Summer is the perfect time to experiment and try new things. We scoured the city to find some great products to bring to your culinary adventures this summer. From the kid-friendly Zoku ice-pop molds to the just-for-grown-ups edible gummy-making kits, we’ve got you covered for your summertime fun!

By Wanda Baker

Yuzu pressed evoo

Our new favourite olive oil

Sampling and testing new olive oils in recipes is a fun pastime for us. That is why when Gail Norton, of The Cookbook Co. Cooks shows you a new olive oil in her store and raves about it, you know it is going home with you. Yuzu is a citrus grown in Japan, Korea and China and is prized for its unique and intense sour flavour. It can easily replace citrus in most recipes and cocktails. The fruit itself is not easy to find locally, however Yuzu Ponzu sauce or yuzu juice has become more common in specialty stores. Yuzu Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the brainchild of Paula Garcia Casas, co-owner of O-Med, a small family owned olive grove and mill in southern Spain. The skins of the yuzu are pressed with O-Med’s arbequina olives resulting in a fragrant and surprisingly delicious citrus oil. Try this olive oil in marmalades, desserts, on seafood, grilled vegetables, vinaigrettes, cocktails, sprinkled on soup, avocado toast, or a hot pizza fresh out of the oven. Gail tells us it’s delicious drizzled on cabbage with a sprinkle of sea salt. We think she’s right.

O-Med Yuzu Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil | The Cookbook Co. Cooks | $33.95

We all scream for ice cream

Making popsicles has never been easier with the Ice Pops Molds. We are completely in love with the line of frozen-treat makers from Zoku. Pops can be made using yogurt, smoothies, even fruit juice in seven minutes or less. Even better, electricity is not required to make these pops so let the kids have at ‘er! The Slush & Shake Maker will have you blending fruit or juices, milks, coffees, sodas, even energy drinks. Or maybe you are thinking what I’m thinking – alcohol-infused slushies! Of all the Zoku products available, we sure do like the Ice Cream Maker. Make individual portions of ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt, gelato or sorbet in 10 minutes or less. Since they are individual portions, we recommend getting one for each member of the family to avoid ice cream fights. Top your readymade creations with fruit, candy, even brownie chunks. Say hello to your new favourite summer hobby.

Zoku Products | Zest Kitchenware | $13.00 – $90.00

Zoku products
Thai Manna Curry Kit

Curry in a hurry

One of many positives to come out of our world pandemic is more cooking at home in creative ways. While you may prefer to eat out or order in, you cannot deny the convenience of the large variety of take-home kits that have popped up in restaurants and cafes. Kits provide all the ingredients you need to cook a tasty meal at home, offer a unique date night, time with your partner or an opportunity to get the kids involved in the kitchen. Thai Manna was started by Michelle Chick, following her travels through Thailand. Inspired by the tastes and smells of the food she ate in Thailand, she began cooking Thai food when she returned home. This inspiration eventually led to the creation of these Thai take-out kits. The kits come in two sizes, and include homemade curry paste, rice or noodles and carefully measured Thai ingredients. You provide your favourite vegetables and protein to complete the meal. The instructions are simple, and easy to follow ensuring a quick, tasty meal. Thai Manna curry kits are available in the Avenida Food Hall & Fresh Market or online

Thai Curry Kits | Thai Manna | $15.00 – $23.00

An edibles experience

There’s never been a better time to partake in the art of making edible cannabis gummy candy. Since we’ve all been spending time at home baking and cooking up a storm, we’ve been branching out of the norm and partaking in unusual take-home kits. Paracanna gummy-making kits come with everything you need, except cannabis oil, to make adult gummies. Each kit contains a silicone mold and dropper, gummy mix to create fifteen gummies, finishing sugar, a dosing table, step-by-step instructions and is available in five unique flavours. You provide the cannabis oil to complete the kit and in 24 hours your gummies will be ready to sample. Once you’ve purchased an original kit, you need only to buy refills. If you have kids you are going to want to keep them far out of reach, label them and store in the refrigerator in child safe containers for a couple of weeks or freezer for several months as per the instructions. These gummies are available online at or the retailers listed below.

Zen Zingers | Skip The Bong Shops, Hempisphere, Hemp Roots, Heady Gallery, Green Thumbs, Bongs & Such Ltd., Quick Grow Supercentre | $13.00 – $47.00

Paracanna edibles kit
pizza baking steel

It might steel your heart

Is pizza really pizza without a crispy crust? We’ve been playing with the Vermont Castings pizza-baking steel available from Canadian Tire and come to the conclusion we can finally get rid of our pizza stone. The steel is heavy, like the stone, but it has a high thermal conductivity which means the heat moves quickly from the steel’s surface to whatever it touches. It can get to really high temperatures and give off heat as it absorbs heat, unlike the stone. At six minutes or less in an oven turned on to maximum heat, you end up with a crispy, chewy pizza crust. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who is known for investigating and sharing the science behind different cooking techniques, raves about this product. Even better, its more than a pizza maker. Use it to make bread, pretzels, naan, grilled cheese sandwiches, even as a griddle on your stove top or barbecue for bacon and eggs. Move over wood-fired pizza oven, the pizza steel is here to stay.

Vermont Castings Square Pizza Baking Steel | Canadian Tire | $49.99