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Uptown Brie, a locally-loved cheese shop near the Yonge and Eglinton area, is bringing back holiday charcuterie spreads and meals to Toronto.
After Covid-19 suspended holiday events last year, founders Serina and Saruka Pararajasingam were looking forward to more gatherings, which will involve lots of cheese and wine in person. They both enjoy creating charcuterie boards and gourmet sandwiches for their community.
Something else they're planning for the holidays are precooked meals that can be easily bought to share with their families. Two options they have are turkey dinner and a roast beef dinner. The turkey dinner comes with sautéed green beans with toasted white sesame seeds, garlic mash, poultry stuffing, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce. The roast beef dinner comes with roast beef (rare or medium rare), sautéed green beans with toasted white sesame seeds, herb roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a beef demi-glace.
They get support from their catering chef Lyla Garcia who used to work at the Big Carrot. For the holidays they also offer an Uptown Brie curated shopping list to help their guests decide what they need, like cheeseboards, cooked turkey, gravy, roasted root vegetables, French green beans and gift baskets.
They offer a variety of cafe items like, walnut and brie or avocado BLT sandwiches, soups, pasta sauces, lasagna, pies, tea and hot chocolate. They even carry locally baked items, like pies from the Pie Commission and homestyle chicken curry and rice (by their mother) which has become a popular request from locals.
Serina initially went to school for criminology and worked as a corrections officer. After getting into an accident and having to recover, she decided to enroll at George Brown College for their Cheese and Wine courses. She always had lots of interest in different cheeses, and felt it would be a great way to spend time while she recovers.
"I started look at leased units in Toronto for fun one day, and one thing led to another and I decided to open up my own cheese cafe," she says. She admits she did not have a business plan at the time and got lots of help from her family to start up the cafe.
Uptown Brie carries a variety of cheese from across Europe. Some speciality cheeses you can find there are Chateau de Bourgone––a smooth triple cream––and Saint Agur blue cheese from France, as well as Beemster Goat––a Dutch style cheese––Drunken Goat from Spain and a unique cheese from Holland, Lavendel, with flavours of pesto and lavender.
Find them on 11 Castlefield Avenue in Toronto, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.