Category Streetsville

Passion & Splendour: Sloane Tea Company

What makes my labours on this blog so rewarding are the exceptional people I discover. Perhaps the most inspirational is the poised and passionate Hoda Paripoush, founder and director of Sloane Tea Company. A Toronto-based alliance of boutique fine tea merchants, certified Tea Sommeliers, and culinary experts, Sloane Tea Company represents a guild of small-batch, premier tea gardens throughout the world.


Sloane Tea’s Founder & Director Hoda Paripoush

Hoda’s passion for tea is rooted in her childhood. Of Persian descent but born in India, she was raised in a family of tea lovers, who come from a land of tea gardens and perfumed flower blossoms. After her family immigrated to Brockville, a very young Hoda experimented in her mother’s kitchen, blending her tea with aromatics within her reach (orange blossom water, ginger, rose water or cardamom).

As a creative and ambitious young adult, Hoda studied perfumery in Grasse, France (the world’s perfume capital) and became a certified Tea Sommelier. Hoda now travels the world in search of the finest teas, individually sourcing them directly from point-of-origin. In the process, Hoda has built genuine, close-knit, and exclusive relationships with the world’s most esteemed artisanal tea gardens. Hoda brings these splendid loose leaf teas back to Canada. Using her perfumery expertise and exotic ingredients (such as herbs, flowers, and real fruit pieces), Hoda and her team of certified Tea Sommeliers and culinary experts blend some of the leaves into ambrosial teas with fragrant top, heart, and base notes that linger and enchant; others are offered unblended, straight, pure, and stunning. Hoda insists on perfection every step of the way, from crop to cup.

Sloane Tea selections are categorized by taste (citrus, sweet, fresh, spicy, floral, or creamy) or by type (white, green, oolong, black, herbal, and iced). Estate Reserve teas are rare, limited production, hand-rolled artisan teas from premier estates. Each tea is packaged in gorgeous tins with designs inspired from something meaningful on Hoda’s travels: a vintage Japanese kimono was the inspiration for one design.


I could pick a different Sloane tea to delight my every mood. My top favourites include the unblended, medium-bodied Estate Reserve Darjeeling 2nd Flush black tea, revered as the “champagne of teas”. Its designation of origin, highly prized tea leaves are plucked between May and July on the award-winning Jungpana Estate in Darjeeling (Sloane has the exclusive North American rights). I find it slightly brisk and incredibly refreshing.

Both my husband and I are enamoured with the silky Signature Blend Oolong Crème and its fragrant, buttery sweetness that reminds me of a hint of dulce de leche. Hoda shared a wonderful legend about this tea:

 “This signature oolong from the Wuyi Mountains in China is said to have come about when the moon fell in love with a comet. The comet passed her by, as comets will do. The moon cried milky tears which chilled the tea fields, withering the leaves and giving them a delicate creaminess.”

Hoda says Oolong Crème is also remarkably refreshing steeped as an iced tea. Scroll to the end of my post for Hoda’s Iced Tea Brewing Instructions.


Sloane’s most popular tea, Heavenly Cream, is a medium-bodied, smooth and creamy, long leaf Ceylon black tea blended with hints of bergamot and vanilla. It’s especially rich with a splash of whole milk.

The Shop For All Reasons recently invited Hoda to present her teas at Tea 101, second in a series of informative tasting seminars from some of The Shop For All Reasons’ outstanding suppliers. Hoda taught us how to taste tea (called cupping by the industry): taste with your nose first, inhaling the fragrance, and then sharply slurp the tea into your mouth, sucking in oxygen and rolling the tea along your tongue to reach all of your taste buds. We compared the exquisite notes between six of Sloane’s delicious teas.


I learned so much about tea. Black, oolong, green, and white teas are derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis; the differences between them are the result of different levels of oxidation. More importantly, they need to be brewed using different temperatures of water; the easiest and most precise method is to use the Breville IQ Kettle (a variable temperature control kettle). Brewing instructions are on the bottom of each Sloane tin.

The Shop For All Reasons has apothecary jar testers (taste with your nose) of each of the teas in Sloane’s line. Drop in and marvel over the fragrant differences between each tea.


A luxurious Mother’s Day gift for the tea lover, Sloane Tea will transport Mom to an estate of old-world luxury (Downton Abbey’s Carson not included). And the tins are so elegant I am willing to bet she’ll find another use for them once they are empty.


