Saturday, December 6, 2014

2015 Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District



A Look at the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery Historic District  


Selected as one of the World's 10 Best Holiday Markets by Fodor's Travel and Jetlegs, the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery Historic District is the ideal place to rediscover the romance of a Dickensian-inspired Christmas Market.

Christmas Markets, known as Christkindlmarkts, have been a German tradition for 700 years. Christmas markets are an especially festive, anticipated event, bringing light and merriment to a cold, dark time of the year. Each town traditionally had a unique and distinctive street market to celebrate the season.

For a fourth year, the Toronto Christmas Market is showcasing all the romance and splendour of a traditional European Christmas market.

Local tradesmen sold their wares at these markets, giving each market an individual flavour and personality. The food and beverages being offer were traditionally regional, so each town's offerings were truly unique to the area.. Tradesmen would line the streets with handmade wares that featured distinctive regional characteristics.

Traditionally, villagers bought and sold homemade Christmas ornaments, decorations, and gifts. Traditional handicrafts at the markets included hand carved nutcrackers, wooden smokers, wooden figures, cuckoo clocks, straw ornaments and blown glass ornaments.
The Toronto Christmas Market takes place Friday November 20th to Sunday December 20th at the Distillery Historic District in Toronto. The Distillery District comprises more than 40 heritage buildings and 10 streets, it is the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture remaining in North America.

In addition to the Christmas Market vendors, the Distillery Historic District features more than 70 ground-floor cultural and retail establishments in the restored red brick, Victorian-era buildings of the former Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery. The District also contains numerous specialty restaurants, cafes and culinary retailers within the buildings. The district was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988.

At night you can celebrate the magic of Christmas under a spider-web of 1940’s style lighting which is festooned throughout the main square of the  district. This year the centerpiece of the market is a stunning 52 foot white spruce Christmas tree decorated with over 18,000 lights. The market also features lots of festive décor, and musical performances from carolers and Bavarian brass bands. Santa's Lane features a  vintage merry-go-round and a Ferris wheel. And, of course Santa is also on hand with his elves. Last year we also saw Father Christmas and Black Peter at the market.

You can sip delicious hot chocolate, hot apple cider or mulled wine. There are no shortage of vendors selling hot beverage. Bring your appetite and taste miniature cinnamon doughnuts, French Canadian poutine, artisan grilled cheese sandwiches, grilled sausages, smoked turkey drumsticks and Vienna-style veal schnitzel served in a warm pretzel bun with sauteed peppers. Chef Marc Thuet was back at the market last year with a variety of traditional baked goods, Nutella and candy cane dusted pretzels and other gourmet take away items.

The market’s heated beer gardens and hospitality lounges are especially popular, as guests can warm when the weather gets cold. For an opportunity to taste great Ontario VQA wines from across the province and meet knowledgeable Wine Country Ontario brand ambassadors, join them at the experiential wine sampling lounge and the “Dare to Care” mobile truck on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

In order to recreate the traditional European atmosphere, wooden chalets are used as market stalls which are over-flowing with one-of-a- kind gifts. The decorative chalets are used to display merchandise and are illuminated internally. These festive wooden chalets line every cobblestone corridor in the Distillery District.    


Visitors can also browse through locally made and handcrafted merchandise from around the world. One of my favourite booths was the German Christmas ornament chalet near the Parliament Street entrance. Created in the tradition of generations of master glassblowers, designers and painters, Inge-Glas's Christmas heirloom ornaments are the result of 14 generations of glass blowing expertise and a cache of over 6000 antique and new molds too. These mouth blown and hand painted ornaments represent the skill, heart and effort of over 250 craftsmen. Inge-Glas ornaments are easily recognizable by their trademark 5-Point Star Crown symbol verifying an authentic Inge-Glas ornament.

Other festive merchandise included: wooden nativity puzzles, advent calendars, window pictures, stars, trees, moose, owls and more from the Black Forest and the Ore mountains.

