Toronto - HOME & DECOR
January 4th, 2012
Between those Christmas puddings, ports and hefty wedges of Stilton, we could all use a post-crimbo detox. I refuse to live on cabbage soup, but I am prepared to trade lattes for tea with medicinal oomph.
With delicious ingredients including cinnamon, ginger and licorice, cardamom, clove and black pepper, this tea ($30) from Teaopia warms the cockles, cleanses and calms. At www.teaopia.ca —Athena Tsavliris
January 3rd, 2012
Thanks to a wildly eccentric Parisian neighbour, I got to spend many a childhood Christmas sporting shimmery paper hats while gorging on Galette des Rois under the table of a canary yellow kitchen.
An honorary Gaul, I still look forward to epiphany. Every year my family hides a fève in the cake and we wait to see who will claim the royal title.
Herewith, the best galettes in town:
Petite Thuet, ($18), various locations, www.petitethuet.com
Rahier Patisserie, (from $17.30), 1586 Bayview Ave., Toronto, 416-482-0917, www.rahierpatisserie.com
Jules Café Patisserie, (from $19), 617 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416-481-1666, Toronto, www.julescafe.ca
Patachou, ($25), 1120 Yonge St., Toronto, 416-927-1105
Patisserie Sebastien, (from $20), 3306 Yonge St., Toronto, 416-544-0333.
December 23rd, 2011
If Maria von Trapp can make clothes out of curtains, we can certainly think up imaginative ways to wrap a gift. Herewith, a few of our crafty favourites.
Fabric is always a lovely alternative to paper. Those old Toile de Jouy cushion covers would work beautifully, or how about cutting out the wine stain from an out-of-use table cloth and using that? If the collars and cuffs are looking tatty on your chap’s shirts, you could up-cycle them too.
If you like the idea of the wrapping being a gift in itself, why not opt for a Marimekko tea towel or chic vintage silk scarf?
Read All About It
Newspaper is a good one too. I like Corriere dello Sport and the Financial Times because they’re pink!
Your kitchen drawers are likely filled with possibilities. Parchment paper stenciled with glittery stars is so pretty and festive.
Gift tags are so easy to make, and remember, most things look better with a bow on top. —Athena Tsavliris
December 21st, 2011
Our guest wine columnist, Natalie Maclean, shares her top wine picks to make your holidays festive:
2009 Hillebrand Winery Sauvignon Blanc Trius, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario: Terrific mouth-watering flavours of ripe green melon and grapefruit. Ultra-refreshing and perfect for salads, seafood and sparkling conversation on New Year’s. Price: $14.05 Score: 87/100.
2009 Cono Sur Viognier, Chile: Everything’s coming up daisies with the Cono Sur Viognier, a lovely wine with notes of field flowers, peach and dried apricot. It’s perfect for holiday parties, especially those involving cheese. Price: $9.95 Score: 87/100.
2009 Louis Bernard Syrah Blend, Cotes Du Rhone, France: A solid performer, year after year. This robust red offers tasty notes of dark red fruit, cedar and some smoke. Perfect for hearty meat meals. Price: $12.15 Score: 87/100.
2006 Rocca Delle Macìe Chianti Riserva, Tuscany, Italy: A lovely, classic chianti that celebrates all that’s best about Tuscan living and the joys of pasta and fresh tomato sauce. Dark berries and smoke with mouth-watering acidity and full-bodied weight. Great gift wine. Price: $15.95 Score: 91/100.
2008 Lenz Moser Prestige Trockenbeerenauslese, Austria: Sublime! Gorgeous dessert wine that’s complex and endless. Apricot and peach with that distinctive note that botrytis adds. This one will make sugarplums dance in your head; its perfect with Christmas fruitcake. $19.95 Score: 96/100. —Natalie MacLean
For more on these wines as well as holiday wine picks and pairings, visit www.nataliemaclean.com
December 16th, 2011
With Cliff Richard on the radio and an eggnog chilling, we’ve set the stage for our annual holiday biscuit-baking marathon.
Thanks to Kevin Lynch over at Closet Cooking we’ve added plenty of delicious cookie and cake recipes to our repertoire. There’s a boozy fruitcake, gooey maple butter tarts and some classic, fail-proof shortbread.
The Toronto-based blog (his kitchen is the size of a closet) is filled with imaginative recipes and photos so tasty looking you'll want to dive into your screen.
Now, throw me a pinny and just call me, Delia. —Athena Tsavliris
December 2nd, 2011
Seafood is packed with skin-worthy omegas but thoughts of overfishing can cause unfortunate worry lines.
Appease guilt with weekly visits to Hooked, the new ocean-friendly fishmonger. Here, sustainable catch like ocean-friendly purse seined sardines, hand-netted Baja shrimp and line-caught mackerel is sourced directly from fishermen. Chef-run, the cheery staff offer great cooking tips and wine-pairing advice, while the in-house kitchen hosts classes (from $50) on everything from poaching and shucking to braising and stewing. The trout roe caviar is divine and we’re completely addicted to the fish cakes (slather in wasabi mayo and serve with a crisp glass of Riesling).
Finally our conscience is as clear as our skin. —Marianne Wisenthal
Hooked, 888 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-828-1861, www.hookedinc.ca
November 30th, 2011
If you haven’t got your calendar yet, we’ve found one that’ll have you wishing 2012 lasts forever.
Screenprinted on to a linen/cotton blend, this elegant fabric calendar ($20) from independent design shop Bookhou is finished with silver grommets in the corners so you can hang it on the wall.
Wall art with a function, it sure beats 12 kittens in tutus. —Athena Tsavliris
Bookhou, 798 Dundas St. W., Toronto, 416-203-2549, www.bookhou.com
November 22nd, 2011
When cocktail hour calls for something special, we like to add a splash of syrup to our Gin Fizz.
Husband-and-wife team Emily Butters and Forrest Butler handcraft the most splendid syrups using hard-to-find spices and certified-organic, fair-trade ingredients. The Royal Rose repertoire includes cardamom clove, autumn plum, tamarind and lavender lemon. Have a look at some sample recipes here.
The syrups are made with cocktails in mind, but are equally scrumptious in teas or drizzled on berries and ice cream. —Athena Tsavliris
November 17th, 2011
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, goes the old saying. At Machineage Kitchen, cooks can score unique vintage appliances, tools and accessories in fine working order.
Add some cool to your counter with a Gaggia espresso maker ($150) or this set of Peter Max metal kitchen canisters (four-piece set, $194) Bakers will swoon over the six-piece muffin set ($60). Find rolling pins, cake pans and retro pinnies too.
Time to dust off Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. —Athena Tsavliris
Machine Age, 1000 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-461-3588, www.machineagemodern.com
November 1st, 2011
Days are getting shorter and the weather is grim. Best take cover under a warm and generous blanket.
MacAusland's 100 per cent virgin wool blankets (Queen, $87) are a very good reason to stay in bed. Untreated, un-dyed and available in simple patterns, each cozy blanket is handcrafted on Prince Edward Island at the old MacAusland family mill.
It’s the perfect accoutrement to a weekend-long pajama party à deux. —Athena Tsavliris