Shop in Toronto for traditional Persian New Year items

During Persian New Year (first day of spring), known as Nowruz, it’s tradition to set up a table called the “haft-seen.” Seven symbolic items starting with the Farsi letter “s” – with few additions like gold fishes and decorative eggs – are placed on the table to bring wealth, health and happiness to the new year. Guests also get together for sweets and tea for 13 days of festivity. Here’s where to shop for Nowruz essentials.

Papa Café & Pastry

1
6111 Yonge St, North York, ON M2M 3W2

Papa greets you with a whiff of sweet aroma – the distinct scent of rose water, sugar and spice from traditional Persian pastries. This pastry café in Toronto’s Persian plaza has a variety of goodies to treat your guests during Nowruz celebrations. The ladies often welcome customers with samples that make it hard to resist a purchase. Go big with cakes and cupcakes, or traditional with Persian roulettes and cream puffs, zoolbia bamieh, chickpea cookies, and more. You’ll also find frozen desserts like Persian ice creams and faloodehs. Plus, they have samanu, a sweet paste placed on the haft-seen table.

BB Cafe & Pastry Boutique

2
6095 Yonge St, North York, ON M2M 3W2

Another pastry café on Yonge Street, BB offers a range of pastries, nuts and dried fruits. They have custom and ready-made cakes like cheesecakes, chocolate truffle and jamocha almond flavours, to name a few. They also have loads of sweets like rice, pistachio and chickpea cookies, and sohans (saffron brittle toffee). Traditional snacks like pistachios, figs, mulberries and sunflower seeds are sold here, too. They have Persian ice creams and faloodehs as well. Unlike its more spacious Richmond Hill location, this BB has limited seats for customers to enjoy a hot or cold beverage with a pastry on the premise.

Tavazo

3
7345 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2B3

There’s a festival that takes place the last Wednesday before Nowruz called Chaharshanbe Suri. The night before, Persians jump over fire (said to symbolically remove all sickness and problems) and celebrate with Persian nuts and dried fruits. With that said, Tavazo is the best place to get these items as they’re known for their dried nuts and fruits. You’ll find mixed nuts, pistachios, figs, and other bulk foods in beautiful antique bins. They also have natural dried fruits and homemade cookies at the back. For your haft-seen table, you can find senjed, samanu, sumac, and decorative eggs.

Super Tehran

4
7327 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2B2

Super Tehran is a Persian supermarket located on Glen Cameron Road and Yonge Street. Here you’ll find lots of Iranian-imported products. They have a large selection of teas, including cardamom and saffron. You can even purchase fresh cardamom to put in regular Persian chai (black tea). When you walk in, you’ll see a fridge display with pastries like baklava, roulettes and noughat with pistachios. They also carry a variety of spices, including sumac for your haft-seen. They have a kebab station where you can order to-go and there’s doogh, a popular Persian yogurt-based drink, to complement your meal.

Khorak Supermarket

5
6125 Yonge St, North York, ON M2M 3W8

Khorak Supermarket is open 24 hours, seven days a week, with loads of grocery items – some used in traditional Persian dishes. For your sweet table, there’s Persian napoleon pastries (napeloni), cream puffs and roulettes. They also have Persian ice creams and faloodehs, including mini ice cream cakes. Plus, they’ve got an aisle dedicated to teas with flavours like cardamom, Earl Grey, black, green, and specialty teas. If you’re looking for fresh pomegranates, you’ll find a whole bin of them here, plus some haft-seen items like garlic and senjid. Close to Nowruz, they also stock hyacinth flowers and goldfishes.

Pars Food Canada

6
365 John St, Thornhill, ON L3T 5W5

Although there’s a Pars Food on Yonge Street, I prefer this more spacious location on John Street, between Bayview and Leslie. They’re known for their variety of freshly baked breads that are enjoyed with Persian dishes and breakfast meals, like lavash, barbari, and sweet breads. A week or two before Nowruz, they begin to bring in haft-seen table items like hyacinth flowers and grown sprouts (symbols of spring and rebirth) and goldfishes (symbol of life). They also have sweets like Danish pastries, zoolbia bamieh, traditional Persian cookies, and more.

Le Parc

7
8432 Leslie St, Thornhill, ON L3T 7M6

If you want to get a glimpse into Persian culture, or shop for all your Nowruz items in one go, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Spring Nowruz Bazaar at Le Parc banquet hall from March 15 to 19, 2017. Persian vendors set up booths, selling products, from sweets, ready-made meals, gifts, and more. You'll find Persian bakeries like Papa Café & Pastry, WOW Patisserie, and Ladan Pastry and Nuts. There will also be businesses touting Persian rugs, mosaic art, and fresh flowers, to name a few. Fictional characters Haji Firooz and Amu Nowruz might make an appearance as well.

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