Those with a competitive spirit can take part in the World Caroling Challenge, a group performance of some of the most well-known Christmas tunes. The streets and squares of the historic Distillery District are transformed into a bustling kingdom of lights and colours, festive sounds and seductive aromas during the holiday season. It is truly something special. 
Free admission Tuesday to Friday;  $5.00 admission (incl. tax) Saturday and Sunday.





Saturday, November 8, 2014

London's Old East Village: Stepping up to the Plate

Stepping up to the Plate in London’s Old East Village

By Bryan Lavery

It isn’t surprising that London's Old East Village (OEV) has been selected as the People's Choice for Great Neighbourhood in the 2014 Great Places in Canada contest. The contest is run annually by the Canadian Institute of Planners as a way to showcase the best of the best across the country. Winners of the contest were announced November 7th 2014, and London, Ontario’s OEV received the most votes in the Great Neighbourhood category in online voting by Canadians.

Old East Village is just a stone’s throw east of downtown London. It is bordered to the north by the CP rail yard at Central Ave, to the west by Adelaide Street, to the south by the CN rail lines at York Street, and to the east by Ashland Avenue and the CN/CP feeder lines at Kellogg’s on Dundas Street.

One of the oldest and most culturally-diverse neighbourhoods of London, OEV is known for its affordable homes and its “friendly front porch mentality,” with residents who embrace cultural diversity and not just give it lip-service. The Dundas Street corridor has a reputation for the avant-garde and as a haven for artists, artisans and musicians whose support has helped sustain important cultural venues such as the Aeolian Hall, the Palace Theatre, the Potter’s Guild and an indoor farmers’ and artisans’ market that attracts thousands of visitors on Saturdays. The area is also home to the Western Fair District.

Saying all that, I wonder how many Londoners’ are familiar with the great resource that is the OEV Hub? The mandate of the OEV Hub is to heighten awareness – and attract visitors to – the vibrant and rapidly emerging food and cultural district located in the OEV. The OEV Hub is an informative, virtual and all-in-one resource, with the purpose of promoting businesses, artists, artisans, food and culture.

“The OEV Hub considers culture to be a “lived” and living part of the local fabric here in the OEV. Culture is about the people, the art, the food, the creativity, the history and heritage of a particular location. Culture to us includes: arts, crafts, music, food, sustainability, gardens, restaurants, destination shopping and more.”

The corridor is also known for its high concentration of social agencies, second-hand shops and the St. Regis Tavern.  According to the OEV Hub, “The St. Regis Tavern is the second longest-operating hotel/tavern in London, Ontario, though the exact date “The Reeg”, in its current form, was built remains a mystery. However, the site has housed and operated as a hotel and tavern since 1883 and under the St. Regis banner since 1931. It is a verifiable neighbourhood cornerstone of the Old East Village and has long been a gathering place for the blue collar workers of the OEV. It isn’t too often that a stranger will enter “The Reeg” and not make a friend or two before leaving. Indeed, it has one of the more friendly atmospheres of all the bars in London, and no person is ever made to feel unwelcome. An interesting fact: This tight ship is owned and run solely by women, perhaps lending to its warm and welcoming atmosphere.”

The Old East Village Business Improvement Association (OEVBIA) is directed by manager Sarah Merritt. A grassroots-driven revitalization initiative, it works in partnership with the City of London and the OEVBIA. The OVEBIA has taken a “build it and they will come” stance that’s led to façade restoration and cultural initiatives supported by a range of financial incentive programs that apply to development or property improvements.

Identified as a “food desert” in 2008 by a study co-authored by Dr. Jason Gilliland of Western University, the OEV has since emerged as a burgeoning food and cultural district. In follow-up analysis, it was revealed that the formation of the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market (WFFAM) in December 2006, has significantly elevated the selection and lowered the cost of nutritional foods available in an area that had previously been without access to retailers of healthy, affordable food. Further research, however, confirmed that the OEV was no longer a food desert and attributed the market with improving both economic and physical access to food in the area.

