A Cook’s Tour of Bolton

Here, for the uninitiated, is Food In The Hills’ tour of Bolton’s gourmet highlights:

May 18, 2012 | | Back Issues

For many in the Headwaters region, Bolton, with its plethora of fast food outlets and big box stores, is a place to drive through on the way to somewhere else, a series of stoplights and 50 kph zones between Toronto and the verdant hills to the north.

But the food lovers among us have come to know the town (Caledon’s largest, with a population of 26,478) is home to many outstanding culinary treasures tucked amid the grocery chains, drive-throughs and dollar stores that line the main drag.

In large part, it’s Bolton’s well-established Italian community, with its respect for simplicity, fine local ingredients and expert preparation, that we have to thank for the town’s bounty. But it seems fitting too that James Bolton founded the town that bears his name by building a flour mill on the banks of the Humber River in 1794. Could he have imagined the bustling metropolis that has become the foodie destination it 
is today? Yes, it really is worth the drive to Bolton.

Here, for the uninitiated, is Food In The Hills’ tour of Bolton’s gourmet highlights:

Garden Foods: The deli section offers an abundance of antipasto, cheese and prepared foods. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Garden Foods, an independent gourmet grocery store in Bolton

First stop has to be the incomparable Garden Foods, an independent gourmet grocery store owned and operated by the Carbone family since 1972. No matter what time of day you visit, the store is busy, busy, busy, which means a high turnover of produce, meats and fish that guarantees freshness. As much as possible in our cold climate, the store carries local produce, and there is an excellent selection of organic chicken and meats from such producers as Beretta Farms. The deli section offers an abundance of antipasto, cheese and prepared foods you won’t find at Loblaws. Indeed, it is worth a visit if only to feast your eyes upon the cornucopia of colours and choice that is Garden Foods.

Garden Foods
501 Queen St South
www.gardenfoodsmarket.com

The pastries and gelato (23 flavours from amaretto to tiramisu) are exquisite at Mercato. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Mercato Fine Foods ~ Bakery | Deli | Gelato | Expresso

One block south and a little to the east is Mercato Fine Foods, specializing in rustic Italian breads. But Mercato is about way more than the bread. The pastries and gelato (23 flavours from amaretto to tiramisu) are exquisite. The selection of cheeses, pasta, olives, and specialty oils, vinegars and other bottled delights includes imported products you won’t find anywhere else. Situated in a non-descript strip mall, Mercato carries a remarkable selection of cured meats, and the espresso bar has become a popular stop for a little taste of Italy to kick-start the day. The store has great takeout and caters for both corporate and private gatherings. It’s worth dropping in someday for cappuccino and cake, or just to look around.

Mercato Fine Foods
1 Queensgate Blvd, Units 21-22
www.mercatofinefoods.ca

Casamici Trattoria ~ Traditional Italian fare

Right next door to Mercato, behind an unassuming storefront, is one of Bolton’s best-kept fine dining secrets, Casamici Trattoria. The low-key sign above the storefront window belies the warmth of the traditionally appointed interior. Casamici (translated “house of friends”) has become a gathering place for family and friends to enjoy lovingly prepared traditional Italian fare. From the crisp and tender calamari fritti to the house-made rigatoni al forno, every item on the menu is prepared to exacting standards. Casamici is unembellished and unpretentious, a neighourhood trattoria for uncompromising tastes.

Casamici Trattoria
1 Queensgate Blvd, Unit 20
www.casamici.com

Caruso Gourmet Pizza serves up man-size pies in the Neopolitan style, packed with cheese and loaded with fresh ingredients. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Caruso Gourmet Pizza

For more casual fare, Caruso Gourmet Pizza 
serves up man-size pies in the Neopolitan style, packed with cheese and loaded with fresh ingredients. A family-run business since 1980, Caruso’s out-sized pizzas come in a one-size-feeds-all format with 24 different topping combinations to choose from. Arrayed in their spectacular variety behind a glass counter, diners can order by the slice and dine in, or take out a whole pie if they wish. Whether it’s classic Calabrese, spicy Peperonata or rich Quatre Stagione, a Caruso’s pizza will feed a family of four with leftovers. And if you’re lucky enough to live in Bolton, they’ll deliver to your door. There’s plenty of parking at their new location on Queen Street next to the Albion Community Centre.

Caruso’s Gourmet Pizza
212 Queen St South
www.carusogourmetpizza.com

The Angry Tomato offers a Cajun/Italian menu featuring such culinary eccentricities as Blackened Chicken Penne and El Diablo pizza.Photo by Pete Paterson.

The Angry Tomato offering a Cajun/Italian inspired menu

Across the street from Walmart is Bolton’s answer to fusion food with flair. 
The Angry Tomato (top) offers a Cajun/Italian menu featuring such culinary eccentricities as Blackened Chicken Penne and El Diablo pizza. The Cajun fries are a local favourite and spicy is the order of the day, especially the jalapeño poppers, blackened salmon and spicy marinara mussels – pub fare with pizzaz. Customers can also buy the house-made Cajun spice mix to try at home.

The Angry Tomato
12612 Hwy 50 South
www.theangrytomato.com

Naked Café Specializes in Fresh and Organic

For health-conscious gourmands, Naked Café specializes in fresh organic homemade sandwiches, snacks and smoothies. Fans rave about the turkey sandwich, an extravaganza of real turkey chunks, sunflower sprouts, cucumber, onion, peppers, tomato, mustard and veggie mayo on freshly baked multigrain bread. Throw in an almond latte and a pineapple-coconut muffin and you’ve got a lunch that would give Superman pause. All for under $10.

Naked Café
256 Queen St South, Unit 2

Baffo’s Pizza and Pasta

If it’s pizza you’re after, don’t miss Baffo’s Pizza and Pasta in its new location on Queen Street just south of the bridge. A Bolton institution for over 40 years, the resto specializes in crispy crust pies and calzones with a variety of innovative toppings from the popular Baffo Special (pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, onions, green onions and double cheese) to the exotic lobster and red peppers. Order from the menu or build your own, and don’t forget Baffo’s Pizza Party, a whopper with three toppings for $45, and that includes salad and platter of wings.

Baffo’s Pizza and Pasta
31 Queen St North
www.baffos.com

About the Author More by Cecily Ross

Cecily Ross is an author and freelance writer who lives in Creemore.

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