The incredible edible gift guide

The Incredible Edible Gift Guide

Twenty-six of our favourite locally made treats

By Alex Baldinger and Rebecca Fleming| Photography by Vicky Lam
| November 28, 2019
A Toronto-y gingerbread house

1 If you’re willing to throw down some coin for an epic centrepiece, the bonkers-talented bakers at Bobbette and Belle will make a gingerbread house that’s entirely edible but looks too good to eat. $750. 1121 Queen St. E., 3347 Yonge St.; 416-466-8800, bobbetteandbelle.com

The incredible edible gift guide

Orange-cranberry bitters

2 Bartender Jeff Carroll’s hobby of tinkering with tinctures led to his line of Carroll and Co. bitters, which are now used at the city’s top spots, including all the Drakes and Piano Piano. This recipe—made with orange oil essence, cranberry and Christmassy spices—adds a little extra to classic cocktails like Manhattans and negronis. It’s a great addition to any budding mixologist’s bar cart. $30. The Organic Boutique, 970 Queen St. W., 647-352-2585, organicboutique-toronto.com

The incredible edible gift guide

A case of cold brew

3 Markham’s Hatch Roastery has partnered with U.K.-based Minor Figures to sell cases of their cute-as-a-button cans of coffee. This particular blend combines two of the trendiest potables du jour: creamy nitro cold brew and oat milk—the new thing in non-dairy alternatives—with a little cocoa added for that mocha hit. $48 for 12 cans. 905-474-3555, hatchcrafted.com

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House-made pepperoncini

4 Mattachioni wears a lot of hats: it’s a café, a sandwich counter, a pizza parlour. It’s also a bit of a bodega with a great selection of Italian goods for sale, like these jars of kicky house-made pepperoncini. The fiery spread improves everything it touches (except maybe your eyes). Give a jar to someone who needs a little spice in their life. $8.99 and up. 1617 Dupont St., 416-519-1010, mattachioni.com

The incredible edible gift guide

A box of brigadeiros

5 Brigadeiros, Brazilian confections made using sweetened condensed milk, cocoa and butter, are like the love children of fudge and truffles. These gorgeous orbs—in flavours like crème brûlée and salted caramel—are bedazzled with chocolate pearls, sprinkles, crushed nuts and other sweet finishes. $23 for nine. Chocollata Gourmet, 986A Kingston Rd., 416-693-2448; Square One, 100 City Centre Dr., Mississauga, 905-232-2090, chocollata.com

The incredible edible gift guide

 


Fresh pasta

6 Pasta might seem like an unusual gift choice, but not when it’s the fresh stuff from Famiglia Baldassarre, Leandro Baldassarre’s no-reservations spot where there’s always a lineup to get one of the 10 seats. Order oodles of his noodles—pappardelle, paccheri, ricotta-stuffed mezzaluna—online, or find them at the Cheese Boutique on Fridays and Saturdays. Various prices. 122 Geary Ave., 647-293-5395; Cheese Boutique, 45 Ripley Ave., 416-762-6292, famigliabaldassarre.com

The incredible edible gift guide

 

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Funky-flavoured chocolates

7 These glossy, small-batch bonbons from Onyx wouldn’t be out of place in a jewellery box. Not for the plain-chocolate lover on your list, they come in far-out flavours like soy sauce kalamansi, tom yum caramel, Ovaltine and durian—the fruit so odorous it’s banned from Singapore’s public transit system. $24.75 for nine. 617 Gerrard St. E., 647-948-9107, onyxchocolates.com

The incredible edible gift guide

An assortment of unconventional sufganiyot

8 Zaidy is the Yiddish word for grandfather, but it’s fair to say the sufganiyot at My Zaidy’s Bakery aren’t your grandpa’s jelly-filled doughnuts. The Thornhill shop’s flavour assortment is intense—they stud and stuff their deep-fried dough rounds with all kinds of confections. We’re partial to the s’mores, Oreo and tiramisu varieties, though purists can still find classic rounds filled with jellies, creams and custards. $2 and up. 7241 Bathurst St., #4, Thornhill, 905-763-0373, facebook.com/myzaidysbakery

