towel

All for $49.95

Of course, you'll find all kinds of Valentine-themed choices around the store - from cards to chocolates to adorable gifts - but this right here is love in a box, Prêt à Aimer!

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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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Valentine's Day Part Two - Home Advantage

Valentine's Day Part Two - Home Advantage

As if the crush of romantic-dinner-seeking amateurs isn't enough to keep you home this Valentine's Day, it's also the NBA All-Star game. Two great reasons to be your own All-Star and use your home-court advantage to take your Valentine's Day to the next level.

Once again, our friends at Queen's Pasta have supplied us with packages of lovingly made heart-shaped ravioli made with both red and white pasta stuffed with ricotta and other flavours. But this year they packed a new surprise into that familiar shape as well:

Queen's Pasta Ravioli

Ravioli filled with dulce-de-leche and banana!

We're recommending you plate with a smear of raspberry purée underneath and a dusting of cocoa powder on top. Positively aphrodisiacal!

However you spend this Valentine's Day, we hope you get to share it with someone you care about - romantically or otherwise - and have a safe and happy long weekend. 
And on that note, a reminder that we are closed Monday for Family Day.

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Valentine's Day Part One - All-Star Weekend

Valentine's Day Part One - All-Star Weekend

This is not only Valentine's weekend but NBA All-Star weekend - it's time to up your game! And we've got two sweet paths to your sweetheart that are slam dunks from Toronto chocolate All-Stars Odile and Laura Slack.

Decorative truffles, dulce-de-leche skulls, a handpainted chocolate frog prince? Whatever the shape of your love, we've got you covered.... in All-Star chocolate for All-Star weekend.

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