13 Delicious Local Gift Ideas in Scarborough

Contributed by: Danny MacRiner

It’s that time of the year again.  Time to rack your brain thinking of the perfect gift ideas for all the important people in your life.  Look, I love giving gifts but the pressure of coming up with the right ones and then actually going out and finding them can end up being stressful when it’s supposed to be a fun time of year!  

So to help out I present some of my favourite, most delicious, consumable Scarborough based gift ideas for this year.  Swipe away from your Amazon apps and check out these options that will wow your friends and family while supporting our local entrepreneurs.  Besides, do you really want your Christmas and Holiday gift purchases to pay for Jeff Bezos’ rocket fuel?  Naaaaaah!  


Luxurious Honey from Lignum Honey

This is far from your everyday squeezy plastic bear bottle of honey.  Lignum Honey sources 100% raw natural honey from Jamaica, where the climate, soil and immense variety of flower species create the conditions for some of the best honey in the world.  

The type of flowers that bees collect their nectar from greatly impacts the taste of their honey so Bees in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica will make a very distinct honey with the nectar they collect from the coffee plant blossoms.  Sounds interesting and delicious?  Well then give their Blue Mountain Coffee a shot.  Other honeys currently available are Ginger Honey and a Scotch Bonnet Pepper Honey (my personal favourite!).  Lignum is also currently offering a special gift box featuring a jar of Coffee Blossom Honey + a bag of blue mountain coffee + two honey infused brigadeiro desserts from Mary’s Brigadeiros (and if you don’t know about Mary’s, you need to find out!)     


Jars of Honey start at $15.


Visit their online shop at:

https://lignumhoney.com/

@lignum.honey

 

African Grown Coffees and Teas from Royaltea Coffee

Royaltea Coffee has provided cafe culture to the middle of Scarborough.  If you’ve been, you've seen what a beautiful spot it is.  Big windows, sunlight for days, warm, inviting and of course, some fantastic Coffee and Tea.  Their African grown beans, roasted in house and available whole or ground would make an ideal gift for the coffee lover in your life.  For the tea drinkers they have a fantastic cinnamon & cardamom loose leaf blend as well as a black tea with hints of citrus and clove.  Gift boxes with a bag of coffee or tea of your choice plus a mug are also available. 


Bags of Coffee starting at $20.  Tea at $17.


1412 Kennedy Road, Unit 1A

https://royalteacoffee.ca/

@royalteacoffee


Subscription for Fresh Roasted Coffee by Dark City Coffee

Dark City has been roasting some of the best coffee in the city since the 90’s.  Their focus on delivering customers the perfect beans roasted fresh within 24 hours has set them apart.  They offer a variety of house blends as well as their “vault” which includes scores of different beans from all over the world.  A few of their half pound bags would make a unique gift for the adventurous coffee drinker...take them on a coffee sampling trip from Guatemala to Bali to Hawaii, all from the comfort of their own home!  


They also offer a coffee subscription service called Go Cup Yourself (great name!) where the decision making is left up to the experts as they curate a different monthly coffee package delivered to you.  Another solid gift idea!


Monthly Go Cup Yourself subscription starts at $30 a month.

Half pound bags start at around $9.


3480 McNicoll Ave. Unit 12

https://darkcitycoffee.com/

@darkcitycoffee


https://gocupyourselfcoffee.com/

@gocupyourselfcoffee

 

Chili Oil from Ming’s Noodle Cafe

Serving up Hong Kong Cafe staples in Scarborough since the early 2000’s, Ming’s Noodle Cafe is known for its daily breakfast and lunch specials.  I don’t think anyone wants to find a box of beef noodle soup or a pork cutlet under their Christmas tree so I’ll focus on the one perfect gift idea they offer...their house made chili oil!  It doesn’t pack much heat compared to other chili oils but the combination of the chili’s, garlic and fried minced dried shrimps come together to create something that is much more than the sum of its parts.  It’s just an incredible flavour that really really goes well as a finishing oil or condiment on just about any dish.  A great gift and addition to any kitchen!  


Their Chili Oil goes for $8 (cash only).


3447 Kennedy Road

http://mingsnoodlecafe.ca/


Salsa Matcha from El Mercadito

As the Mexitaco empire continues to spread across Scarborough with a third location opening soon, don’t overlook the Latin market they recently opened next to their original location.  El Mercadito is the spot for items from all over Latin America that were previously impossible to find in Scarborough.  


There are tons of great snacks and pantry items here that would make solid gifts but I think the most giftable item here is the Salsa Matcha from El Rudo.  This is a creation of local chef Paula Zavala and like the chili oil from Ming’s it goes great on just about everything.  That’s where the similarities end though, this Mexican Chili Oil brings a completely different set of flavours to the table.  Made with sesame seeds, sun dried hot chilis, sunflower seed, tamarind, tortilla and more, this oil hits with a smokier, tangier flavour as well as some added heat.      


A jar of El Rudo Salsa Matcha goes for $10.99


1107 Victoria Park Avenue

https://elmercadito.ca/

@elmercadito.ca

@elrudogourmet

Gift Trays from Lebanese Nuts & Chocolate

This “luxury bulk barn” has been a great addition to the area since they opened just about a year ago.  Specializing in authentic Lebanese sweets and snacks there are tons of beautiful looking treats here that are perfect for gift giving.  The owners here are incredibly friendly and would be happy to assist in putting together one of their famous trays or gift baskets.  