It is in this context that the WFFAM started operating and although the area has characteristically been considered challenging for retailers, WFFAM has had no trouble attracting market-goers. In fact, the WFFAM, draws between 3,000 and 4,000 people Saturdays, and is respected as an informal incubator for culinary innovation and new businesses which can then expand by creating store-front locations in the community and across the city.

Farmers’ markets are ideal “incubators,” Merritt says, because they offer entrepreneurs both low startup costs and opportunities to get immediate feedback from shoppers sampling products. In recent times the area has seen a renaissance of food enthusiasts, innovators, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs.

Creative independent businesses like Unique Food Attitudes and The Root Cellar Organic Cafe with its nano-brewery add another level of sophistication and culinary innovation to the OEV. The Artisan Bakery, Hungary Butcher and All ’Bout Cheese have also contributed in a significant way to that mix and helped strengthen a blend of commercial activities along Dundas Street. The WFFAM itself has an unsurpassed mix of quality culinary artisans.

In the present stage of the revitalization initiative, the OEVBIA has reinforced its partnership with the Western Fair District (WFA) to create a local economic development plan for the Old East Village. With a representative on the OEVBIA Board of Directors, the WFA has been a partner in the revitalization initiative since its inception.

 The WFA receives its non-profit organization (NPO) status because of its agricultural relationship with the surrounding five counties. However, its principal attractions are mostly unrelated to agriculture: music, dining, gaming, trade shows, sports and ice rink facilities. The main agricultural links that the WFA seem to have are the WFFAM, Wine and Food Show and the annual Western Fair. A more prominent role in stabilizing and upgrading the infrastructure and amenities at WFFAM seems reasonable given the WFA’s commitment to agriculture, and would be a much welcomed capital investment in the community and sustainability of the WFFAM.

In the current phase, the OVEBIA, the WFA, and a range of local partners are expected to continue to explore opportunities to develop educational and awareness opportunities around food production and consumption, technological exchange and learning opportunities between farmers and the community, and closer interaction between agri-food producers and users, in order to foster innovation and business expansion activities in the OEV.

In closing, Merrit has stated, “We have undertaken longitudinal research that has established that neighbourhood food production, retail and services are key economic generators in the village. Based on the research and the support that we provide to food-related and other businesses, we continue to focus development efforts on strengthening the OEV food and culture district.”

Read my latest story in eatdrink magazine about revitalization in the OEV and a list of some interesting dining options.

Read more about the OEV Hub

Streetscape Photos : OEV Hub

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Look at The One and Only, The Only on King

Another Look at The One and Only, Only on King

Nov 23rd 2016: Approaching its 10th year, TOOK (The Only on King), with its fully realized farm-to-table philosophy, devoted acknowledgement of the local terroir and support of local farmers and producers, was the personification and outstanding archetype of the virtuous up-to-the-minute Ontario restaurant. According to several sources the landmark TOOK has ceased operations. The restaurant will be missed by its legions of fans. We wish Paul Harding and staff best wishes in their future endeavours.


In its eight year, The Only on King, with its fully realized farm-to-table philosophy, devoted acknowledgement of the local terroir and support of local farmers and producers, remains the personification and outstanding archetype of the virtuous up-to-the-minute Ontario restaurant.

The restaurant’s kitchen, led by Paul Harding is a self-proclaimed “labour of love.” When Harding is not chained to the stove, he and his culinary team continue to find new ways to integrate the locavore ethic into all aspects of “The Only”.

Harding began preparing family meals in his youth and developed a passionate enthusiasm for cooking. After high school, Harding moved to Toronto to attend George Brown College. Harding worked in Toronto at Café Societa and Michelle's Brasserie, honing his skills and was later employed as the chef de partie at Auberge du Pommier and the much heralded JOV Bistro, an internationally acclaimed neighbourhood bistro in its heyday. 

The difficulties and disciplines of local food procurement and executing an ever-changing daily menu with a deep appreciation of the seasonal palate has been evidence of the kitchen’s continuing dedication. And it needs to be just that, to keep up with the demands and disciplines of an ever-changing daily menu.

