I can see Maple Leaf Gardens from my balcony. When the flagship Loblaws emporium opened inside the countries most famous hockey arena I realized I lived a hop, skip, and a jump from Canada’s most extravagant grocery store. My ears perked when I heard they had installed an 18 foot tall “Cheese Wall” and knew I had to get in touch with their PR people.
After chatting with the PR peeps at Loblaws we selected a date for a formal cheese tasting. I also invited two friends who I knew would be interested: Joshua from The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and freelance food writer and photographer Karolyne Ellacott. We arrived just after lunch mid week and were greeted by Julie, Loblaws PR pro and Gurth, the companies Senior Category Manager for Deli Cheese (aka the Cheese Guy).
I had requested a selection of cheeses with a focus on local Ontario products (for our friends at OCTA). Gurth did an excellent job at educating the group about each cheese with a little background history on the producer and particular style. The cheeses were sampled with dried figs and dates, grapes, berries and baguette. After we had taken our cheese tour with Gurth we were given samples of each cheese to take home.
While nibbling on cheese I vented to Gurth about my frustration with sourcing pork rillettes in Toronto. I had recently enjoyed a birthday dinner which featured a cheese board that I was so hoping to compliment with rillettes. I told him about how I had anxiously run around the city looking high and low from epicurean retailers to the St Lawrence Market with no luck. He chirped in, “we have a policy here at Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens: You want it. We get it.”
I absolutely adored the idea of getting whatever I want, who doesn’t? He promised me he would do his best to source the product for me. A few months later (after several check ins on my part) I was over the moon when I was advised that they were now caring three different varieties of rillettes imported from France. I am now featured on their You Want It, We Get It board at the main entrance of the store (which makes me feel a little famous). I tip my hat to the team at Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens for going above and beyond their call of duty and really showcasing what excellent customer service looks like! This is the perfect time of year to enjoy a cheese board with charcutterie and rillettes so run on down to Church and Carleton and grab yourself a few tubs!
Available varities include:
Goose and Figs Rillettes with pork
Goose Rillettes with pork
Orange Duck Rillettes with pork