I’m back home for a Christmas visit with my family in Muskoka, Ontario. We are definitely a family that likes to eat and stocking the Christmas larder began the moment after I cleared baggage claim.
Our inevitable first stop was the Cheese Boutique in Toronto where we grabbed 7 – 8 amazing cheeses, after sampling 20. I’m sorry, Southern California, but we just don’t have a business that I can compare. The Cheese Boutique stocks hundreds of cheeses (many of which are finished in-house), charcuterie, dry-aged beef, and specialty produce. Ripened goat cheeses are my favourite and this store has a devoted cabinet with a dozen or more varieties. The goat cheese that I brought home (Selles-sur-Cher) has been aged in-house to the point where the once firm and crumbly paste oozes onto the plate when the rind is pierced. My Dad’s name for this class of dairy product is “Garage Cheese,” since the garage is where he’d like me to store it, tightly sealed to contain the overwhelming aroma. It’s a delicious food but not one for the uninitiated!
We then made several more stops for cakes, cookies, pies and bread at bakeries; and for produce at greengrocers in the neighbourhood where I grew-up, and learned what good food is. Afterwards, we headed north to Muskoka where we usually have a white Christmas. This year is unseasonably warm (perhaps it’s El Nino), so you’ll have to settle for some snow photos from years past. We’re lucky to have a river in the backyard and some years the ice has been thick enough to skate up and down the riverbank. We’ve also been able to cut our own trees for Christmas. It’s great to be a Canadian who can come home to snow (most years), rivers, and pine trees for the holidays.
May you loosen your belts and eat well this Christmas. You’re going to join a gym and start running in the New Year anyhow, right?
Jonathan Duffy Davis
PS – Up next, a holiday update from Mr. Jonathan Dye!