On the Shelf – May 24, 2009

Here’s a few new things we came across this month that are definitely worth sharing.

Margaret’s Artisan Bakery Crisps
We came across these at the Ontario Cheese Society tasting in late April. Better known for their Margaret’s Artisan Flatbreads, these organic flour crisps from MJ Fine Foods are made in Vaughn and come in a variety of flavours that pair wonderfully with cheese, pate or dips. I’ve been treating them like the British version of “crisps” and have been eating them like chips. Favourite flavours include rosemary pistachio, mango curry and cashew, caramel apricot almond and cranberry pumpkin seed. They retail for around $5 a box and are available at gourmet food shops.

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Buffalo Gals

First, an admission. I am not as well-travelled as I’d like to be. While I’ve been to most major cities in the US and Canada, I’ve never been across the big pond. Given my feelings about the environmental impact of travelling for pleasure, not to mention the fact that I just hate the process of travelling in general (waiting in airports, jammed onto a plane for hours next to someone with toxic perfume, etc) it is unlikely that I will end up seeing a lot of the world in my lifetime. Living in Toronto, that’s not really a big issue, as I’m lucky enough to be able to hop on a cross-town streetcar and be transported to Athens or Seoul or Bombay for the very reasonable cost of $2.75, but there are occasional things that even the wonders of globalization cannot bring to the most multicultural city in the world.

Things like buffalo mozzarella, that are consumed near where they’re made and generally are past their prime by the time they reach a destination on another continent. I always figured that until I was able to travel to Italy, I’d never get to enjoy the real stuff.

Oh, I’d eaten bocconcini, made locally from pasteurized cow’s milk and sold in tubs. Slightly softer than regular mozzarella, I found the stuff to be pretty bland and tasteless, although the various sizes of little cheese balls were fun to put in salad. I never really got the “silky” description though – most of the stuff I ended up with had the consistency and bounce of one of those hard little superballs you could get in gum machines as a kid. You’d whip them at the floor and they’d bounce forever off of every surface, until your Mom would come and yell at you lest the thing took out a piece of the Royal Doulton collection. Suffice to say that in the grand realm of cheese, bocconcini really wasn’t near the top of my list.

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