This style of farm-to-table menu is unique by London standards and something that very few chefs/restaurateurs would be in a position to execute with the kind of success that Harding has achieved. The menu is distinctive, accessible and highlights the best local products and ingredients available. Believe me this is no easy feat – it is a very labour-intensive, hands-on approach given the traditionally slim profit margins in this style of restaurant.

The cooking repertoire emphasizes the traditions of classic French and Italian cuisine and the aesthetics of modern British cuisine.  Located in a historic building and former dairy on King Street in the London downtown dining district, the restaurant has a welcoming character with just that right amount of off-the-cuff insouciance that often comes with success. The conversational hum can be loud when the restaurant is hopping – which is most nights.

Incidentally, “The Only” was voted number 6 of “Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2008” by enRoute magazine. It has lived up to its early accolades and the kitchen does not rest on its laurels. “The Only” is collaborative by nature and there have been many events where “The Only” has partnered with other culinary notables like: Victor Barry of Splendido, Vineland’s Tawse Winery and Nick and Nat 's Uptown 21", a gourmet hot spot in Waterloo.  A  collaboration with Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth of Edulus restaurant in Toronto (which was voted number 1 of “Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2012” by enRoute magazine) was a much talked about sold-out success.

Dinner at “The Only” on King begins with a basket of warm, white-linen-wrapped house-made bread accompanied by long, crisp, melt-in-your-mouth breadsticks and a pot of salty, creamy butter. In keeping with their philosophy of local food procurement, flour, grains and legumes are sourced from Mike Mathews, owner of the historic Arva Flour Mills.

The list of local producers that “The Only” supports is extensive.  Farben Farms is Harding’s choice for Berkshire Pork raised in a natural environment with no additives, hormones or drugs. Another producer and culinary farmer, Lo Maximo Meats is an outgrowth of Spence Farms, a 5th generation family farm located in Chatham- Kent. Paul and Sara Spence’s  Lo Maximo Meats offers traditionally raised beef, pork, chicken, goat, lamb and eggs with no hormones or steroids, aged and flash frozen by a local abattoir and sold at regional Farmers’ Markets but with a Latin American sensibility.

The Only on King’s classic Boudin (white sausage) of  chicken has become a delicious signature dish, on this occasion it was served with a fried egg, Swiss chard and garlic sauce.  Our charismatic waiter, Margeaux Levesque, gave me a binder with a dossier on candidates for my dinner entitled “From Our Family Farm To Your Fork” – “Meet Your Chicken!”  There was a dizzying array of potential contenders and all had lived a happy life on the Spence family farm where they “had the opportunity to roam in an open area with fresh air, sunshine, bugs, grass and weeds to feed on”.  The information provided included: date of birth, markings/distinguishing characteristics, likes, dislikes and other personal information that included questionable hobbies and diet.

In addition to Harding’s often ironic sense of humour he is proficient at butchering and making many house-made specialties: bacon, sausage, terrines, galantines, pates and confits. Charcuterie, once considered the dominion of bourgeois cooking, was practically a lost art until the emergence of the farm-to-table movement and the tattooed hipster chef. Butchering, poaching, braising, sautéing, and sauce-making are the fundamental skills the kitchen employs to attain their objective: superb taste. 

“The Only’s” kitchen has an aptitude for cooking lesser-known cuts of meat to great versatility. I have many memories of organic flat-iron steak, braised shin and grilled organic beef heart  cooked to perfection. Simple sauces at this restaurant accentuate flavour elevating a good piece of meat or fish to a superior one.  An appetizer that the kitchen turned into an entrée of golden-brown, FisherFolk-sourced tuna meatballs, were braised in tomato with olives, capers and pine nuts, accompanied by knock-out gnocchi.  

This kitchen crafts silky crème brûlées and a yummy pavlova-like dessert aptly named Eton mess with berries sourced from Heeman’s Berry Farms.

Guests are allowed to bring their own wine for a corkage fee. The wine list is interesting and varied featuring good quality VQA's. There are always several house made seasonal cocktails with a varied selection of bottled and draft beer. The restaurant is a supporter and proponent of Food Day Canada and is listed in Where to Eat in Canada.