The incredible edible gift guide

Pâté de campagne

9 This kaleidoscopic terrine from Parkdale’s Chantecler Boucherie is a real looker. Head butcher Emily Tucker combines pork and chicken liver with all sorts of good stuff, including sour cherries and pistachios, then wraps it in house-cured bacon. Note: this gourmand gift would be best accompanied by a jar of quality dijon and a fresh baguette. $52.60 per kg. 1318 Queen St. W., 416-628-3586, @chanteclerto

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A candy-filled cake

10 For an extra-exciting end to your holiday feast, take out any family-related frustration on these interactive desserts. Belgian chocolate shells are filled with mini chocolate bars and gummy candies that can only be accessed with a little help from a hammer. They’re basically edible pinatas, minus that whole blindfold business. $69 and up. Celebreak, 647-383-7486, @celebreak_TO

The incredible edible gift guide

 


Scandi sugar cookies

11 The Sweetest Thing, a one-and-a-half-year-old bakery in Oakville’s trendy Kerr Village, has quickly become a go-to spot for custom wedding and birthday cakes, but Erin Nocent’s less-extravagant treats are just as sweet. Take these Scandi-inspired sugar cookies. They’re pretty enough to decorate a tree, but even better paired with a mug of hot cocoa. Starting at $48 for a platter. 282 Kerr St., Oakville, 905-582-0862, thesweetestthing.com

The incredible edible gift guide

 


A bottle of pink gin

12 The newest member of Willibald Distillery’s gin-soaked family is pretty in pink. Aged in red-wine casks from Niagara and finished with wildflower honey from the distillery’s farm, the rosy hooch goes down smoothly, with flavours of juniper, candied lemon and honeysuckle. It’s good enough sipped on its own when slightly chilled, especially when paired with a blazing fire. $39.95. Available at the LCBO, lcbo.com

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A bevy of butter tarts

13 Barrie-based butter tart bakery the Sweet Oven now has a location in the Beaches. The scratch-made tarts are baked on-site and come in 20 rotating flavours, including plain (for the purists), chocolate-chip, coconut, chai, Skor, peanut butter and—the store’s signature offering—raspberry, which is only available on Saturdays. $18 for six. 1911 Queen St. E., 416-519-9559, thesweetoven.com

The incredible edible gift guide

A box of look choup

14 Impress guests and hosts alike with a tray of these intricate and auspicious Thai delicacies. The mini fruit-shaped treats are made of mung bean paste (it tastes better than it sounds) and coconut cream. They’re painted, then dipped in agar—a plant-based thickener—for a glossy sheen that makes them look like grown-up Runts. $35 for 32 pieces (must be pre-ordered). Patchmon’s Thai Desserts, 258 Dupont St., 647-882-5250, thaidesserts.ca

The incredible edible gift guide

A cannelé ensemble

15 Coffee bar Little Pebbles specializes in Japanese desserts like mochi, but they also make cannelé. Here, the French pastries feature Japanese ingredients, in flavours including chocolate, earl grey and vanilla-rhum. The volcanic treats have custardy innards with crackly outer shells made shiny with Ontario beeswax. $25 for six. 160 Baldwin St., #8, 416-792-0404, little-pebbles.com

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A six-pack of shorty cans

16 Warm the cockles of any beer-drinker’s heart with a six-pack of these handsome shorty cans from Leslieville’s newest brewery. Avling Kitchen and Brewery’s head brewer Brandon Judd makes approachable, balanced beers—not the super-boozy, hella-hazy hop bombs that have been dominating the craft beer scene for so long—and uses at least 20 per cent Ontario grain in every brew. $3/can. 1042 Queen St. E., 416-469-1010, avling.ca

The incredible edible gift guide

A sourdough subscription

17 A fresh loaf of bread is one of gastronomy’s great joys. But sourdough has a pretty cool superpower: it stays fresh for days—long enough for Dear Grain in Dundas to ship their breads to any address in the province. Pick two slow-fermented loaves and a delivery frequency, then break out the butter when the bread lands on your doorstep the day after it was baked. $16/delivery. Deargrain.com

The incredible edible gift guide

A coffee tasting kit

18 Satisfy someone’s caffeine craving with a sampler pack from new Leslieville roastery Java. The #MYJAVA tasting kit comes with a choice of four seasonally changing, fair-trade (and in some cases, organic) beans—like the Colombian Cosmic Goose—packaged in adorably arted 100-gram bags. $30. Javaroasters.ca.

