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8 Toronto Artisans You Need to Know

By Suresh Doss
April 8, 2014

We scoured the city's farmer's markets and underground food events to find artisans that are creating unique products from hot sauces to Moroccan dumplings. Seek these vendors out; you'll wanna try what they're cooking.

  • Ice Pops from Augie's Gourmet

    Janet Dimond initially took to a yard sale on Roncesvales to showcase her love for fresh juice pops. She produced a small batch of ice pops and sold them to passersby. They were an instant hit and soon enough she started to show up at farmer's markets.

    Why We Love Them: Janet has a rotating menu of ice pops using fresh seasonal juices. She also has a knack for combining ingredients for maximum flavor explosion. Think watermelon, basil and mint pops or grapefruit, lime and ginger pops.

    Where to Buy: You can find Augie's Ice Pops at the Evergreen Brick Works Saturday Market this year.

    (photo from http://www.mytorontoscoop.com/)

  • Hot Sauce from Supi Cucu

    It's the hot sauce that has taken Toronto by storm. Panamanian chef and supper club host Rossy Earle launched Supi Cucu to bring her popular housemade hot sauces to the masses. What started off as a pet project, where Earle would make small quantities of hot sauces for friends and chefs, quickly exploded due to demand. She now produces two different sauces, Diablo's Fuego and Diabla's kiss. The sauces don't last long on shelves, so if you see them, grab two.

    Why We Love Them: It's not just about the heat. Earle's chunky sauces are packed with chunky bits of flavour that offset the heat from peppers. The sauces are also incredibly versatile, and the jars quickly become your go-to when you need seasoning or a dip.

    Where to Buy: You can find stashes of Earle's sauces in small quantities at Sanagan's meat locker and Pimenton.

    (photo from http://www.foodpr0n.com/)

  • My Little Dumplings

    Somalia-born chef Bashir Munye spent many years in kitchens around the world before deciding to launch My Little Dumplings. His philosophy is to embrace the various cultures he's worked in by making delicious dumplings. “For me, food is an interpretation of places I’ve been or places I long to see. I identify with every culture, and through my dumplings, every culture can identify with me,” Bashir says.

    Why We Love Them: Bashir packs a variety of culinary influences into these tiny pockets, creating some of the best dumplings we've had in the city. His latest include edamame dumplings served with curry leaves, and North African tagine dumplings.

    Where to Buy: You can find My Little Dumplings at select farmer's markets throughout Toronto, Sorauren Farmers’ Market and Dufferin Grove.

  • Evelyn's Crackers

    No cheese board is complete without a stack of crackers from Evelyn's. Long-time cook and baker Dawn Woodward makes five types of biscuits from heritage Ontario grains. Unlike your average flat-tasting grocery equivalent, Woodward uses a variety of ingredients, from nigella seeds to aged cheddar and honey, to flavor her products.

    Why We Love Them: Forget the cheese, these crackers steal the show. We love the cheddar crispy variety with nigella seeds and the currant and rye. Not only do the crackers come in a variety of flavours, they're made from grain varieties grown and milled by Ontario farmers committed to long-term agricultural diversity.

    Where to Buy: You can regularly see Woodward at the Brick Works Farmers' Market where you can sample and purchase her crackers.

  • Meat pies from Kanga

    You can thank two Toronto bakers, Erynn Mayes and Megan Chan, for introducing Toronto foodies to Australian meat pies. Kanga pies launched at the Toronto Underground Market and quickly won over hearts for stuffing currylike mixes of meat and filling into a flaky pastry crust. These pies are hard to come by and they run out quickly; popular current varieties include the butter chicken pie and the steak-and-bacon pie.

    Why We Love Them: Picture buttery flaky crust that crumbles under your fork and gives way to chunky meat and gravy; what more can you ask for? Kanga pies are also great on-the-go snacks.

    Where to Buy: Kanga pies are available in limited quantities at Crema Coffee, Sanagan's and Sliced Gourmet.
     

  • Canned goods from Bumpercrop

    Bumpercrop is an artisanal canning collective in Toronto that works with Ontario farmers to produce a some of the best pickled fruits and vegetables.

    Why We Love Them: Don't even think about store-bought pickled vegetables; there's no comparison. Bumpercrop jars are known for freshness, uniqueness and working with quality local ingredients. They also make great additions to gift baskets.

    Where to Buy: You can find Bumpercrop products at Cheese Boutique, the Healthy Butcher and McEwan's.

  • Humble Bread

    After spending 18 years as a chef, Henry Willis, along with his partner Natalie Normand, decided to open a bakery at a farm in Prince Edward County. Willis' goal is to produce high-quality naturally leavened breads, which allow for greater nutrition and better digestibility. He regularly treks to Toronto farmer's markets to sell a variety of his freshly baked loaves.

    Why We Love Them: Willis' line of bread is popular among those who are worried about digestive issues due to the lack of fast-rising yeasts used - and they're tasty to boot. Standouts include the kalamata olive and cider raising grain loaves.

    Where to Buy: You can load up on humble bread loaves at the Evergreen Brick Works market, and Wellington Farmers Market.

    (photo from Humble Bread website)

  • Saucy Pierogi

    Take a group of foodies that love to give the traditional European dumpling their own modern twist with global flavours, and you have Saucy Pierogi. The pop-up first made its debut at the Toronto Underground Market last year and has since been popping up at food events and other markets, showcasing a marriage of East and West stuffed into tiny little pockets of dough.

    Why We Love Them: This isn't like your mama's dumplings; what's really exciting about Saucy Pierogi is the wacky flavour combinations like jerk chicken dumplings served with apple-cabbage slaw, or the kimchi, sauerkraut and mushroom dumplings.
    Where to Buy: You can find the Saucy Pierogi team at the Junction Farmers Market, where frozen pierogi are available.

    (photo from Saucy Pierogi website)

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