One of my friends is thinking about moving to London, Ontario so I thought I would create a Handmade in London Hamper to give her a feel for all the awesome handmade products available in the city. To be honest, I was spoilt for choice and it was difficult to narrow it down to just nine local businesses. There are so many amazing entrepreneurs in London producing delicious food and drink, I could have quadrupled the hamper size and still not fit everything in!
1. Glen Farms
Glen Farms is a family business that has been running since 1984. They handmake small batches of jam, jelly, preserves, honey, marmalade and antipasto using traditional, time honoured cooking methods (twice the fruit, half the sugar). Glen Farms specialise in creating beautiful gift baskets and have recently moved their production facility to London Food Incubator in Old East Village.
Dave Glen is the owner and I was lucky enough to chat to him as he was hand pouring a fresh batch of raspberry jam. He’s proud and passionate about his small business and refreshingly has no social media so you won’t find Glen Farms on Instagram or Facebook. It’s old school. Go to the shop, see him making the jam, buy a jar of jam.
Visit Glen Farms at 630 Dundas Street or click here for their website.
2. The Harvest Pantry
The Harvest Pantry are third generation fermenters producing raw unpasteurised fermented vegetable products in London, Ontario. Using time honoured methods and traditional recipes their specialities are kimchi and sauerkraut which they sell at three different farmers markets in the region, including London Farmers’ and Artisans Market.
According to the owner Valerie, kimchi and sauerkraut can be added to all manner of dishes for a spicy kick including fish, meat, chicken, burgers, soup, stew, tacos, omelettes, noodles, guacamole, and even pizza!
Turkey leftovers on Boxing Day? The apple fennel sauerkraut sounds like the perfect accompaniment and was one of the first additions to my Handmade in London Hamper.
Visit The Harvest Pantry website here.
3. Pillitteri Estates Winery
Pillitteri Estate Winery is based in Niagara on the Lake and their wines are available locally in London for tasting and buying at Covent Garden Farmers Market on Thursday’s and Saturday’s, come rain or shine. I added a bottle of Pillitteri Pinot to the Hamper for some festive cheer.
Pilliteri Winery is a true family business with generational roots in Italy, immigration to Niagara, farming land and producing fruit. They opened their winery in 1993 and harvest grapes from 100 acres of vineyards. Everyone in the family is involved in their business in some way from founder Gary, to his children and grandchildren.
Visit Pillitteri Estates Winery here or go to their stall at Covent Garden Farmers Market.
4. Fire Roasted Coffee Company
Fire Roasted Coffee Company have multiple cafe locations dotted all over the city and provide coffee catering and coffee trucks at different events and markets. It’s almost impossible to come to London and not drink Fire Roasted Coffee which is great because it tastes delicious and their cafes all have their own distinct vibe.
Locally owned, Fire Roasted coffee blends are batch roasted in their London Incubator roastery in Old East Village, just down from where Dave Glen makes his jam (see above). To celebrate the Holiday’s, Fire Roasted made a special “Holiday Blend” with notes of rum, cinnamon and molasses. It tastes really good and is easy to drink so I added a bag of freshly ground coffee to my Handmade in London Hamper.
5. Annie’s Chocolates
Annie’s Chocolates is a locally owned business in the London area. It’s founding location in Arva sells a massive array of handmade chocolate, chocolate dipped butter tarts, brownies, ice cream (in the summer) smoothies, coffee, popcorn and gift baskets.
Annie’s chocolates recently opened a second location in Kilworth which I visited to buy some chocolate and popcorn for the Hamper and some butter tarts to take to the UK with me for Christmas. The shop is a treasure trove of chocolate goodies and the service is amazing…..plus the chocolate tastes ridiculously good……..so much so that some of it didn’t make it into the Hamper!
Visit Annie’s Chocolates on Facebook.
6. Booch Organic Kombucha
Booch is a local London success story with the owners winning Ontario wide awards for their products and entrepreneurship. Available in many cafes, markets and grocers around the city, Booch also have their own store in Dundas in Old East Village.
Booch is said to aid digestion and promote a healthy immune system and let’s face it, at this time of year we can all do with as much help as possible to promote our gut health.
Booch handmake their kombucha in London and mix up their blends depending on availability of seasonal, local, organic and fair trade produce. I added the Booch Gingerbread Season Brew to my Handmade in London Hamper.
Click here to find out more about Booch Organic Kombucha
Bruhouse is a new London based business selling coffee from Nicaragua, tea from China, manual brewing wares from Japan and handmade mugs from right here in London, Ontario. Plus the owners wife makes amazing AIJA soy candles.
The Bruhouse online boutique is beautiful with items chosen because they are as much a pleasure to use as they are to look at. I included their Mint Chocolate tea in the hamper because it tastes like an After Eight with every sip but without the calories. Win win!
Visit Bruhouse.ca here.
8. London Brewing Coop
London Brewing Coop is the ultimate local London business and the first worker’s cooperative brewery outside Quebec. An Old East Village based microbrewery that is worker owned, uses local ingredients and has community at the heart of everything it does aiming to create an industry around local brewing in London, Ontario.
I chose to add their Tolpuddle Porter to my Handmade in London Hamper. Husband thought he as going to get to drink it – bad luck! We’ll just have to have another trip to their lovely taproom to sample some more of their handmade brews.
Visit London Brewing Coop at 521 Burbrook Place or click here.
9. Petit Paris Bakery
Petit Paris Bakery is based in Covent Garden Market and showcases a mouthwatering display of freshly baked pastries, cakes, crepes, macaroons, warm quiche and sandwiches. The founders acquired a mass of cooking, baking and pastry knowledge prior to setting up Petit Paris Bakery. Their founding retail patisserie was a success and they expanded to wholesale, supplying some of London’s best restaurants, hotels and catering companies.
I thought my Handmade in London Hamper needed something a little more fun and colourful so I added some gorgeously decorated Petit Paris Bakery gingerbread biscuits. They had a great selection including gingerbread men, women, stars, trees and baubles. I tied a little ribbon on each packet for colour and they made the hamper pop!
Visit Petit Paris Bakery at Covent Garden Market or click here.