A decade after “locavore” and “foodie” entered the lexicon, Toronto has reached a fever pitch of $10 jams infused with Prince Edward County lavender, blood orange ales brewed on Ossington and heritage capons slow-smoked over Muskoka cherry wood. “Small,” “slow” and “by hand” are now the ultimate points of pride. Along with your quaintly packaged $9 chutney, you’re also buying the good karma associated with supporting local craftspeople and fostering the dream of simpler times.
The epicentre of it all is Kensington Market, where for decades the only hand-crafted goods have been Bob Marley beanies and bongs. In the span of a year, the area has returned to its roots, becoming a village of food artisans. Sanagan’s Meat Locker, the ethical butcher, became so popular that its owner, Peter Sanagan, moved a few doors down the street into a 5,000-square-foot storefront that’s a microcosm of modern carnivore culture. The walls are lined with barn board, and the young staff wear Ts printed with cleavers and offer samples of water buffalo yogurt or house-made mint-and-beef-tongue terrine. Lineups form at the sandwich bar for slow-roasted bo ssäm buns.