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Tap in to Winter

Tapped Out and Ni9

Well, we didn't expect it so soon or so fiercely, perhaps, but it was inevitable. Winter.

But let's not forget that winter has its benefits - including a chance to focus on indoor pursuits, to create warmth in whatever style suits you. Cocktailing is one such activity (in moderation, of course!) and we have a couple of very special ingredients to mention as we anticipate warm flavours to battle the cold outside.

First, Graeme Foers has a history right here in our neighbourhood but much of his time is spent in the woods handcrafting his Tapped Out Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. Now, if you ever went to a sugaring off in the bush you might have a memory of taps in the trees and lines running from all around the lot to a tank in the middle. To some people that's quaint and they know that maple syrup operations run the gamut from mom & pop farms to industrial scale evaporation processors. Tapped Out makes even the mom & pops look like a factory floor. He is literally asking each tree for permission to take sap and collecting it individually, keeping the fires burning all season long to make the best maple syrup there is and then aging it in bourbon whiskey barrels brought up from the States.

Nickel 9 Distillery is also very close to home - just a few blocks away in the Junction - and making a mark with a couple of spirits available at LCBO stores. But they've also released this wonderful line of aromatic bitters. Some - like the hibiscus or the lavender citrus or the grapefruit orange - could be used to summon summer in a glass if you're so inclined. But I'm looking at the smoked apple and the cedar cherry bark and the rosemary black peppercorn and thinking I could just lean into winter quite comfortably.

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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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Soup Time

Soup Time

Soup Girl Selection

Well, it took a while but a certain chill has entered the air and the autumn leaves have been just spectacular. For many people, those are the signs of a coming winter. We have another one in the shop: like clockwork, around this time of year, these beautiful jars from local producer SoupGirl start to disappear from our shelves.

It's not hard to see why. I mean, just look at them! You could just leave them on a shelf or out on the counter and they'd be beautiful decor! But they're also a brilliant idea so you're going to want to use them. Instead of assembling all the ingredients and stocking up on spices that might go for years in a cupboard before the next time you use them, SoupGirl portions all the dry ingredients you need for an assortment of delicious, nutritious, heart-warming soups into one re-usable Mason jar - you just add the liquid ingredients according to the instructions printed on the attached tag. Also on there you'll find full ingredient lists, nutritional information and handy tips for modifying the soups if you so choose. All her soups are vegetarian but you carnivores feel free to add meat!

Flavours include Spicy Coconut Lentil, Curried Cashew, Smoky Split Pea, Italian Rice & Lentil, Caribbean Rice n’ Peas Soup, The Detox, Moroccan Lentil, Za’atar Lentil and a brand new one - Bavarian Barley.

That ought to get you through winter!

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Baby, It's Cold Outside

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Each jar in this great selection of eight different soups from SoupGirl  - Spicy Coconut Lentil,Curried Cashew, Smoky Split Pea, Italian Rice & Lentil, Caribbean Rice n’ Peas Soup, The Detox Soup, Moroccan Lentil Soup and the new Za’atar Lentil Soup - includes its own carefully crafted mix of herbs, spices, grains and/or pulses. All you have to do is add heat, water and time. 

Apparently Wiarton Willy predicted six more weeks of winter earlier this week so come on in and stock up on the hearty soups in town!

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