Hoda’s Iced Tea Brewing Instructions (to make 1 litre/quart)

  1. Boil 2 cups of water and pour over 7 tsp. (approximately 14g) of tea, in a heat-safe pitcher.
  2. Steep for 12 min and then fill with 2 cups of cold water.
  3. Remove tea leaves (Sloane Sachet) from pitcher.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint, blueberries, or citrus slices.

Where to buy, how to make the perfect cup of tea, and more on Sloane’s website:

Follow Hoda on Twitter and Facebook for information on upcoming Sloane Tea tasting events. Laura from Laura Slack Chocolates and Hoda will be conducting a Tea & Truffle Pairing at the Toronto Botanical Gardens on May 11th.



For upcoming supplier seminars at The Shop For All Reasons, visit their website or sign up for their newsletter.

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Streetsville’s Newest Legend: Burger Legend

Behold Streetsville’s newest legend: Burger Legend. I haven’t been this excited about a burger joint since Streetsville’s first take-out (the now long gone Terry’s Burger House) first moved to town.

What makes Burger Legend burgers, well…legendary? Start with a trip to the butcher every single morning to buy fresh, whole AAA Canadian beef chuck; additive-free, preservative free, ground fresh daily by Burger Legend. Yes fresh beef, never frozen (they don’t even own a freezer). Add real (not processed), aged Canadian cheddar cheese. Top with huge strips of thick-cut, smoky/sweet, maple smoked bacon so flavourful that you have to fight off sneaky fingers. Put it on a lightly grilled, freshly baked sesame seed bun. Finally, a burger we can feel good about sinking our teeth into.

Behold the Classic Burger: 100 grams of 100% pure beef (no fillers), juicy and flavourful, spiced just right, nestled on a bed of mixed baby greens, blanketed with melted cheddar, topped with thickly sliced tomato, and Bawss sauce (a delicious mayonnaise-based crossover somewhere between Thousand Island dressing and barbeque sauce).


And this beauty, the Veggie Burger: a huge panko-crusted portobello mushroom, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, stuffed with cheddar cheese, on mixed baby greens, topped with more aged Canadian cheddar cheese, thickly sliced tomato, and Bawss sauce. Oh yeah, come home to Mama.


How to decide between the Classic and the Veggie? Order the Fusion Burger to get both on the same bun. Man, that’s gotta be good!

There are ten burgers on the menu, including the Poutine Burger, the North Beach (with guacamole) and the All Day Burger (with fried egg and maple smoked bacon). But your first visit should be all about the Great One (named after another legend, Wayne Gretzky): with aged Canadian cheddar, maple smoked bacon, mixed greens, tomatoes, and Bawss sauce.

Fries are freshly cut (remember they don’t own a freezer) Canadian russet potatoes, double-fried in peanut oil; available with gravy or as poutine. It’s going to take all my strength to try to resist the Maple Bacon Poutine.

Burger Legend started out as a gourmet food truck and has now laid roots in our village (aren’t we the lucky ones). Kiss the drive-thru junk burgers good-bye and say hello to real, fresh flavour. Welcome to the village Burger Legend!

Take-out or casual, quick bite, eat-in. Last time I was there, they were still waiting for their interac to be hooked up so bring cash just in case.

Burger Legend
236 Queen Street South
Streetsville, ON L5M 1L5


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My Irish Eyes are Smiling: Halving the Potato at Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub

Okay, so I am not exactly Irish though I like to believe that everybody’s got a little Irish in them. When St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, here is how I love to celebrate it: Cuchulainn Crisps shared with good friends at Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub, in Streetsville. As the Irish saying goes, ‘it’s easy to halve the potato where there is love’.


These homemade Irish potato chips are a tasty tribute to the humble potato. Fresh potatoes are sliced just thick enough to have a little potato substance to them, fried up crisp, and then smothered with melted cheese and green onion. Add crumbled bacon and chopped fresh tomato, if you wish. Served with sour cream for dipping.

Now my friends have me hooked on Cuchulainn’s Hill o’Chips, a traditional Newfoundland dish known as CDG (chips, dressing, and gravy): French fries are topped with a Newfoundland-style bread dressing (stuffing) made with savoury (instead of sage) and smothered in beefy gravy. They say it is Newfoundland’s answer to poutine; I say it’s SDG (so darn good). Add chicken curry, if you like.


