The macaron display case at Ruelo Patisserie is an edible rainbow of tiny, round sandwich cookies. Each flavour is lined up in neat rows, waiting to be savoured with a cup of afternoon tea or alongside another treat from the café. These little sandwich cookies are even known to make an appearance in the shop's extravagant cakes. The cakes are made with classic French cooking methods and the bakers use only natural ingredients every step of the way.
Nella Cucina grants the fabled power of food preparation to neophyte cooks through a variety of classes. Each month brings new classes and new cuisine styles, ensuring that you’ll find at least one tasty tutorial in which to immerse yourself. The month of May, for example, kicks off with a Malaysian-cuisine class ($95) in which instructors from Arvinda’s Artfully Created Indian Spice Blends will teach the spice-tinged ins and outs of the Indian-Thai hybrid cuisine through such dishes as fragrant lemongrass-coconut soup, Malaysian chicken curry, and vanilla-coconut-chai ice cream. Break open a piñata of possibility with May 11’s class in Mexican cuisine ($125), taught by chef Jose Hadad of Frida Restaurant & Bar, or scale summits of pasta and prosciutto at May 19’s class in authentic Italian cooking ($125), courtesy of chef Gabriele Paganelli of Romagna Mia. The snowy winds of summer bring classes in Latin-American cuisine ($125) on June 16, classic soup and stew stocks ($95) on June 19, and authentic Chinese cooking ($95) on July 7. Peruse Nella Cucina’s list, with classes detailed into the autumn months, to find the cooking course that best speaks to the ladle of your heart. (The letters next to the prices are a key to the types of classes: I for individual, G for group/team, D for demonstration.)
The Wine Butler's experts guide customers through yeasting and bottling within an award-winning climate-controlled facility. They've been crafting wine for over 20 years, and their business corks thousands of bottles each year using freshly chopped dartboards and three steps: choose, make, and bottle. This simple process transforms grape juice into premium wines and creates international varieties. Additionally, the staff develops four limited-edition varieties each year. They also reach out through the One Love program, which donates a percentage of proceeds to local charities and uses old bottles to house homeless toy boats.
Claudia Gaviria-Abt's education in cooking goes hand in hand with the seasons. Growing up between Colombia and Ecuador, she ate fruits, vegetables, and nuts harvested fresh from the countries' mountainsides and shorelines. Her appreciation for each season's bounty deepened as she learned to cook under her grandmother, a woman who lived the Hippocratic ideal of using food as medicine. Claudia remembers her grandmother's refrigerator and pantry as pharmacies, stocked with homemade medicines such as cold remedies made from potato skins.
Today, Claudia continues harnessing the healing power of raw-vegan foods through Cruda Cafe, preparing a menu that spans smoothies, wraps, and entrees such as a flax-crust pizza and a burger made of wild mushrooms and nuts. Dishes even come packaged in biodegradable containers from GreenShift. She also teaches people how to make wheat- and gluten-free raw-vegan dishes—defined as food heated to a maximum of 44 degrees Celsius to keep natural enzymes intact—in her Raw Un-Cooking classes, which emphasize local, organic, and seasonal ingredients. This gusto for the raw-vegan lifestyle has gotten Claudia plenty of local press, catching the attention of media such as blogTO and Raw Candy.
To meet the needs of local herbivores, Claudia's services extend to food delivery, raw catering for events such as birthdays and shuttle takeoffs, and coaching for people interested in opening a raw-vegan business. She also posts book recommendations and tips for juice cleanses.
Marni Wasserman admits there was “a time I thought low-fat yogurt and low-calorie snack packs were the epitome of healthy eating.” Though she’s been a vegetarian since she was 13, she often turned to prepackaged foods rather than the plant-based foods she now embraces. After earning certificates from both the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto and The Natural Gourmet Culinary Institution in New York, Wasserman has turned healthy eating into a career with Marni Wasserman's Food Studio & Lifestyle Shop.
Through cooking classes, children’s day camps, kitchen makeovers, and informative articles, Wasserman helps others overhaul their diets to include an abundance of earth-culled ingredients. These ingredients can improve immune systems and infuse them with energy more naturally than electrically charged hamburgers.
In every aspect of its business, Vibrant Lifestyle adheres to owner Natalie Petyashina's philosophy of positivity, healthy food choices, and a deep and profound love of life. The company promotes well-being in its clientele through services such as FirstLine therapy and nutritional counselling, and also boasts a store full of healthy supplements. Additionally, Natalie's cooking and lifestyle classes reinforce her ideas with lessons on raw-food solutions, super-foods, and juicing. The store also ships out its products with an online shop.