SpiceCityTo

Exploring strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best international food

Monday, February 7, 2011

Want to drop $1,000 on a package of saffron? Head to this wonderful Persian superstore

Imagine a bulk barn of quality Persian delights and you'll get the rough idea of Tavazo, located at 7345 Yonge Street north of Steeles.

I was tipped off about this place by Alex, the friendly owner Memories of Africa, a South African store on Eglinton East. Tavazo is packed with high quality nuts and dried fruits and other oddities. The claim to fame here is the tasty pistachios, which come from Iran and California.


All photos in this post by Dana Lacey


Tavazo has been in Toronto for eight years, says the owner, Nathan Tavazo. It has been a family business in Iran for decades. There's also another location at 10309 Yonge St in Richmond Hill.

The pistachios don't disappoint, and there's also a wonderful selection of dates. Each barrel is labelled with the name of the city in Iran where the dates were grown.


Mr. Tavazo
The lovely clerks Tara and Sama
There were a bunch of strange items that I had to try. Roasted watermelon seeds with oregano (kind of sour), jujube fruit (a prune-like dried fruit), and mulberries (tasted a bit like strawberry marshmallow candy). There was also saffron candy, a rock hard type of sugar candy.
Saffron candy
Dried kiwi
Tamarind
Turkish delight
The most spectacular item was the package of saffron that is kept under this counter for safe keeping. Saffron is a spice that is made out of the parts of a crocus and is used to make the wonderfully fluffy Persian rice. It sells at $5,000 a kilo, so this package of 200 grams will set you back $1,000. This saffron is purchased by Iranian and Italian restaurants.

Saffron


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