Cuchulainn’s is an authentic, family-owned and managed Irish pub, serving Irish whiskeys, scotches, a wide selection of draught beer, and Irish and British food. My nephew likes the Guinness Stew: beef braised in Guinness beer with potatoes, carrots, and onions and served with Irish soda bread. My son loves the Dublin Dip: a thinly sliced roast beef sandwich topped with onions, mushrooms, and mozzarella and served with beef jus for dipping.

Enjoy Irish dancers and live music on Monday March 17th 2014, from 3:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. A five dollar donation to The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) will be accepted at the door. Check Cuchulainn’s events page for St. Patrick’s week celebrations.

It may not be spring yet but as the song goes “When Irish eyes are smiling…’tis like the morn in spring. In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing.”1 To all of my Irish friends, and the rest of us who want to be Irish for a day, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Cuchulainn’s Irish Pub
158 Queen Street South
Mississauga, ON
L5M 1K8
Telephone: 905-821-3790
Hours of Operation:
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to midnight
Monday: 11:00 a.m. to midnight
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to midnight
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Saturday: 10:00am to 2:00am

1When Irish Eyes are Smiling:
Songwriters: George Graff, Ernest R. Ball, Chauncey Olcott.
Published by Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., EMI Music Publishing, WINDSWEPT HOLDINGS LLC, CARLIN AMERICA INC
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Streetsville’s Best Kept Secret: Andiamo Pasta Plus

“Should I broadcast our secret to everyone?” I asked my husband, fearing that an increase in popularity would change our favourite little pasta place. But after bumping into a man in Montreal who raved about his recent visit to Andiamo Pasta Plus, it’s obvious the secret is already out: Andiamo Pasta Plus serves generous portions of well-priced, freshly prepared food that is downright delicious.

Located in a small commercial strip just north of the old Streetsville post office, the building’s non-descript exterior obscures the pleasures that await inside. The interior is snug and casual yet the service is polished and attentive. While chef/owner Jim Sangarapillai is busy in the kitchen, his wife and co-owner Kathy is often overseeing the front-end, ensuring that each visit is enjoyable.

Andiamo’s menu is extensive. Antipasti options include shrimp, mussels, squid, grilled vegetables with goat cheese, sautéed rapini, and bruschetta.


Andiamo’s Bruschetta is loaded with chopped fresh tomatoes.

There are a variety of soups and salads. Our favourite is Andiamo’s version of Greek salad (fresh mixed greens with ripe tomatoes, cucumber, onion, colourful peppers, olives, and crumbled feta).


Andiamo’s version of Greek salad is full of fresh vegetables.

With thirty-three pasta dishes on the menu, there is something for everyone. I’ve enjoyed everything I have tried. My favourite so far is the Fusilli alla Curry (plenty of fresh vegetables and grilled chicken in a fragrant, creamy curry sauce). My husband and my son like the Spaghetti with Meat Balls; it is so good that I am often torn over whether to order it or try something new. Whole wheat, gluten-free rice pasta, or spelt pasta are also available upon request, for a small charge.


Spaghetti with Meat Balls in Tomato Sauce

My son’s favourite entrée, the Piccata di Pollo (chicken breast with garlic and parsley in a lemon white wine sauce), never fails to render him into silent bliss. My girlfriends gushed over the Involtini di Pollo (supreme chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, spinach, and sundried tomato in a white wine mushroom sauce). There are six chicken dishes to choose from.

The veal offerings are as abundant. I may have just lost my husband to the Osso Buco alla Milanese – he has fallen in love with the meltingly tender veal shank braised in a rich, flavourful sauce and served with saffron rice.


Osso Buco Alla Milanese

Chef Sangarapillai prepares a tender Veal Parmigiana, smothered with melted cheese, and blanketed with a well-balanced, garlicky tomato sauce; I order it frequently. Veal or chicken entrées are served with nicely seasoned roasted potatoes and a delightful medley of grilled vegetables or pasta. Daily fish and meat specials are also offered.


Veal Parmigiana

Reservations are welcome and recommended because Streetsville’s once little-known gem is quickly gaining popularity, but chances are they can still fit you in even if you haven’t called ahead. Take-out and catering are available. LLBO licensed.

Andiamo Pasta Plus
135 Queen Street South
Streetsville, ON
Telephone: 905-826-4904
Tuesday to Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Monday open for private parties only.

