I’ve been a fan of Toppits “Pop Herbs,” available at local specialty grocery stores, for a long time. They’re fantastic, especially in winter when its tough to grow your own herbs. Toppits is also one of the top suppliers of frozen seafood to the Canadian foodservice, retail, and manufacturing industries. It was only after visiting the Toppits Seafood Market in Vaughan last week did I make the connection that it is the same company.
I was invited to a seafood luncheon and had the opportunity to see the new store during a soft launch — the official opening was December 6th, 2014. Well, I’ve never seen so much mouth-watering fresh fish and shellfish in one place. Refrigerators line the walls, filled to the brim with copious amounts of frozen shrimp, crab, mussels and everyone’s favourite, lobster.
According to Owner Heather Gremont, opening this retail store allows Toppits to expand on its product offering. From ready-made meals to go for busy families to house-made sauces and soups, like the Lobster Bisque, which you can taste in-store along with others. I still remember the creamy bites of Lobster and Steelhead salmon from my tasting last week. After a walkabout in the store, led by Vice President of Sales, John Mauro, I quickly realized that Toppits is so much more than just a seafood market. They offer sauces, pasta, herbs, frozen appetizers such as, Samosas from South Africa, battered fish, and breaded shrimp, imported Italian olive oil, and white serving plates. If you’re looking for recipes, there is a bookshelf devoted to favourite cookbooks coming soon. With the holidays fast approaching, I’m sure the Toppits team could easily help you put together a seafood themed gift basket — how perfect!
Fresh Fish Counter
The fresh fish counter showcases an array of fish imported from around the world. Toppits is serious about its fish sources and sustainability. Its partnerships with global organizations (Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Ocean Wise, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA)) reflect that commitment.
Fresh tuna flown in overnight from the Maldives was served to us at lunch and you can see a large piece of it in the fresh fish counter. Fresh salmon, oysters, and branzina join an assortment of marinated fish ready for home cooking.
The Culinary Inspiration Centre
The seafood lunch served in this new space is fabulous. Located next door to the retail store is a state-of-the-art kitchen with steel tables and a built in sunken seafood serving shelf. The Culinary Inspiration Centre is set to open to the public in Spring 2015. The plan is to offer cooking workshops that teach customers the how-to’s on prepping, cooking, and entertaining with seafood.
The centre is run by in-house Executive Chef Doug Robertson with Chef Stephan Schulz and Chef Alanna Fleischer. With a wealth of experience between the three chefs. Toppits is in good hands judging by the amazing dishes we were served at lunch
A Century of Food Experience
Toppits was founded in 1899 by Saul Pillemer who arrived in South Africa at the time of the Gold Mining boom. The environment was ripe for Pillemer to start a business catering to the needs of Johannesburg citizens. In 1976, the family moved to Canada and launched Toppits, now a fourth-generation family business.
Recipe: Holiday Lobster Salad in Wonton Cups
Recipe courtesy of Toppits
Try this decadent appetizer this holiday season! Both the wonton cups and the salad can be prepared in day in advance, so you just need to fill them before serving. Spend more time with family and friends and WOW them with your culinary skills! Use Toppits Claw & Knuckle Meat or Toppits Claw, Knuckle and Leg Meat for a cost effective, but impressive hors d’oeuvre.
20 wonton wrappers
3 tsp olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
1 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
5 Toppits cilantro Pop Herbs
6 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
1 lb Toppits Claw and Knuckle Lobster meat, cut into bite sized chunks
½ cup cucumber, finely diced
¼ cup scallions, sliced very thin
Fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish
Directions: Preheat oven to 375˚F. Coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Brush wonton wrappers on both sides with oil or spray and press into a section of the tin (18 cups) to form a cup shape. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 4 – 6 minutes until tips are golden brown. Allow cups to cool, then remove.
Combine 6 following ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Simply pop cubes into all other ingredients, wait 2 minutes & blend. Add lobster meat, cucumber and scallions to dressing, gently toss and marinate 15-20 mins.
Fill each cup with lobster salad, garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro, and enjoy immediately.
301 Chrislea Road
Canada, L4L 8N4
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post coordinated by Highview Communications. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.