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A bottle of mead blanc

19 Craft mead is having a moment right now. The fermented honey beverage may not have its own section at the LCBO (yet) but more and more of it is popping up on store shelves. This mead-wine mash-up from Rosewood Estates Winery—which is run by a third-generation beekeeper—blends honey with gewürztraminer grapes for an off-dry sip, full of lychee and wildflower flavour. $25. 4352 Mountainview Rd., Beamsville, 905-563-4383, rosewoodwine.com

The incredible edible gift guide

A brunch bundle

20 Consider breakfast in bed with this DIY brunch bundle from Kristapsons, Toronto’s top sellers of smoked salmon. Put together a tasty little care package of 250 grams of smoked salmon, a container of fresh cream cheese from Monforte Dairy and four Gryfe’s bagels on which to pile it all. All that’s left to do is make some mimosas. $24. 1095 Queen St. E., 416-466-5152, kristapsons.com

The incredible edible gift guide

 


A caviar gift set

21 An excellent stocking stuffer for fish-egg fanatics, this fancy caviar service for two from the Caviar Centre comes with a one-ounce tin of Russian osetra, eight French cocktail blinis and two mother-of-pearl spoons—because caviar can’t be eaten with just any old spoon. $180. 220 Duncan Mill Rd., suite A1, 416-441-9788, caviarcentre.com

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A family-sized pack of provisions

22 A bottle of wine or box of chocolates makes a good-enough hostess gift in exchange for a dinner—not so for an extended stay. The family pack of beef, pork and poultry products from Etobicoke-based West Side Beef Co. is the perfect “I’m coming in from out of town with my partner and two kids and we’re gonna need a place to crash for a few nights and we go through a lot of food” contribution gift. $160. Westsidebeef.com

The incredible edible gift guide

Organic cider

23 Instead of going the traditional bubbly route, bring out a bottle of this organic Niagara cider. Southbrook’s wild-fermented golden elixir is bone dry and only mildly effervescent, so it drinks like a brut champagne, and it’s got a bit of barnyard funk to it (that’s a good thing!). $13.75. 581 Niagara Stone Rd., RR4, Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-641-2548, southbrook.com

The incredible edible gift guide

 


A box of baklava

24 Brothers Rasoul and Ismail Alsalha make all kinds of sweet and savoury Middle Eastern goods at Crown Pastries, but this baklava box is the best way to try a bit of everything. It comes packed with things like esh al ashfour (crunchy vermicelli bird’s nests filled with syrup-soaked pistachios) and swar (phyllo bracelets piped full of Nutella). $34 and up. 2086 Lawrence Ave. E., Scarborough, 647-351-2015; 5083 Dixie Rd., D3, Mississauga, 905-602-2018, crownpastriesbaklava.com<

The incredible edible gift guide

 

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A brick of Israeli halvah

25 Tahini isn’t just for hummus. It’s also the key ingredient in Israeli halvah, which fills a display case at Parallel Brothers like colourful candied bricks. It’s made in-house and sold by weight in flavours such as chocolate-chili and almond-cardamom, and it’s an addictive savoury-sweet snack that’s perfect for nibbling on throughout the holiday festivities. $2.40/100g. 217 Geary Ave., 416-516-7765, parallelbrothers.com

The incredible edible gift guide

 


A made-in-Toronto gift box

26 For indecisive foodie gifters, Foodie Pages’ Six-specific bundle gets rid of the guesswork by curating a selection of big-name, made-here gourmet goodies. Makers like Forno Cultura, SOMA Chocolatemaker and Kozlik’s are all included in the edible mix, which features a total of eight artisan products. It’s like taking a trip to a well-stocked gourmet store without having to brave the cold or hunt for parking. $85. foodiepages.ca.

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