Welcome back to Let’s Eat! Downtown Milton Series! Today, I checked out a store that I have been dying to see, Casa Toscana. The store’s mantra is “We bring Tuscany home to you”, so I was pretty excited to see what the store has to offer. I could use a nice vacation, after all.
Casa Toscana has two locations- one in Milton and the other in Grimsby. Casa Toscana’s flagship store in Grimsby was established in 2009 when a few friends decided to bring the fresh, rustic taste of Italy to Ontario, and thank goodness they did! Casa Toscana opened its very first extra virgin olive oil and balsamic bar in Canada, and the Milton location (located in the heart of Downtown Milton) was opened 2014.
The Extra Virgin Olive oils are cold pressed – which means there was no heat used to during the olive oil extraction process. This ensures that the olive oil can retain its nutritional integrity during its production. This processed sets it far apart from the lower quality olive oils that you’ll find on the shelves at chain grocers. Little known fact– unlike wine, olive oil does not age well, and the seasoned (pun!) professionals at Casa Toscana know this very well. And for this reason all their olive oils are hastily sent over to Ontarian shelves immediately after they’ve left their Italian production facilities. When it comes to the fresh ingredients often used in Italian cuisine, timing is everything.
The flavour-rich olive oils are great for basting meats and making salad dressings. Casa Toscana store offers a mind-boggling selection of olive oil flavours including: Sicilian Blood orange, Sorrrento Lemon, Tuscan Rosmary & Calabrian hot pepper! These are all hot sellers, so make sure you grab a bottle of each. I tried a few during my visit, and my goodness… these oils are just so crisp and clean. My next roast chicken will be getting the “Tuscan rosemary olive oil” spa treatment. It’ll be the happiest roasted chicken ever.
And then there’s Casa Toscana’s balsamic vinegar. I was at the pearly gates of balsamic heaven when I tasted theirs. Just go ahead and throw away the bottle you got from the chain grocer. It just doesn’t come close. Believe me. Casa Toscana sells “Tradizionale” Balsamic Vinegar, which hails from the Modena region of Italy. This type of balsamic vinegar utilizes an age-old, time-honoured traditional method of production and, unlike the cheaper but more common balsamic vinegars. Tradizionale Balsamic Vinegar is produced from cooked grape must and is protected under the European Protected Designation of Origin system. That’s right– it nearly has the food equivalent of diplomatic immunity. It is that important. This fine vinegar is then aged in wooden barrels, and absolutely shuns the use of additives or artificial colouring. It’s a rare flavour of uncorrupted, Mediterranean excellence. The aged balsamic ranges from 1 to 9 years in age. If you leave the store with one item only, get the 5 year-old balsamic! You can thank me later.
You can’t have an Italian food store without pastas! But these aren’t your traditional pastas. Very unique and fun flavours are offered, including: poison ivy, chianti wine, ink squid, orange, lemon, saffron, beets & spinach! As a hiker, I’m very curious about the poison ivy pasta!
Another great food item Casa Toscana sells are their Imported Cheeses from Italy. They have the usual Parmigiano Reggiano and mozzarella, but have you tried cheese that have been aged in a cave for 120 days? And is covered in hay? Didn’t think so!
Casa Toscana has a very loyal customer base in Milton and I can totally understand why! I was very impressed by the products that were sold in their small, but carefully-stocked store in downtown Milton. This is a store that all foodies need to check out– even if you don’t live in Milton. The best way to describe Casa Toscana is AUTHENTIC, a rarity in today’s hectic, competitive marketplace of fine ingredients. They really shine through their high quality, delicious items. But be warned, you will never go back to buying cheese, olive oil, or balsamic from your local grocery stores once you’ve tried Casa Toscana’s selections!