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Sarah Elton's Food Picks of 2013

Over the last twelve months, I've been eating my way across the city and telling the stories behind the foods we eat for my food column on CBC Radio's Here and Now. And what foods and flavours I've tasted! So I thought I'd make a list of the places I've visited in case you want to check them out too.

I really appreciate good bread and had to stop myself from turning this column into one about bread. At Cliffside Hearth, one of this city's many new bakeries that I wanted to talk about, they make levain breads from scratch: 3047 Kingston Rd, 416-261-1010

Come to think of it, I like baking, generally speaking. Particularly the exquisite baked goods at Forno Cultura where they recreate old Italian recipes and help to keep a food culture alive: 609 King Street West. www.fornocultura.com

And February will never be just February again. Cardamom scented Swedish Semla Buns are traditionally made during this cold, dark month. The Beaches Bakeshop and Café offers them at 900 Kingston Road near Victoria Park.

Want a cup of tea with that?

The owner of The House of Tea was a tea taster in Sri Lanka before coming to Toronto, where she now imports all sorts of teas from distant (warmer) tea growing lands. 1015-1017 Yonge Street, at Rosedale Station, http://houseoftea.ca/main/

Looking for lunch?

The Blue Fig at 555 University Avenue brings deliciousness and, well, just darn good food, made from scratch to a hospital food court. Yes, that's right! You can eat from scratch Middle Eastern Food at the Sick Kids' food court, just off University.

Or are you looking for a homecooked dinner that you don't have to make yourself? Stop in at Le Depanneur to see what one of their community chef's has cooked up for the evening meal. You can eat in or take out at this restaurant alternative. They're at 1033 College Street.

I visited Hibiscus at 238 Augusta Avenue, when I was researching my column on quinoa. They make an incredible salad with this delicious and popular ingredient.

Over the last year, it seems I succumbed to many cravings for cool, iced treats:

In the PATH system, under the Bay Adelaide Centre, you can find deKefir. It's a small café where they serve the fermented milk product kefir--similar to yoghurt. They offer kefir parfaits for breakfast as well as frozen soft serve style kefir. I've gone back many times since for the frozen kefir topped with toasted coconut.

We are one step closer to being a world class city now that we have ... bicycle delivered gelato! Find out where you can find Be Good Gelato's bike on twitter: @begoodgelato or online.

Another cool treat I enjoyed this summer was the Filipino dessert called halo halo (a.k.a. mix mix drink) from Casa Manila. Yum! 879 York Mills.

And then there was hot sauce. Fermented hot sauce, to be exact, made from organically grown vegetables at Vicki's Veggies farm in Prince Edward County. Find out which farmers' market they sell at:

After interviewing Rebekka Hutton at the Alchemy Pickle Company, I'm hooked on her fermented pickles and kombucha. She can be found at farmers markets and stores in city.

For my supermarket series, I visited:

The Korean supermarket plus plus: Galleria at 865 York Mills Road (they also are found at 7040 Yonge Street).

Adonis Supermarket where they make pita fresh in a giant pita making machine imported from the Middle East. 1240 Eglinton Ave W, Mississauga.

Ocean's Supermarket where they sell Asian foods as well as ingredients for many other cuisines: 4557 Hurontario Street, Mississauga.

If you're looking for a food (and plant) themed outing, I visited the Toronto Botanical Gardens: 777 Lawrence Avenue East.

I talked about several innovative food projects on-going in the city:

High school students at Eastdale are farming on the roof! Look for their School Grown Food in stores, restaurants and farmers' markets next season:

I visited the fascinating Albion Hills Community Farm where they run a number of programs including a CSA.

And I liked Fred D's Bees story of raising bees for an urban honey CSA so much that I joined it myself:

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