Spend Locally

SLlogo200SpendLocally.ca was a site I ran for several years, promoting local services and business that I came across in my daily life. I've since retired the site, and moved the posts so they can live on at arianek.com. I may from time to time add new posts about local businesses, and you can always get directly to them by visiting the SpendLocally.ca URL, which will redirect you to the list of posts here.

Originally founded by Trish Tacoma and Julie Higginson in Victoria, Smoking Lily has now been around for over a decade and grown to have a sister store in Vancouver (yipee!). While their clothing, accessories, and home decor are made from great high quality fabrics, and cut to flatter, what makes them instantly recognizable is the screenprinted designs that set them apart from the rest.

Smoking Lily

You know what I love? I LOVE me some fine tasty desserts! But people are always filling their tasty sweets full of dairy and gluten and things that are on the ick list, and so I have a long standing dessert deficit... I mean, if it weren't for soy ice cream and gelato, I don't know what I would have done this long! But some days a frozen desert just isn't what you're looking for. What's a girl to do? Two words: Chi Cake.

Chi Cake

Salt Spring Gelato is a small artesian gelato and sorbet company on Salt Spring Island--their claim to fame: being (as far as I know) the only Canadian company wholesaling organic gelato and sorbetto. Pretty cool stuff! They also use the most high quality ingredients they can get their hands on, local and organic whenever possible, including using certified organic milk from the island and from Avalon dairy in their gelato. Some of their flavourings like their chai gelato and black currant gelato come from other small businesses on the island, as it's one of their priorities to help support the other farmers and producers in their community. Their sorbettos are dairy-free, which makes them great for vegans and those with food allergies. They are even a carbon-neutral [Wikipedia] company, and work with Lifecycles' Fruit Tree Project--how cool is that?!

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When I started working on the edge of Gastown in the early spring, I had noticed Nuba across the street--kinda hard to tell what was going on there from the outside, but my workmates insisted it was a good place. But you see, I can hardly eat ANYWHERE. I've got a shwack (yes, a schwack) of food allergies, and it is incredibly difficult for me to find any restaurants where I can eat more than just salad.

So I saw it there across the street on a daily basis, but thought surely it can't be any more accomodating than the usual places. In May, Beyond Robson featured an article on Nuba, and a great article at that, full of praise. And still, I thought, surely I will just be disappointed if I go in...

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One of my favorite stops at the market has not been a produce stand at all (although they are wonderful, of course!), but Maison Cote. You'll know it when you see the rows of sacs of flavoured salts, and the bottles of vinegars gleaming away. If you come in for a look, I assure you, you will be amazed by the variety and sheer drool factor.

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Update: Sadly the Bad Girl Chocolates website no longer seems to work, so I can only assume they've closed shop.

There are a good number of local chocolate companies around here, most specialize in chocolate bars, many have dairy free options. But my favorite find in the last couple years is Bad Girl Chocolates. These chocolates are AMAZING, in particular the truffles, and not only that, a lot of them are vegan (ie. dairy free so I can eat them, yay!). My favourites so far are the pomegranate truffle, and the the chai truffle (which I don't think is actually available anymore), but the five-spice is also really good.

bad girl chocolates

Trevor Walker, Plenty, Victoria

Last time I was in Victoria, in the early spring of this year, I discovered what is now one of my all-time favourite food shops. I can't really call it a grocery store, even though with the variety of foods available there, it could qualify as one, but it's more of a gourmet food shop, or maybe a food lover's equivalent of a kid in a candy store. When I first walked into Plenty, the thing that blew me away was that there were so many things there that I'd never seen before! I've shopped in a lot of crazy food stores across the country, and seriously, this is one of the best.

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