Hidden Gems Of Kingston: Cookes

By Veronica Saroli (ArtSci ‘ 14)
Staff Writer

Stepping into Cookes delicatessen takes you back to 1865, the year it opened. You’re immediately reminded of a scene from Willy Wonka or Harry Potter as you step into the warm and cozy atmosphere, complete with old wood floors that squeak under your feet and dark wood paneling that houses overflowing shelves of gourmet products.

Cookes is famous for their coffee and imported British Cadbury chocolate, which contains less wax than American chocolate. With such a wide selection of products to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start. As a regular Cookes customer, here are tasty products I recommend:

Sweet
If there was a taxonomy of addictive sweets, Fraktals would be at the top. Fraktals are chocolate covered butter-crunch toffee with chopped cashews sprinkled on top. Consider yourself warned. $5.95 for a small bag, $19.75 for a large.

Béquet Caramels are a real treat and take your average caramel to new heights, with the addition of Celtic sea salt that heightens the butter caramel flavour. Once skeptical of the salt-caramel-chocolate combination, these sweet treats had me eating my words within the first bite. Soft butter caramel and chocolate caramel are also offered. $10.40 for a bag.

Whenever the slightest symptom of a cold presents itself, ginger chews are a great go-to thanks to ginger’s healing properties. Spicy and sweet, the original flavour is a favorite (Cookes is currently waiting for the next shipment) but the ginger apple variety is also a nice treat on a cold day! $5.50 for a bag.

Savory
Nothing says gourmet like a splash of truffle oil. Urbani truffle oil is a cheaper way to get the truffle flavour without splurging on an actual truffle. Try a spinach salad dressed in truffle oil and balsamic vinegar or add a few drops into mac and cheese to add gourmet flare to your next meal. $17.50 a bottle.

Another way to inject some gourmet into your cooking? Change up your mustard! Offering up a multiplicity of varieties of spicy, sweet or savory mustards, Canadian brand Kozlik’s provides many options to enhance your typical sandwich or salad dressing. Check out the Kozlik website for recipe ideas such as BBQ chicken with ginger and orange glaze or mustard fried chickpeas. $8.30 per bottle.

If you’re tired of Kraft singles or Tex Mex, head to the cheese counter at the back of Cookes and try their illustrious aged cheddar. Or get a sample of cheeses to make your evening a little more lavish with a cheese plate! Cheddar is approximately $6.50 per 100 grams.

Cookes is located at 61 Brock Street.

Photos by Katherine Wright.

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