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Slacksmas

The Laura Slack Collection

Chocolate, it seems, is as essential a part of the holiday season as anything from mistletoe to menorahs. And naturally we have a huge range of chocolate from classic to fancy, Xmas-themed to potato-chip filled, super sweet to super spicy and everything in between. But at the risk of repeating ourselves, we'd like to point once more to the whole collection from Toronto chocolatier Laura Slack. Her work is truly impeccable and even her most basic bar - wrapped in chiyogami paper from the Japanese Paper Place - feels like an extra special gift no matter what time of the year you give or receive it.

At Christmas-time, Laura really goes all out and adds a whole host of additional items to her offering - including handpainted chocolate snowflake lollies, chocolate bacon-toffee-almonds and truffles - not to mention her dulce-de-leche-filled chocolate skulls (for the badass on your list) and her sublime Drink of the Gods hot chocolate mix.

So as you get in your last minute shopping and top up your supply of stocking stuffers, don't forget to have a closer look at the Slack collection that really is as special to give as it is to receive. You'll find it all to the right of the checkout counter.

A reminder that we are open until 8:00pm tonight (Friday) and 10:00am to 4:00pm on Christmas Eve.
We will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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Fundamental Ornamental

Fundamental Ornamental

Ornaments Galore at The Mercantile

As you enter the shop, at the far end of the main table is a large vase with some dogwood branches sticking out of it. Hung from the various twigs and branches is a small selection of our Christmas ornaments. Often, customers beguiled by a felt mouse or a glass fish or maché deer will simply pluck the ornaments off the branches and bring them to the counter. Now, that's just fine with us but if you're in the market for the most charming ornaments on Roncy, you might find it easier to pluck one from the baskets under that same table - down around shin height. If you don't see them right away, don't worry - a nearby child will! Come to think of it - as I look at this picture - it conjures the image of the passengers in steerage on the Titanic, below decks. If you think of it like that, you're actually rescuing these adorable little creatures!

Not quite sure what that means if you're picking up one of the beautiful whale ornaments - that's more Moby Dick than Titanic - which is, literally, a whole other story. The final word on that choice, though, is that many customers keep the whale ornaments up year round in the bathroom - a decoration that lasts long after the elves and snowmen are packed up for another season.

Ornaments, Christmas Crackers, holiday themed napkins and our usual amazing treats are what we're all about heading into the holidays.

If you didn't see our Tweet or Facebook posts, our extended hours starting this weekend are:

December 17th & 18th: 10:00am – 7:00pm
December 19th – 23rd: 10:00am – 8:00pm 
December 24th           : 10:00am – 4:00pm

We will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

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DIYXmas

DIYXmas

Make your own Snowflake cookies

Last week we wrote about the gift of time - taking that moment in a busy day to just savour and reflect and chill... without Netflix. This week we come at that same idea from a slightly different angle.

If you know the Mercantile you know that we offer all kinds of delights you can enjoy the moment you step out the door (the butter tarts and peanuts sometimes don't even make it that far!) but we also carry the fixin's for a whole other kind of satisfaction: the kind that comes from making something yourself. And especially at this time of year - when there's so much pressure to impress with special gifts - sometimes the most special gift is the one you made with your own hands or one that gave you the chance to spend time with someone special making something together.

Head into the store and stick to your left closer to the back. Just before you hit the Teas section (again, see last week's post) you'll find our modest but mighty section of stuff for making your own cakes and cookies, muffins, gingerbread people, you name it. No kits - just things like cookie cutters, cupcake cups, flavours, fondant, sprinkles, icing, piping bags and other tools to help you release your inner child (or perhaps inner Cookie Monster). There's a great selection of seasonal stuff to add to our collection and these snowflake cookies are just one idea to prime your imagination.

If baking just spooks you too much we do have some brilliantly beautiful and delicious alternatives from the professionals (like Mary MacLeod's shortbreads!) but, honestly, nothing tastes quite as good as a cookie someone you love made for you special.

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Christmas to a T

Christmas to a T

We wanted to point you to a couple of new items in our already well-stocked tea section on the north-east wall. Joining the excellent selections from Pukka, Kusmi and House of Tea is a new range of exquisite blends of white, black, oolong, organic and green teas from a Vancouver company simply called Tealeaves. Go for a Lavender Earl Grey or Monsoon Chai or a sampler of flavours - all in truly beautiful packaging.

