Tag Archives: gifts

Scrambling for Valentine’s gifts Toronto? Relax, have some chocolate…cheese..and a saucy cookbook or two.

XocoCava will have you swooning before you even take a bite.

Swoon before you even take a bite.  Xococava’s milk chocolate with espresso bean, candied lemon and fleur de sel.

Remember that old Blondie song “Rapture”?  Well, I think it was written about the above hand-made chocolates from Xoxocava.  (Also, my friend Rina and I won a lip-sync contest in high school singing that song–my hair was big and that was pre-perm.)

Usually when I buy some good chocolate to keep squirreled away in the cupboard I buy a bar of something delicious like the salted dark chocolate from Stubbe (when I can get a west-end friend to pick it up).  Somehow buying individual pieces like this for myself never occurred to me until I was knocking these back……like the lady I am.

And if that wasn't enough to make you drool...

Drool! Dark chocolate with sour cherries, pistachio and candied rose petal. (xococava)

Beautiful, individual chocolates have been fortuitously dropping into my lap lately.  A friend of mine gave us a box of nine caramel-themed chocolates from Soma (Distillery District) which contained morsels such as Fleur de Sel, Caramel Kiss and Pecan Butter Crunch.

Honestly, you cannot ever eat a Smartie again after that kind of delicious.  Now that Xococava and Soma have spoiled me and made me a xoco-snob  I may head to the Belgian Chocolate Shop on Queen East to check out chocolate making in my hood.  (anyone been there?)

chocolate xoxocava bag

The above gorgeous chocolates come delivered in this cute, witty package ($14.75/bag and there are over a dozen pieces)

I think an easy but spectacular finale to a romantic dinner (for those non-bakers) would be a plate of the above chocolates served with a beautiful, creamy cheese.

Neufchatel with red pepper jelly

Neufchatel with red pepper jelly

And if you want to be thematic with your Valentine cheeseboard you’ll grab this heart-shaped Neufchatel from France’s Normandy region.  It’s a Camembert style cheese that’s creamy, decadent and perfect for sharing.

La Sauvagine, QC

La Sauvagine, QC

And there’s the triple cream, La Sauvagine.  (If it rhymes it’s poetry right?)  I just wrote about this guy for The Wedge so here’s the cheat sheet.

Sauvagine and friends...

Sauvagine and friends…

Or you can get a few petit fours to accompany your cheese fetish.

cheese markers knives

If you would like to bring a gift to your cheese lover, I adore my stainless steel cheese markers (you stick them into your cheese to identify them–sometimes I just write “back off” on my favourites).   This set from Lee Valley comes with a set of 6 cheese knives and a cool case.

Cheese Tiles

Cheese Tiles-write on, wipe off

I was also sent an email about this cute little guys.  Same function as the stainless steel markers but they’re called cheese tiles.

Cheese tiles

Cheese tiles

They come in a variety of styles such as Fleur-di-Lis, Shell, Vine and more. Retails for $29.95 for a set of 4, they can be purchased online at www.placetile.com

And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, give the ultimate in S&M themed foodie gifts….

Fifty Shades of Chicken

I mean, it’s pretty hilarious right?

I got in touch with Toronto’s Cookbook Store and asked what they would recommend and apparently this 50 Shades of Chicken was a hot stocking stuffer for 2012, but if you didn’t grab it then, now is your chance.  (I took this picture from amazon.ca where you can also order it).

Fork me, Spoon Me

And they also recommended these two options……(it’s going to be a long winter right?)


So, I think you’re set for gifts and food for this coming February 14th.  (FYI, the xoco cava chocolates are great bites while you wait for toast to brown in the morning, just sayin’)

 How is that lady pigging out at the fridge so skinny?


Filed under Local and Community Toronto, Restaurants and Products, Uncategorized

Happy Valentine’s Day to Me (and you of course)

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable Valentine’s Day–meaning that you’ve been showered in chocolates, furry stuffed bears and wet kisses (if you’ve been hoping for such things), or that you’ve had the satisfaction of hating this horrible, commercial holiday that compete’s only with New Year’s in terms of hollow and impossible expectation settings.

If you’re panicking (from either scenario) remember this:

This was a Valentine’s message from my friend Joanne at fashioninmotion.com, which should actually be cheeseandfashioninmotion, but too late now.

Yet, good or bad, Valentine’s Day always invites one to think about having a special meal–cheesies, Diet Dr. Pepper and gummies in front of Four Weddings and a Funeral  (where you can throw cheesies at the TV whenever Andie McDowell appears) or some fancy schmancy meal–in your house or out on the town.

I had the latter–last night-actually (we live on Australia time).  No, I have a class tonight so my husband made me a delicious dinner on the 13th.

And I will share it with you:

The appetizers came from T&T and were so delicious, I must apologize for my terrible lighting and staging of the plate but I’m not about to set up a light and worry about camera angles in the middle of a romantic meal (though apparently I will think about my blog for at least 10 minutes).

We had fishballs, and veggie gyoza and sweet and sour daikon with some salted mustard greens in the back.

Next we had a surf and turf thing going on with steak and tilapia in a Yuzu sauce with lots of fresh pepper.  The tilapia was tender, sweet and delicate.

And with that a warm mushroom salad.  Mushrooms perfectly cooked–not over cooked–and in a light Hoisin sauce.

Here is a close-up–

wow–I wasn’t kidding when I went close with this–perhaps I was eating straight from the plate with my mouth?  It was lipsmacking delicious.

And finally some fresh papaya and mango tofu.  I am slightly addicted to mango tofu since our babysitter started buying it for our son.  I am sure it is not healthy at all.  But it SOUNDS healthy!

And then, just to top off my perfect night at home–an hour long Valentine’s episode of 30 Rock!!  And, since it was PVR’d, no commericals and Tad even made sure to start the show again at the end of the preceding commercial  (I hate missing even a second of a scene).

Which reminds me, I have some Valentine Day payback to think about….


Filed under Ruminations on the Edible, Uncategorized