Over 600 artisans from across Canada are back in Toronto to sell their wares at the Winter One Of A Kind Show, one of the city’s most popular holiday markets. This year’s theme is ‘Gifts of Wonder’, and the wonders are many: Sustainable beauty trends and indie artwork abound, with first-time exhibitors and longtime OOAK pros alike represented in the sprawling marketplace.
Of course, if you’re anything like us, you make an immediate beeline to aisles A through C, also known as the ‘Flavours’ section. Here, you can find savoury spreads and gourmet condiments galore, rounded out by stalls overflowing with endless fudge and chocolate bark of every variety and flavour. Whether you’re looking for a gourmand-worthy gift or going on an elevated grocery run, these are some stalls that the foodie must stop by. The One Of A Kind Show runs until December 4.
These small-batch bonbons are so beautiful that you may not want to eat them – but you’ll be so glad when you do. The exquisitely hand-painted chocolates taste rich and indulgent, and the newly-released holiday bonbon collection boasts flavours like Eggnog Caramel, Spiced Plum and Mint Crunch. Chocolatier-in-chief Morgan Whelan also makes hot chocolate bombs that double as tree ornaments. We’ll be squirrelling some of our favourite bonbons away.
One of a Kind Show, booth C-39
Debbie Gray and Jeff Chalmers are on a mission: They know that Ontario honey should be world-renowned, and with their efforts, it’s only a matter of time. Their honey is 100% Ontario wildflower honey, sourced from beehives that The Heritage Bee Co. maintain at countryside properties (or ‘hive hosts’) along the Niagara Escarpment. The honey is bottled at the couple’s ‘honey house’ near Creemore. From Lavender to Ginger to Turmeric, The Heritage Bee Company has a sweet and flavourful blend for every palate – and recipe recommendations for how to use all of them. This booth is well worth the buzz.
One of a Kind Show, booth C-20
This Montreal-born line of cocktail syrups is the creation of Alexandrine Lemaire and Hannah Palmer, an industrial designer and a chemist-cum-photographer who have found their true calling. They make their handcrafted cocktail syrups with fresh, aromatic ingredients that will elevate any cocktail, mocktail or simple glass of sparkling water. Fun fact: The brand has taken off in Belgium after a pair of gastronomy-minded holidaymakers discovered the cocktail syrups in a Montreal specialty butcher shop and took it back with them.
One of a Kind Show, booth B-32
Salt Spring Island, B.C. is renowned for its picturesque beauty and its population of artists. Now, we think that Melanie Mulherin’s homegrown jam factory is soon to be another one of Salt Spring’s claims to fame. Mulherin’s elegant and unique flavours (think Pink Grapefruit and Rhubarb Marmalade and Candied Jalapenõs), will take your charcuterie boards and sandwiches to the next level. Our recommendation goes to the Sweet & Sassy Trio Collection Gift Box, and the Spicy Collection is a close second.
One of a Kind Show, booth C-32
If you’re looking to send some sweetness this season, Ottawa-based Alicja Buchowicz has the answer. Her chocolate bars double as postcards, sendable in Canada with the addition of one $1.94 letter mail stamp. The packaging varies, with a beautiful design accompanying each innovative flavour like Ramen Bowl (with crushed ramen noodles encased in milk chocolate) and Japanese Cheesecake. Who wouldn’t appreciate some chocolate with their warm wishes?
One of a Kind Show, booth A-27
The secret is out: We love Kanel Spices, the Montreal-born seasoning brand run by a group of women passionate about wellness and easy-to-add flavours. Making everything from cocktail rimmers to salted peppercorns designed to be eaten as a snack, this team of taste pioneers in on the rise – and their new Sparkle & Spice gift set is available for purchasing at OOAK. Don’t let the minimalist packaging fool you: everything that comes in a Kanel package will leave a lasting impression.
One of a Kind Show, booth A-48
Becca Pereira – also known as the Spice Girl – is a pandemic breakout whose early-lockdown Instagram posts of her cooking Goan-inspired food began her journey to culinary acclaim. With the help of her mother, a professional chef from Goa, India, the Spice Girl Eats pop-up grew into a full-time business. These days, Becca and her mother’s claim to fame is the Chai Concentrate: a strong blend of Indian Assam Tea and spices that can be added to water, milk or other drinks to imbue them with a warm and authentic chai flavour.
One of a Kind Show, booth A-41
British expat and tea enthusiast David O’Connell met his Canadian sweetie Sarah Wilcox at a ski resort in B.C., and the rest, as they say, is history. After five years in Asia learning the ropes of tea production, the duo appeared on Dragon’s Den in 2018 to pitch their high-grade whole leaf tea bags. That was over four years ago, but the pair are as genuine as ever – since the company’s inception, they have committed to donating 1% of all proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).
One of a Kind Show, booth B-38
The Lemon Square does dessert deliveries with a tangy twist. Made with fresh lemon zest, B.C. butter and topped with a dusting of coconut, these mouthwatering lemon squares ship out from the west coast to sweet-lovers across Canada. The company started as a small market stand on Granville Island, so their OOAK booth has be easy mastered. And the delicious recipe? It’s inspired by Dan Spratling’s mother’s lemon square recipe – she owned a café in Australia where he grew up. The recipe is undeniably a winner, considering the ever-rising volume of orders from ‘TLS’.
One of a Kind Show, booth B-34
Can it be considered a Canadian holiday market if there’s no maple syrup for sale? Olivier Moreau came from Quebec to ensure that we’d never need to learn the answer to that question – and to introduce more people to the wonders of barrel-aged maple syrup. Moreau repurposes oak distiller barrels used to age bourbon, whisky and rum, to further enhance the taste of Quebec’s world-famous maple syrup. The beautiful glass bottles are worth leaving out on the bar.
One of a Kind Show, booth B-19