If you're a loose leaf brewer, you might also like to try the smart, fun and functional new floating tea-ball system from AdHoc. You'll find them on the shelf among the teas.

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Added Advents

Added Advents

Alt Advent

Last week we let you know that the Roger's Chocolate Advent Calendars were in. They're popular with many customers who had asked us to give them a heads up - after all, they are a time-sensitive item for the holiday season.

Still, if you're into counting down the Advent but chocolate isn't your bag, maybe a .... bag... would be more your (gosh, this is awkward) bag. Fill the simply decorated numbered paper bags with your own choice of daily treat to mark your own Christmas countdown. Simpler still, set up a string and clip a daily treat or note or decoration to count the days using these beautifully decorated and numbered clothes pegs.

A warning: not only do you need to start your Advent countdown soon but also these Advent items tend to sell out quite suddenly, so whatever your choice - chocolate or paper bags or clips - consider popping into the shop this weekend to pick them up. I suppose you could say that in some ways.... your days are numbered!

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Quality Advent Chocolate

Quality Advent Chocolate

Rogers Advent Calendars

I know there are people on our mailing list just because of this item. Customers have been asking about them since mid-October. And for good reason: there are a lot of junky-chocolate advent calendars out there. We're fortunate to get some of these every year from Roger's Chocolatier of Victoria B.C. and they always sell out, so, understandably, customers are looking for a heads-up. This is that heads-up!

There are two designs this year - by Rod Charlesworth on the left and Christine Genest on the right) and each comes in both milk and dark to accommodate different tastes and aesthetics. No matter what different stores and marketers say about the official start to Christmas, there's no countdown better than the advent calendar and no better advent calendar than Roger's!

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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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Mustard Muscle

Mustard Muscle

Recently, we've added two new lines of Canadian mustard.
Social Club Artisan Foods is best known for some very fine Ontario and Quebec cheeses but they've just branched out into condiments with a hot/smokey style, a slightly sweet triple crunch granary style and an excellent, hoppy beer mustard - all excellent mustards in the tradition of Kozlik's.

Smak Dab is a line by Winnipeg fine dining chef Carly Minish. Her flavours explore some more adventurous territory including Curry Dijon, Maple and Beer Chipotle. I mean, I can already think of a few sandwiches to fit each of those options but Carly goes one better with the help of her test kitchen and offers dozens of recipes for each variety on the Smak Dab website. Be sure to click the link, where you'll find a veritable lesson on the versatility of Canada's contribution to the world of condiments!

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Spooky Specialties

Spooky Specialties

Once you've exhausted your supply of SurfSweets Organic Gummies for the trick-or-treaters and blown the candle out in your pumpkin, it's time to treat yourself. We recommend the bat-shaped black ravioli from Queen's Pasta, which you'll find in our freezer (perhaps accompanied by a Sangre del Toro red wine) and, for dessert, one of Laura Slack's famous handpainted dulce-de-leche-filled chocolate skulls.
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Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

It turns out that cities are great places for bees to thrive: there are strict anti-pesticide laws, untapped floral diversity and largely unused rooftop spaces. Alvéole has come to Toronto to expand their work and they and their urban honeybee partners have delivered the sweet results of their time in the city in the form of this extraordinary collection of honeys produced in four distinct neighbourhoods in Toronto:  The Junction, Rosedale, Cabbagetown and Leslieville. Bees collect the nectar to support their colonies generally within about a 5km radius so each of these honeys has a distinct flavour and colour that reflects the botanical character of its part of the city.
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Slow Food

Slow Food

Terrapin Ridge Farms Jams

A couple of weeks ago, a woman from North Carolina came into the shop. She was staying with friends in the neighbourhood and was telling them about bacon jam as something commonly found in her neck of the woods and her friends figured if anyone would have it we would. And we have had it before but not for a while now. Thankfully, that changed this week with the arrival of this product line from Terrapin Ridge Farms (terrapins are turtles, hence the title of this post!).

Each one is a beautifully executed combination of flavours that pairs brilliantly with charcuterie, cheeses, even roasts. Next time you make a grilled cheese sandwich, spread a layer of the Hot Pepper Bacon Jam in there for an extraordinary taste treat!

You'll find the Terrapin Ridge line on the shelf above the other jams and jellies to your right as you enter the store.

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Slow Food

Slow Food


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