Harding plays to all his strengths with a tight grasp on the tenets of terroir and sustainability. Chef’s culinary viewpoint and cooking repertoire continue to astound while drawing farm-to-table enthusiasts, to the intimate 40-seat dining room. If you are looking for your inner gastronome this is the ticket.


The Only on King

172 King St,

519- 936-2064

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Air Canada's enRoute magazine announces 2014 Canada's Best New Restaurants and People's Choice Award winner

Air Canada's enRoute magazine announces 2014 Canada's Best New Restaurants and People's Choice Award winner

Air Canada's enRoute magazine announces 2014 Canada's
Best New Restaurants and People's Choice Award winner

Tofino, B.C.’s Wolf in the Fog named Canada's Best New Restaurant, and
Saskatoon, SK’s Ayden took top votes on

TORONTO - October 23, 2014 - Canada's award-winning inflight magazine, Air Canada's enRoute, is pleased to announce the Top 10 list of Canada's Best New Restaurants 2014, as well as the winner of the Air Canada enRoute Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2014 People’s Choice Award. On a month-long culinary journey that took noted food writer Andrew Braithwaite from Tofino, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland, he discovered a group of chefs, sommeliers and restaurateurs who continued to explore this country’s terroir and redefine what it means to dine out in Canada.

The Top 10 restaurants in order are:

1. Wolf in the Fog (Tofino): “On the extreme west coast of Vancouver Island, where rainforest meets ocean, you stumble up a flight of stairs and into a soaring cedar-clad room above a surf shop where chef Nick Nutting leads a crew trained in the precise details of fine dining.”

2. The Farmer’s Apprentice (Vancouver): “Each small plate – more often, a bowl – conjured by owner David Gunawan is a precise jumble of textures and flavours. Digging in is a sort of black magic.”

3. Le Vin Papillon (Montreal): “Long-time Joe Beef guru Vanya Filipovic fills massive chalkboards with organic wines to run with a vegetable-focused cuisine from boyfriend and chef Marc-Olivier Frappier.”

4. RGE RD (Edmonton): “The heart of Blair Lebsack’s kitchen is a wood-burning oven that consumes birch and maple at 700° F, curing honey ham and smoking Salt Spring Island mussels or even dehydrated local milk during the off-hours.”

5. Mallard Cottage (St.John’s): “Todd Perrin spent two years restoring a heritage property in Quidi Vidi Harbour for this brilliant mash-up of fine dining and comfort cuisine on the outskirts of St. John’s.”

6. Bar Buca (Toronto): “Rob Gentile’s restaurant likes to pretend it’s a simple bar for sipping Barolo. You’re here to drink, sure, but you’re also here to eat things like tiny fried smelt dusted with fennel salt.”

7. The Chase (Toronto): Chef Michael Steh doesn’t lean on molecular trickery or audacious ingredients to wow. His food is more direct and more delightful than that, in an atmosphere that makes you want to say yes to things.

8. Ayden (Saskatoon): Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay gambled that Saskatoon was ready for lime- and lemongrass- and ginger-dusted chicken wings. Ayden isn’t about showing off Prairie cooking to the world – it’s about bringing the world home.”

9. Légende (Quebec City): Northern Quebec is the culinary hunting ground that Frédéric Laplante mythologizes at his capital-city bistro. Cornish hen gets a boreal accent from balsam fir fleur de sel.”

10. Edna (Halifax): Jenna Mooers’ North End bistro digs up treasure from the fertile soils of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and hauls it out of the brisk Atlantic waters.”

Shot behind-the-scenes at the top three restaurants, short films directed by John Cullen and Chris Muir can be viewed onboard Air Canada flights and on Winners will be profiled in the November issue of Air Canada’s enRoute.

The Top 10 restaurants will officially receive their awards during the annual Canada’s Best New Restaurants Gala celebration on November 20 in Toronto.


