It’s Black Friday in the US, and Buy Nothing Day for those who oppose all that consumerism, but here at TasteTO we espouse a a kinder, gentler approach to the inevitable holiday shopping. We call it “Buy Something Good Day” (no, seriously, it’s an alternative day I made up about 10 years ago), and the premise is to neither go hogwild in the line-ups fighting to get cheap crap, or to boycott shopping completely, but rather to shop conscientiously, buying only what you truly need, and when buying gifts, to source beautiful products from local independent artisans so your dollars go back into the local economy and support craftspeople.
There is no better place to do that than at the One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale, which runs at Exhibition Place until December 6th. With something like 700+ artisans offering everything from clothing and jewelry, toys, furniture housewares, food and art, there’s something for everyone.
Of course, we’re mostly interested in the food-related items and we arrived early yesterday morning to peruse the aisles before the event opened to find a fab selection of great stuff. Follow the clicky for an array of gorgeous food-related goodies.
Above image: Peas in a pod – handmade serving dishes from Wellington Pottery.
OOAK also offers exhibition space to artists. These “kitchen squares” by photographer Steven Crainford caught our attention right away.
The folks at Sweet Dove Herbs have a wonderful selection of herbs and teas that they grown on their own farm in Beaverton, Ontario.
One of the themes of this year’s event is the teapot, and these felted tea cozys from Trifly Design would be a wonderful gift for anyone who enjoys a cuppa or two. Lots of food-related designs as well.
Lest you think I wasn’t going to get to the food… the Flavours section is packed with good stuff this year, from candied salmon to preserves, but this display of candied nuts always catches the eye. These are from PremiYum and range from sugar-free to lots of chocolate.
We know there’s great wines in Niagara, and great fruit, and together they make great wine jellies, like these ones from Tracy’s Wine Jellies.
Also made from Ontario’s bountiful harvest are the preserves from Rootham Gourmet.
I was taken by these salt and pepper shakers because they reminded me of a flock of birds. They’re from PMO Design.
For those who prefer their pepper fresh, the beautiful pepper mills by Sylvian Tremblay will definitely be on their wish list. (This carrot-shaped one is on mine!)
This mustard from Organics and Gold comes in a variety of flavours and is made from organic Canadian mustard seed.
Okay, these are the only two food-related items in Noelle Hamlyn‘s booth, but I adored her fabulous handbags made from old books and vintage fabric so very much that I needed an excuse to include her stuff. I am having a serious case of the gimme gimmes.
If you sample nothing else at the OOAK show, stop by Mr. Vinegar’s booth for his award winning Sweet Sunrise vinegar. Made from honey and orange juice, it will blow your mind.
Because we all have to eat and some of us are messier than others… these totally cute leather bibs from Mally Designs don’t stain and wipe clean.
Kyla Francis was still setting up her booth when we visited but we couldn’t leave without snapping some shots of her cool silk-screened glassware.
Edible Gardens offers a variety of vinegars, spreads, preserves and oils. We loved the display for their mission fig spread.
These fruit print aprons come in the very best packaging for gift-giving – pie boxes! Earth Angel Designs also offers aprons and bags in a variety of funky retro-inspired fabrics.
Got a Goth, or a Hitchcock fan on your shopping list? Blackbird Pottery by April Gates should fit the bill. We really loved her cute but slightly creepy stuff.
Who knew you could make so many tasty things out of beets? Grace Lallamand of Beetroot Delights did – she makes jelly, chutney, marmalade and other sauces from the ruby root.
We take so many photos and collect so many cards as we wander through the show, and I can’t positively match an artisan to the image for this box of cool little oil bottles that remind me of autumn gourds. I think/hope they belong to ceramic artist Alexandra Ratte, but the website is not yet operational, so I can’t say for sure.
Got a baker on your holiday shopping list? This cupcake cake tester (complete with a magnet so it can live on the fridge) from Vincent Van Designs should make them joyous.
And it wouldn’t be Christmas without shortbread – these ones from Coach House Shortbread company come in a variety of both sweet and savoury flavours that range from dark chocolate and fleur de sel to cheddar and chipotle.
These tapenades from Cook’s Gourmet might just be the inspiration for a similar line sold by a certain supermarket chain. I’m a diehard fan of these and have been buying their black mission fig tapenade for years.
Every year I go to OOAK, and every year my shots of the crostoli never turn out because they’re wrapped in cellophane. This year, one of Vincenza’s Crostoli was unwrapped for media to enjoy – but not before I finally got my shot of this lovely cookie tree.
These no-calorie cupcakes are actually soap. Demo also does other food-shaped soaps including cheese and pineapple upside down cake.
And finally, any hip chick will appreciate one of these wonderfully cute aprons from Domistyle.
That folks, is just a quick overview of the food-lovers delights to be found at this year’s One of A Kind Show and Sale. I didn’t even get to the fruitcake, hot sauce, gourmet Asian food, bean treats, Indian chutneys, cranberry puddings, pickles, nuts and fudge, toffee or lobster. The One of a Kind Show and Sale runs at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition place until December 6th. Adult admission is $12.