Food + Drink Spring 2023
From pop-art macarons to melt-in-your-mouth maamouls, these adorable bites will sweeten your day.
Spotlight: Spring Sweets
Jamie Raffles started Jane and Joy Confections in Bolton during her maternity leave – realizing her childhood ambition of being a pastry chef in the process. To challenge herself, she started with oft-fiddly macarons in bright pinks, mint greens and purples. The Crayola colours were inspired by Jamie’s two daughters, whose middle names make up the business moniker. Jamie also whips up madeleines, adorable minicakes (one decorated like a watermelon) and South American alfajores (soft shortbread cookies with a creamy dulce de leche filling). Perfect for spring entertaining.
April 22 marks Eid al-Fitr, (aka the Festival of Sweets). This three-day festival occurs at the end of Ramadan, a month of dawn-to-sunset fasting for Muslims. “Eid is a festival of charity and self-introspection,” says Shah Mubeen Irfani, on behalf of the Dufferin Muslim Centre in Shelburne. “Eid al-Fitr has a deep spiritual significance for all.”
Islam Salamah, who works with her family at Orangeville’s Rasmi’s Falafel food truck, often makes a date maamoul cookie for Eid, traditionally eaten in Syria and Lebanon. Other common dishes prepared across the world on Eid day include baklava, nougat, sheer khurma (a sweet vermicelli dessert) and kanafeh (phyllo dough with white shredded cheese).
Growing up in an Italian family, Amanda Gervasi is well versed in the importance of food and its power to bring people together. Now she and her husband, Mike Lalonde, are sharing this love of food via their Palgrave business, Amore Cheesecake Jars, which they started six months ago.
“We create exceptional cheesecakes made with simple, high-quality ingredients – no fillers,” says Amanda of the decadent single-serving jars. Options range from chocolate bar blends to tart berry varieties – try a few with a mixed six pack. Dave’s Butcher Shop and Déjà vu Diner in Orangeville stock the sweet jars, or contact Amanda for local delivery and pickup.
I Dream Local
What is chef Denis Jaricot of The Vista Restaurant in Caledon’s Mount Alverno Resort dreaming of this season? Denis says with the negative effects of climate change, food price increases and supply chain woes, it is reassuring to live in Caledon where spring produce flourishes.
“We’re surrounded by farmers who care so much about food,” he says. “Owl Dream Farm [in Orangeville] supplies us weekly with microgreens that we use to enhance several dishes. I also love using local mushrooms wherever possible, including in French mushroom and onion soup, foraged mushroom ragoût vol-au-vent, mushroom and potato pie, mushroom pasta and our portabella mushroom ciabatta sandwich.”
Warm Up With ChillyPaste
Caledon’s Amanda Luthra knows the struggles of preparing tasty, healthy food while working full-time and raising children. Although in the past she, like so many of us, relied on takeout and store-bought sauces, that changed in 2019 when Amanda leaned into her family’s brain trust and developed easy-to-use kits which take the guesswork out of several South Asian dishes. She launched the ChillyPaste website in August 2022 to sell directly to customers.
Amanda’s two-step meal kits feature a base sauce, paste or marinade plus finishing spices. The tandoori marinade elevates any protein, finished with a tangy masala. Craving butter chicken? Makhan masala is your go-to. Bhuna masala features onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes for a deep curry flavour. “I love building balanced savoury tastes in dishes,” Amanda says. She also offers vegan options. Pickup is available in Caledon.
Openings: What’s new in the neighbourhood
Brothers Vincenzo and Antonio Molinaro opened the doors of their new Bolton spot, the Fratelli Molinaro Ristorante, in mid-September 2022. The drool-worthy menu ranges from authentic pasta and gnocchi to wood-burning oven pizzas with toppings galore. The fried calamari are tempting as an opener, but do save room for desserts such as pistachio cheesecake and tiramisu.
Shelburne’s D-licious Shawrama opened in mid-January to the delight of local students and adults alike. The chicken shawarma is a favourite, and owner Chintankumar Rana recommends the house special shawarma platter for those who can’t decide. It features a variety of halal meats and sides. Students have made the $6.99 lunch deal, with meat, rice or fries, salad and a drink an early hit. Don’t miss their flaky classic baklava for dessert.
Save The Date(s)
The Horning’s Mills Community Hall Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 9 is part of a slate of highly anticipated happenings at the much-loved, archetypal town hall and community hub. As one of the longest-running events – this is its 27th annual – this Easter Brunch features pancakes, sausages and fruit, followed by an outdoor Easter egg hunt for your little bunnies.
The final two instalments of the 2023 Winter Harvest Dinner Series, organized by the nonprofit Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance, takes place in Mono: March 23 at Mono Cliffs Inn and April 21 at Adamo Estate Winery. Pull up a chair to support HFFA’s inspiring vision of a productive and sustainable local food system, and sup on courses prepped with locally sourced ingredients. At Mono Cliffs, the menu includes spanakopita and either brisket tacos or pork ragu. At Adamo, menu details are to come, but possible dishes include squash soup, stuffed chicken supreme and mascarpone potato mash. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.