Tofino, British Columbia 150 Fourth St, Tofino, BC | 250-725-9653 |

Nº 2 The farmer’s apprentice 
Vancouver, British Columbia
1535 W. 6th Ave., Vancouver, BC | 604-620-2070 |

Montreal, Quebec 2519, rue Notre-Dame O. |

Edmonton, Alberta 10643 123rd St. N.W. | 780-447-4577 |

St. John's, New Foundland 8 Barrows Rd. | 709-237-7314 |

Toronto, Ontario 75 Portland St. | 416-599-2822

Toronto, Ontario 10 Temperance St. | 647-348-7000 |

Saskatoon, Sakatchewan 265 3rd Ave. S. | 306-954-2590 |

Nº 9 Légende 
Quebec City, Quebec  255, rue Saint-Paul | 418-614-2555 |

Nº 10 Edna        
Halifax, New Brunswick
2053 Gottingen St. | 902-431-5683 |

Voted by the people for the people : Chef Dale Mackay's
 Ayden in Saskatoon

In partnership with lead sponsor Jaguar Land Rover Canada, Air Canada's enRoute encouraged Canadians to select their favourite new restaurant on Ayden, the Saskatoon restaurant from Top Chef Canada winner Dale Mackay, received Air Canada enRoute Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2014 People’s Choice Award. The contest offered a chance to vote to win a trip for two to the 2014 Canada's Best New Restaurants gala event in Toronto, with the use of a vehicle.

"The quality and diversity of this year’s restaurants are incredible, and provide our readers with a resource for where to dine in cities like Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, St. John’s, Edmonton, Halifax, and Saskatoon," said Louise McKenven, Senior Director, Marketing, Air Canada. "Pairing our annual feature with a compelling in-flight video series of the top three restaurants will provide Air Canada passengers with a full course of dining options from coast to coast."

"This year's search proved the diversity of Canadian cuisine and that chefs are continuing to further the culinary experience," explained Ilana Weitzman, editor-in-chief, Air Canada’s enRoute magazine. "Once again we went looking for good people who've dedicated themselves to delivering memorable experiences. There was a clear favourite in Dale MacKay’s restaurant Ayden, which ranked in our Top 10 and took the lion’s share of Canada’s votes on"

About Jaguar Land Rover Canada ULC

• Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturing business built around two iconic British car brands with a rich heritage and powerful consumer appeal and loyalty. Additionally, Jaguar Land Rover is at the centre of the UK automotive industry’s drive to deliver technical innovation in all areas of vehicle development.
• Jaguar Land Rover has two state of the art engineering and design facilities and three advanced manufacturing plants in the UK.
• Jaguar Land Rover employs 25,000 people and sells vehicles in 170 countries around the world.
• Headquartered in Mississauga in Canada, Jaguar Land Rover Canada ULC is represented by 23 retail outlets.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline serving more than 180 destinations on five continents. Canada’s flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2013 served more than 35 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 60 Canadian cities, 49 destinations in the United States and 73 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,269 airports in 193 countries. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax that ranked Air Canada in a worldwide survey of more than 18 million airline passengers as Best Airline in North America in 2014 for the fifth consecutive year. For more information, please visit:

enRoute is Air Canada’s award-winning travel magazine with over one million readers each month. The magazine — available exclusively on all Air Canada flights and in Maple Leaf Lounges worldwide as well as in select hotels and boutiques across North America — is an inspirational authority for the global traveler, known for its strong visual presence and innovative design. Air Canada’s enRoute is published by Spafax, one of the world’s leading content marketing agencies and providers of in-flight media, with offices in 14 cities around the world.

Follow on Twitter and Instagram @enroutemag #enroutetop10.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Independent Purveyors and Small-batch Coffee Roasters in London, Ontario

If London, Ont., knows one thing, it's farmers' markets. And coffee. Alright, that's two things, but two things the city of 350,000 is rightfully proud of, thanks to years of developing a community that loves local produce as much as it craves freshly roasted beans — which is also carried over into the restaurant scene.”

Independent Purveyors and Small-batch Coffee Roasters in London, Ontario


The emergence of London’s small-batch coffee roasters emphasizes the passion that exists for fairly traded, environmentally responsible, and ethically sourced coffee beans. The astounding growth of the burgeoning coffeehouse/cafe niche in the intensely competitive coffee market dominated by Starbucks and Tim Horton’s is nothing short of remarkable.

