Charm your taste buds in Forest Hill

[attach]3078[/attach]’Tis the season to, well, eat.

And there’s lots of foodie retail happening in various parts of our Forest Hill coverage area. Interestingly enough, each newsy tidbit signals a return to a natural or more simple way of doing things – which means more holiday indulgences for us, yay!

Seasonal shortbread

She’s a busy lady, between her community work and raising a wee one, but Eglinton and Avenue Road area resident Jayne Miles Simpson is back this holiday season with her famous shortbread cookies.

Mrs. Simpson’s Cookies are as simple as they can get: they’re handmade with butter, corn starch, sugar and flour and contain no additives.

Made in a commercial kitchen in the area, the cookies have a shelf life of three months, Miles Simpson tells me – they start off soft and just get crispier the longer you keep ’em.

Miles Simpson whipped up her biz about five years ago after living in the Bahamas, where holiday treats were scarce. She started making the shortbread there for friends and family, and the cookies became so popular she turned them into a seasonal business.

Cookies can be ordered five days in advance through the chef herself, and the bonus for Forest Hill area folk: they can be delivered, too. December 22 is the final day of deliveries.

If you’re more of a last minute person, you can also pick up the sweets this year at La Salumeria on 2021 Yonge Street for the holiday season only. Prices range from $10-$25 and new this year is cranberry shortbread, yum.

I try a regular shortbread and it’s melt-in-your-mouth delish.

Allergy-friendly goodies

Meanwhile in the Upper Village, Caroline Davis and Karen Freilich-Miller are putting the finishing touches on their first ever retail location, which will open just after Christmas – and I’m happy to say the old Alex Farms location is now occupied and is in the process of being fully renovated.

[url=]Two Moms Baked Goods[/url] has operated out of a location on Bathurst near Lawrence for two years, but Davis tells me they’ve grown so quickly they need a larger space, and one that doesn’t just accommodate wholesale orders.

Where the old space sold custom orders on a by-appointment basis, the new location will feature a café and retail bakery where people can buy the same treats that Two Moms have built their reputation on: 100 percent nut-free, Kosher nutritional baked snacks.

There will also be a steady roster of kids’ baking classes in the lower level of the new space.

If you can’t wait for the opening, you can pick up your nut-free snacks at Forest Hill foodie joints like Nortown, Pusetaris, and Dave Young Fruit Market.

970 Eglinton Avenue West, 416-783-7200 [url=][/url]

Fab Fro Yo

[attach]3079[/attach]If you’re into more of a cool nosh, slide on over to the Annex, where Hollywood fro yo fave has been open since the beginning of November.

[url=]Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt[/url] is the first Toronto location of the frozen yogurt franchise that started in California and now has a celebrity cult following.

Brothers Michael and David Shneer are the master franchisers in Canada and own the Annex location. Michael tells me he was skeptical about the whole fro yo trend until he went to L.A. and was exposed to the Menchie’s experience – after that he was hooked.

The product itself is different from many, he tells me: it’s fat and gluten-free and Kosher and contains real bacterial culture – the brothers work with an Ontario dairy to make their fro yo to their specs, I’m told – and there are over 100 flavours available (18 at any given time in the store) along with 50-plus toppings.

The concept, too, is all about the experience: instead of the traditional counter service where you order your treat and someone else prepares it for you, here you serve yourself and pay for your treat by weight (49 cents an ounce).

I love the green and hot pink colours and the fun vibe of the place; truly the idea is to play as you can sample the fro yo before you buy and then write your comments on a circular blackboard if you choose.

I try the candy cane flavour, in store only for the season, and it’s yummy, and the Creamsicle isn’t too sweet.

Will have to go back for the gingerbread.

511 Bloor Street West, 416-645-0222 [url=][/url]