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New Year’s Resolution #2: Tiny Chocolate Indulgences

It’s hard to go cold turkey (pardon the pun) after a season of festive overindulging. I know I’ll still need a treat once in a while, and when I do I’ll indulge in chocolate; not mass-produced, sugar-ridden candy bars but really good, finely crafted dark chocolate that ranks high on the pleasure scale and is relatively healthy.

Of course, gourmet chocolate is expensive but it is meant to be savoured one square at a time. One little square of the very best dark chocolate popped in my mouth – crunched once or twice just to break open the flavour, then melted very slowly to bring out the character and lengthen the pleasure while I swoon over the creamy luxury – is a tiny, worthwhile indulgence that will satisfy me far more than a flavourless candy bar.

To find the best dark chocolate I can get my hands on in my area, I head to my gourmet gurus, John and Loretta Viola, owners of The Shop For All Reasons in Streetsville.

The Shop For All Reasons

Behind these doors lies an impressive collection of gourmet chocolate and other gourmet specialty pantry products that the Violas have knowledgeably selected from some of the best local and international artisans, including what Food & Wine magazine called “the world’s best chocolate”.

Here is a line-up of the dark chocolate bar collection at The Shop For All Reasons, including some facts I learned from the Violas:

There are three types of cacao beans used to make chocolate: 1) Criollo is the best bean but is rare and susceptible to disease. 2) Forestaro gives higher yields but lacks flavour. Up to 90% of chocolate is made from this bean. 3) Trinitario is a mix of Criollo and Forestaro. It has more flavour than Forestaro and is more robust than Criollo.

What does “bean-to-bar” mean? Unlike big companies who mass-produce chocolate, artisanal “bean-to-bar” chocolate entrepreneurs import the dried beans themselves – usually directly from the farmers, working closely with the farmers, paying them fair prices, and often investing in them, to produce the best beans possible – and then craft the beans into bars. Bean-to-bar chocolate entrepreneurs sometimes prefer to redirect the money they would have paid for Fair Trade certification and invest it in the farming process.

Please click here to sign up for The Shop For All Reasons newsletter, to be informed of upcoming chocolate tasting and other tasting events. It’s a great way to learn about what you are buying and find your favourite before investing your money.

Amedei (Tuscany, Italy):

Tcho (San Francisco, CA):

  • Single origin, bean-to-bar chocolate.
  • Travels to plantations and works directly with farmers, providing innovation and technology, to produce great cacao. Provides flavour labs to farmers so they can make chocolate from their own beans and taste the result of their growing efforts (many cacao farmers have never tasted chocolate made from their own beans).
  • PureNotes dark chocolate focuses on 4 flavour tones inherent in different cacao beans: 1) Fruity (Peru), 2) Bright (Madagascar), 3) Chocolatey (Ghana), and 4) Nutty (Ecuador).

Askinosie (Springfield, MO):

  • Single origin, bean-to-bar chocolate.
  • Travels to plantations in Ecuador, Honduras, Philippines, and Tanzania, working closely with farmers to produce great cacao. Pays higher than Fair Trade prices to farmers and shares 10% of net profit of chocolate made from beans grown on their farms.
  • Two types: 1) Origin: single origin dark chocolate 2) CollaBARation: combines single origin Trinitario dark chocolate with flavours such as malted milk, licorice, and coffee.

Olivia (Cantley, Quebec):

  • Single origin (Caribbean Islands), certified organic, milk-free, bean-to-bar chocolate – roasted or raw.
  • Raw chocolate is made from non-roasted Criollo/Trinitario beans. Because the beans are not roasted, this chocolate is smoother and less bitter, allowing 10% more beans without the need for more sugar.
  • HempMilk Chocolate is raw, bean-to-bar, soy-free, nut-free, vegan, and dairy-free; uses only hemp milk not cow’s milk.

Wild Ophelia (Chicago, IL):

  • All-natural, preservative-free, often organic ingredients from “esteemed farms and artisans throughout the USA”.
  • High-quality chocolate combined with wildly creative flavours such as: Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips (dark), New Orleans Chili (dark), Southern Hibiscus Peach (milk), Peanut Butter & Banana (milk), and Sweet Cherry Pecan (milk).
  • Created by “chocolate revolutionary” Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat.

Gourmet Chocolate

Address and contact information for The Shop For All Reasons can be found on my Grocery Store Directory.

Some information obtained from product website.

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