Lately there has been an unprecedented increase of upmarket cafés that are part grab-and-go café, part bakery, and part casual dine-in restaurant, some of which are licensed. The quest of coffee drinkers for artisanal, small hand-batched roasts with diverse flavour profiles is unmatched. It has been recently suggested that in addition to its other well-documented effects, a cup of coffee will improve your memory.

Hasbeans is operated by the hospitable Smith family, who have been Covent Garden Market merchants for more than 125 years. Their coffee business continues to be hands-on with Paul (third generation), Debbie (fourth) and Joel (fifth). While promoting the distinct qualities that each coffee bean develops in its natural environment, Hasbeans’ stalwart owners and staff have become a Covent Garden Market institution for their fair trade offerings and personalized service. Hasbeans’ hand-selected and imported coffees are offered as both green (raw) and roasted coffee beans.

The Little Red Roaster was initially opened in 1995 and operated by former restaurateurs Anne and Archie Chisholm of Anthony’s Seafood Bistro. The Wortley Road location became a local institution and was the original café in what became a chain of independently owned franchises. Kendra Gordon-Green purchased the venture in 2002, adding several franchised Little Red Roaster locations in the downtown core, most notably at the Covent Garden Market and at the Central Library.

Entrepreneur Dave Cook started The Fire Roasted Coffee Co. in 2006. He had been roasting his own coffee beans in his garage, and launched Fire Roasted Coffee as a Saturday business at the Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market at Western Fair. Cook took over as owner of the market operation two years later and began to build his business portfolio. More recently he opened a flagship café (and his complementary business, Habitual Chocolate) in a renovated heritage building at King and Talbot streets. Just last month Cook opened another satellite Fire Roasted location in Wortley Village, in premises formerly occupied by The Little Red Roaster.

Cook leverages his expertise, networks and knowledge in order to shape a strong and enabling environment for social enterprise. Cook’s core business belief embraces the philosophy of supporting and mentoring people committed to sourcing quality products and invested in their place of origin. In the interest of global justice, Fire Roasted Coffee has established direct trade with producing countries to benefit the producers in a more substantial way.
Fire Roasted had supplied coffee to the nearby Black Walnut Bakery Café but that affiliation came to a halt. Cook approached Gordon-Green of the Little Red Roaster to give Fire Roasted a sustained presence and a higher profile in Wortley Village. Cook realizes that this location might have a limited shelf-life, as there are plans to expand Home Hardware into that space in the future. In the meantime, he views the Wortley Road location like a pop-up restaurant where he is able to create a different niche and new identity in the neighbourhood.

Patrick Dunham, the former general manager and lead roaster for The Fire Roasted Coffee Company, presided at the Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market at Western Fair location for six years. Working alongside Dave Cook, Dunham traveled to coffee farms learning all aspects of the coffee business from roasting and cupping to selling.
Dunham went to work as a sales manager for Imperial Coffee in February 2013. Wilson and Mandy Etheridge, owners of the Black Walnut Bakery Café approached Dunham to help set up Kingfisher Coffee Company as a wholesale coffee roaster and business. The Black Walnut Bakery Café built its reputation specializing in organic fair trade coffees and teas, seasonal soups, savoury quiches, bread, scones and squares, salads and light meals.

Mandy explained that they were looking for a niche that they felt was absent in the marketplace. “Unfortunately we could not find what we were looking for. It seemed our only option was to create our own one of a kind coffee roasting company.” This coffee roasting company would not only service the café, but would also provide coffee to other business and individuals around the city wanting the same characteristics in their coffee.

Recently Dunham set up his own roastery called Patrick’s Beans. Dunham’s goal is to offer high quality coffee blends that are roasted locally and sourced ethically. DunhamIn London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your door.In London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your door.In London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your door. caters to the specific needs of clients and his strategy includes offering fund raising opportunities to non-profits as well as demonstrating transparent community involvement. Dunham roasts coffee beans in small batches and then blends them to attain tailor-made tastes and complexities that cannot be found in single varietal selections.

