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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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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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A Mighty Fine Brine Indeed

A Mighty Fine Brine Indeed

Pickling using vinegar is a technology we developed as a kind of shortcut to preserving foods by facto-fermentation and they can also be delicious. But nothing beats a real fermented product. Many cultures developed this technique and familiar products include favourites like kosher dills, sauerkraut and kimchi. We already carry an excellent organic kimchi made by Kyopo Kitchen here in Toronto  and we're now very pleased to welcome to the Mercantile shelves another local producer (founded by a transplanted New Yorker) called Mighty Fine Brine with a product line that includes two styles of pickles and two styles of sauerkraut. You'll find all of these excellent, healthful products in the fridge at the back of the shop.
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A Treat You Should Have at Least Twice a Day

A Treat You Should Have at Least Twice a Day

What if there was a toothpaste that actually paid attention to flavour? That made you actually look forward to brushing your teeth just for the sensation of it? That toothpaste, from Florence, Italy, is called Marvis and it is available in store as of today! We have the full line of seven different flavours in standard 75ml and 25ml travel-size tubes and we also have the Marvis toothbrush if you're a completist!
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The King of Salt Returns

The King of Salt Returns

In the month or so leading up to the holidays, we experienced - along with the rest of the world - a shortage of Maldon salt and sold out in early December. Apparently, there was an unspecified problem somewhere in the production chain and Maldon advised that they would be back on line by the end of January. True to their word, the salt from Maldon is once again flowing (in a manner of speaking - more on that later) and is back on our shelves. (We also have a fine selection of wood and ceramic salt cellars!)

Really, you should have three main kinds of salt on hand in your pantry – an everyday utility salt, a finishing salt and a fine salt. Then there are some luxury salts you can splurge on if you like. Let's go through them one by one...

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Treat Yourself AND Treat Yourself Right

Treat Yourself AND Treat Yourself Right

At The Mercantile, we believe in simpler resolutions that are easier to keep - such as "Treat yourself better". And the fact is, with just about anything in the store, you'll be treating yourself better, even if you're just treating yourself. But if better health is your promise to yourself, you can't get healthier than these perfect-for-breakfast-great-any-time-of-day drinks from our long time neighbourhood friends at Owl & Goose and Heritage Breed Eggs from Woolwich County producer Murray Farms. Apart from supporting your resolution, you're supporting local producers, animals and the environment.
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The Definition of Community

The Definition of Community

We moved into the Roncy neighbourhood from College St. - gosh, is it already coming up on eight years ago? Time flies! That move wasn't just a change in location; it was a change in character, a change in mindset and a change in the nature of the business - even though many of our favourite items moved with us. If we had to choose one word to describe that change it would be community. While we had regular customers on College St. in the midst of a very dynamic and rapidly evolving scene, Roncesvalles Village has allowed us to find a real sense of place and establish strong relationships with so many of you....

...we really feel we've earned a place in your hearts and we just wanted to say the feeling is mutual.

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The Bitter Taste of the Holidays? Don't say that like it's a bad thing!

The Bitter Taste of the Holidays? Don't say that like it's a bad thing!

Whether you're looking to stock your bar for the holidays in a way that prepares you for every taste and any eventuality or you're looking for the perfect gift for the budding mixologist in your life, may we recommend something from our own well-stocked section of cocktail bitters.

Originally developed as medicines, tonics and digestifs, bitters have found their rightful place behind the bar and come in both alcohol-based and glycerin-based formulas representing a wide variety of flavours to add that certain something to cocktails and even some other kinds of recipes. For example, you can't really claim to have made a proper Manhattan or Toronto cocktail without the inclusion of bitters. Or try this: add a few drops of Scrappy's Cardamom Bitters to a glass of cava or prosecco to add a note of creaminess to the experience!

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Ghee Whiz

Ghee Whiz

Lee's Ghee

We've just broadened our offering of flavours from Lee's Ghee in the store and it seemed like a good opportunity to answer some questions about ghee in general and offer some options for how to make use of it at home.

So, first, what is ghee, exactly? Well, when you melt butter and let it boil for a bit, the water in it evaporates and the milk solids settle to the bottom. Strain those away and the butter fat that is left will be solid at room temperature, and since the moisture content is very low and there are no more milk solids left in it, it can be kept for a long time without refrigeration. Lee suggests a shelf life of up to a year with her products.

Of course, what makes her ghee a bit out of the ordinary is a) the organic, grass-fed butter she starts with and b) the infusions and aging she applies to the basic product.

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