Monday, August 4, 2014

Kitten & the Bear, Parkdale

KITTEN & THE BEAR
1574 Queen Street W
Toronto, ON
M6R 1A6, Canada
Cafe - Specialty Food

On the hunt for a sweet treat and cuppa' tea to further introduce my darling newbie Aussie sister to the city - we took a 25-minute stroll to Kitten & the Bear. Having been warned of the simple, hardly-dining shop, we entered, turning a nostalgic faux glass doorknob to be greeted by a counter a brief three meters away. The cafe, former a shop front from where customers could purchase the Kitten & the Bear's fresh, homemade jams and stocked teas from Sloanes. I am glad that they have found space to fit two tiny tables, making it a delightful spot to sit and catch up with a bud.

Kitten & the Bear is owned by a husband and wife, I admire their passion for the products that they serve, I especially love the homey feel that the place provides. They also had big baskets of both peaches and nectarines plopped in a few corners of the cafe, they all looked so succulent and had us eager to get ordering.

14 Sloane Teas are available for serving up - from the more adventurous, Chocolate Truffle, to the plain ol' Earl Gray Tea. The utensils provided are a teaspoon, and butter knife. You can almost smell the large scones, that were served up to us - one each was just enough for each of us.

Being a party of three, we were asked if we wanted to be set up a perfect platter for the three of us, that way we can try all five jams, and have a scone each - this not only saved us a few dollars, but it was also the perfect amount to satisfy each one of us! 

Otherwise, you can order up:
- Jam Sampler: three Jams, two Scones and Butter or Clotted Cream ($10)
- Scone w/jam and a choice of Artisan Butter or Clotted Cream ($5)

How beautiful the fine China was - artistically hand-picked, every picture was absolutely perfect.

The jams that they have in store aren't always consistent as they focus on sourcing their ingredients locally, the ingredients will always vary upon what is in season. But, it will not be a bummer at all, since you are bound to fall in love with one of the five that they have! On to my lucky spreads, I will list each ones name and description as provided by the sweet-pea, Kitten & the Bear:
1. Clotted Cream
2. Ontario Rhubarb & Vanilla Bean
"Made with outdoor Ontario Rhubarb, picked at the height of its season, this bright, textured preserve is perfect for true Rhubarb lovers! The infusion of whole Vanilla Beans adds a delicate, warm sweetness, rounding out the quintessential tang of Rhubarb."
3. White Peach & Fresh Wild Elderflower
"In this special preserve, California Ice Princess White Peaches are the perfect canvas for fresh foraged Elderflower blossoms for Quebec, which lend their unqiue honey-like fragrance and visual beauty."
4.Strawberry, Rhubarb, Cinnamon & Aperol
"Ontario debuts its summer bounty with the first outdoor Rhubarb of the season! Traditionally blended with Strawberries, anda hint of Cinnamon and Aperol evoke hot summer days and fruit pie."
5. Ontario Strawberry, Apricot & Lime
"Whole Ontario Annapolis-variety Strawberries are blended with rich California apricots in this fruity jam; a fresh grating of lime zest and squeeze of juice at the end of the cooking process gives this jam a summer, popsicle-like spin."
6. Garam Masala Spiced Nectarine
"In this glistening preserve, big, fresh crescents of early season red Nectarines from California are warmed by traditional Garam Masala Spice blend (which includes Clove, Cardamom, Peppercorns, Cumin, Cinnamon and Tumeric)

The Clotted Cream was a real delight that is served to spread onto your daily-made scones, this is an option that you can pick, against plain ol' butter - I definitely recommend going with this! out of the five jams, the two I'd note for absolute recommendations in the future, are the White Peach & Fresh Wild Elderflower and Garam Masala Spiced Nectarine. The White Peach & Fresh Wild Elderflower was, unexpectedly, such a precious flavour - it held it's honey-fragrance, shining these flavours through, with fresh, fine pieces of of White Peach as well. It was acclaimed by my sister and my mate that the Garam Masala Spiced Nectarine was a peculiar flavour, and definitely had to be laid on rice - but this one was strangely another one of my favourites! The Indian Spice blend into such a like-sweet Nectarine, was ingenius! I kept going for more. 

We went for a (boring) Jasmine Tea (by pot, $6), upon a majority-rules kind of decision, it smelt beautiful and was a great, muted flavour to go with the flavoursome Jam and Scones. You can see the fine detail each teacup had - beyond words! The Kitten and The Bear also sells Teapot sets, Sloane Tea and House-made Jams in the most marvelous packaging! I can imagine any of these to be the perfect gift for a Tea or Jam Fanatic. The last shot features all three jams spread onto a piece of Scone, delicious!

We each had a lovely time here, the service was very relaxing and the nibbles that we had were downright fantastic, at a fine cost ($7/ea~)! I cannot wait to bring my beautiful Aunt down here with me, memories of our teatime picnics, laying down a mat in the living room of my grandparent's house when I was nine years old will be lived once again!

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