In London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your doorLook for Patrick’s Beans at Ogilvie’s Market, Sunnivue Farm near Ailsa Craig, The Arva Flour Mill, Time to Chill in Woodstock and the regular places, like the Root Cellar, Hungary Butcher and The Rhino Bakery and Lounge.

The regular Patrick’s Beans are: Super F'n Dark (self-explanatory), Dark & Brewding (rich dark roast, Indonesia, Ethiopian, Guatemalan), Velvet Hammer (very smooth, medium dark, Guatemalan, Honduras), The Safe Choice (medium roast, Guatemalan, Honduras), Shotgun Romance (espresso blend, 5 different beans on the classic side) and Taste of Danger (decaf). The price for each of the coffees is $15 or two for $25, delivered to home or office in London.

Sisters Maria Fiallos and Valeria Fiallos-Soliman operate the coffee micro-roaster, Las Chicas del Café, on Exeter Road, which opened in 2005. The Fiallos family has been defined by coffee for generations, starting with their great-grandfather on the family’s coffee plantation in Las Sabanas, Nicaragua. The family was forced to flee Nicaragua in the 1980s during that country’s civil war, finally settling in London, Ontario in 1988. The sisters’ parents were eventually able to return to Nicaragua and re-establish the family’s coffee growing tradition with their mission of “quality, tradition and responsibility.” Today, plantation workers hand-pick, sun-dry and manually bag their annual harvest of dense, flavour-packed beans and send them to London to be roasted.

Charles and Jill Wright opened Locomotive Espresso in a building that has been a neighbourhood variety store for 45 years. Locomotive is located at the corner of Pall Mall and Colborne at the railroad tracks, in the former Helen’s Variety. Locomotive baristas have received strict training in Pilot Coffee Roaster’s Toronto espresso laboratory. Pilot took top honours in this year’s Roast Magazine’s annual Roaster of the Year competition saying, “Pilot’s exemplary marketing practices and dedication to offering quality coffee — evidenced by its education practices and construction of a state-of-the-art coffee-tasting lab — propelled the company to a win”.

Locomotive Espresso opened its doors looking to fill a growing worldwide thirst for local, independent coffee bars serving the highest quality beverages. Its direct trade beans are featured along with other “visiting” roasts from similarly skilled roasters.

 In addition to serving a great selection of Pilot Roast (Roast Magazineès Micro-Roaster of the Year 2014) coffees, lattes and espressos, brewed by professionally trained baristas on a La Marzocco GB5 (handmade in Florence, Italy), Londoners will find a variety of food and drink provided by a diverse collection of London and area based businesses. Locally-sourced products and services include fresh salads, paninis and baked goods from Heirloom Catering; fresh breads for the Toast Bar  from The Artisan Bakery; cold pressed juices from the Pulp & Press Juice Co.; organic teas from Wisdom Teashop and Clipper Teas (UK); biscotti from local pastry chef Michele Lenhardt; Kosuma Bars and Habitual Chocolate from the Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market at the Western Fair; and Nepalese chai tea, fresh rolls, and granola from Momo’s At The Market.
Locomotive Espresso is London's newest independent purveyor of caffeinated beverages and other fine coffee accessories including  Aeropress coffee makers (similar to a French press) and the eco-friendly KeepCup, the world's first barista standard reusable cup which are both getting rave reviews. They continue to brew the classic favourites and the flat white (Aussie) and cortado (South America) beverages are gaining popularity. And, for espressophiles visit Locomotive espresso bar in December to buy a day trip package for a Pilot Roaster bus trip to Toronto to tour the Pilot tasting bar and roastery, three selected espresso bars and your fill of coffee for the day.

More and more it is worth embracing independents and small-batch artisanal coffee roasters. These types of businesses provide core commitments to quality, relationships and hands-on service. The coffee trade appears to be further inspired to leverage economies with social enterprise and environmental responsibility by their conduct, rather than driving profit by how they market themselves.