That’s Italian! The joys of Vaughan

(Canscene) — Frequently, Anne and I drive up from Toronto to Vaughan to shop. Actually, it’s not that far away from Downtown TO, a 40-minute drive on good days. While there, we invariably visit four special places.

First, lunch at Emilia and Cosimo’s Grappa, an unassuming trattoria whose hot table offers a variety of hearty fare. For light lunchers like us their bruschetta is a fabulous gathering of chopped tomatoes on a toasted Kaiser and if we’re really lucky, rice balls and sauce are on the menu. Top that with a multicoloured sweet pepper salad and you’ve banqueted like royalty. Grappa is situated at a tiny strip mall on the south side of Langstaff Road, immediately east of Longo’s.

Then round the corner to Only Pasta at 457 Jevlan Drive, a small retail establishment fronting a factory making what is arguably Canada’s finest fresh pasta with an amazing number of filled pastas: tortellini, ravioli, agnolotti, cannelloni and manicotti. We go for the veal filled agnolotti, half moon shapes lager than the regular ravioli. You may have noticed Only Pasta trucks delivering to restaurants in the GTA.

Then down Chrislea Boulevard to Magnotta Winery to visit the flagship store of a unique enterprise in Canadian wine history.

David vs. Goliath! Gabe and Rossana Magnotta who had for years been selling grape juice to home winemakers, were going to sell wine from their own vineyards in Niagara country when the Ontario Liquor Control Board went back on its promise to carry the product in their stores. Taking advantage of the fact that if you sell direct from a winery, it’s legal in Ontario, the Magnottas opened a series of wineries in the GTA and Cambridge. Some of their blends of Canadian and Chilean grapes are amazing especially the Carmenere and Shiraz at just over $8.00 a bottle. And a California blend Chardonnay at the same price is equally good.

Finally to Seafood Depot at 81 Aviva Park Drive, just off Weston Road south of Highway 7. Under a high ceiling this massive operation offers live fish and fresh fish and shellfish in abundance, plus rows and rows of frozen fish lockers with fruits of the sea from the world over. There’s a small section selling Italian groceries and an area reserved for pots, pans, cutlery and dinnerware.

For day-to-day use we bought some excellent, large brightly coloured plates from Italy for a half dollar each and on a visit from England, my brother bought a length of brightly patterned oilcloth for his barbecue table.

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