A couple of my favourite items here are the smoked cashews and their chocolate covered knefe, but there is so much incredible stuff to pack a gift basket with, the possibilities are nearly endless.

255 Ellesmere Road

https://lebanesenutsandchocolate.com/

@lebanesenutsandchocolate


Baklava Trays and more from Patisserie Royale


A favourite of mine anytime of year but especially during the holidays.  It’s the perfect last minute stop so you don’t show up to someone's house empty handed and a tray of Baklava from Patisserie Royale will always make you the hero of the party.  Some of my favourites are their swar, cashew kolshkor and shaabiatt (a dessert made with layers of thin phylo pastry filled with a light creamy cheese, usually only available on weekends) but their amazing staff will be more than happy to help you put together the perfect gift tray.


1415 Kennedy Rd #26

http://patisserieroyale.com/

@_patisserieroyale_


Festive Macarons from Daan Go Cake Lab

As soon as you enter this bakery you’ll see why it’s the perfect place to pick up some holiday gifts.  You’ll be instantly drawn to the selection of Macarons, each flavour represented by a different cartoon animal creation.  I’m partial to the Vietnamese Coffee Koala, but I’ve got nothing but love for Salted Caramel Tiger and Passion Fruit Fox too!  They come in boxes of 6, 9 or 18 plus larger Macaron towers as well.  A perfect gift for kids or adults that are still kids at heart!


Macaron boxes started at $20 for a 6 piece box or are sold individually at $3.50 each.


3380 Midland Ave

https://daango.com/

@daangocakelab


Cupcake Gift Boxes from Simply Frosted Cupcakery


If you’ve got a cupcake lover on your shopping list then you’re going to have to head to Simply Frosted.  With almost 40 (!) different flavours to choose from you’ll definitely be able to find the perfect flavour for anyone.  They are currently offering holiday cupcake boxes as well as holiday treat boxes that include brownies, a macaron and one of their special snowflake cookies.  If you’re looking for gift ideas for any young aspiring bakers they also offer DIY Cookie Baking Kits too!  


DIY Cookie Baking Kits are $45.  Check with the bakery for Holiday Box pricing.


5550 Lawrence Avenue E , Unit #5

https://simplyfrosted.ca/

@simplyfrosted


Rum Cake and Christmas Cookies from Jesa Sweet Tooth

If you haven’t tried anything from Jesa Sweet Tooth yet, this holiday season is the perfect opportunity.  Her baking has been a hit at the Scarborough Street Eats Market as well as across all the favourite food delivery apps.  Her Winter menu offers great seasonal treats that would make perfect gifts.  Guava drop shortbreads?  Chocolate Peppermint Bark?  Jamaican Fruit Cake for the rum lover on your shopping list?  All gifts that I would be ecstatic to open this month!  


A dozen Guava Drop Shortbread go for $22 and Jamaican Fruit Cakes start at $35 (depending on size).


Visit their online shop at:

https://www.jesasweettooth.com/

@jesa_sweet_tooth

Custom Gift Baskets from City Cottage Market


This relatively newly opened shop has been providing Birchcliff with a great outpost for local food and produce.  Their goal to curate products from some of the best entrepreneurs and farmers in the area has resulted in a store packed with interesting and delicious locally made items.  To take the curation to the next level they are selling custom made gift baskets featuring an assortment of their items.  A ramen kit, jerk chicken pie, lemon meringue flavoured popcorn and spicy caesar mix?  Boom you’ve got yourself a gift basket!  They’ll work with you to find the perfect balance of products in your price range to make the ideal customized basket.


81 Haig Avenue (Kingston and Warden)

https://www.citycottagemarket.ca/

@citycottagemarket



Beer Gift Basket from Common Good Beer Co.

As the Borough’s only brewery, Common Good Beer has been keeping thirsty Scarberians hydrated for years now.  While any assortment of their brews would make an excellent gift they’re also offering a special gift box this season featuring your choice of toque, a t-shirt, pint glass and a copy of The Growler, a guide to all the craft breweries in Ontario!  


Gift boxes are $58 or $62 (for the pom-pom style toque version).


475 Ellesmere Road

https://commongoodbeer.com/

@commongoodbeer


The Gift of Giving from 5N2 Kitchens


The perfect gift for the person that already has it all!  5N2 Kitchens has been fighting food insecurity in Scarborough for almost a decade.  In that time they’ve served almost half a million meals in our community.  They provide nourishing hot food and groceries through food banks, shelters, drop-in centres, seniors buildings and apartments as well as individual home meal deliveries during the pandemic.  Seema David and her team keep doing what it takes to keep Scarborough fed.  A donation of any size in someone's name could be the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season!


Visit their website for more information:

https://5n2.ca/

@5n2.ca

 

Dan ( aka Danny ) MacRiner was born and raised in Scarborough and has always sought ways to share his pride in his community.  One of his passions is sharing Scarborough's wealth of diverse culture through food by operating The Local Vibe Tours.  The Local Vibe curates Food Tours to connect people with local restaurant owners and introduce them to flavours from around the world without ever having to leave Scarborough.
Although Covid had temporarily put these Food Tours on hold they will return this Spring.  For more info please visit www.thelocalvibetours.com or follow him on Instagram @thelocalvibetours.




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