What could make the fall season more perfect? Long autumn walks through crispy crunchy leaves, chunky woolen sweaters, netflix by the fire while you are wrapped up in a big fluffy blanket..What is missing? A giant perfect cup of hot steaming tea of course! Many of you will already know that I am an Irish lady who has been here for a decade. What you might not know is just what tea means to me. The perfect cup is like a warm hug from your Mom or your best friend. Back home in Ireland when someone has a problem, it is solved over tea, no not always whiskey and pints like some of you may like to think :). When you get together for a chat with your friends and neighbours, it is awlays over tea and even better by a hot and comforting fire. 10 years ago it was difficult to find my favourite brand, Barry’s Tea. Thank the good Lord some great west end stores have noticed the demand and I am now spoiled for choice. Spoiler alert, you can now find my beloved Barry’s in The Kingsway, Bloor West Village, Baby Point & Swansea.
Say Tea has called Bloor West Village home since 1988 (ironically the year I was born). Loving this place was meant to be. They stock Barry’s Tea red label and green. Both are fantastic and transport me home with the first sip. The owners and staff are so friendly. Of course I would recommend the Barrys but they do have an amazing selection of every tea you could possible think of. Their cute selection of teapots, cups and giftware is an added bonus. Here is a little excerpt from their website which is pure poetry to me.
“Say Tea is an independent specialty tea shop that has been owned and operated by tea lovers since its inception. It is a rare (or busy!) day when the owner and staff are found without a cup of tea on the go — or at least one ready to be brewed! We drink tea first and foremost for the pleasure of it: the tastes, the warmth, the memories, and everything that can be conjured up from the simple act of brewing a cuppa”.
Flowers & More in Baby Point is life for any Irish & UK people who get stung when the homesickness hits hard. They have a brilliant selection of Irish and British food brands. I am talking, Tayto, McVities, Cadbury’s, all those speciality biscuits and cakes we grew up loving the most, jams, marmalades and condiments. Most importantly they have my Barry’s Tea as well as many other popular Irish & British tea favourites. Bonus, they have beautiful floral arrangements and plants.
Brunos Fine Foods in The Kingsway is a fantastic grocer. They have an incredible butchers and great baked goods – try the butter tarts to go along with your tea. Brunos has been a family favourite in The Kingsway for many years. I do a lot of my groceries here, they always have everything I need and they have recently started to stock my beloved Barry’s Tea which has further solidified my loyalty to this neighbourhood gem.
The Cheese Boutique in Swansea, just south of Bloor West Village is hands down one of the best things about living in Toronto West. If you have never been, you simply need to go, like now, immediately after you have read this blog. It is a feast for the senses. They have every single delicious speciality food you have ever thought of. The bakery is sensational, probably the nicest bread I have ever had in Canada, the fresh pasta and sauces are incredible and can help you cheat at your next dinner party, but you didn’t hear that here. I can’t even talk about their cheese selection here (yes they have some great Irish options but I will save gushing over that for another blog). They have an incredible tea selection (and a wonderful array of delicious chocolates to go alongside your cuppa). Yes they have Barry’s and now that they do I will be making my visits even more frequent. Also a huge shout out to Afrim Pristine who is a fantastic local entrepreneur who gives back to his community. You can learn more about him here.
Now that you know where go to find the best tea in Toronto West I’m hoping you will put on the fire, wrap yourself up in a big cosy blanket and enjoy the simple pleasure of the perfect cuppa all fall and winter long. If you don’t know how to make your brew completely perfect, give me a shout and I’ll come and show you. I have been crafting the perfect cup since the early nineties 🙂