In the final months of winter, when it seems that the end of the cold weather may never come, we all need a little pick me up or way to treat ourselves. Not to worry, the merchants at St. Lawrence Market are ready to come to the rescue with their ideas for ways to warm up and indulge in gourmet fashion while we wait for the snow to thaw. Their top choices come down to two of the big C’s in comfort food: cheese and chocolate. Although they’ll tell you there is never a bad time for these delicious foods, their ideas for mid-winter merriment will convince you that the best time is now. Your new year’s cleanse is over, it’s time to indulge again.

CHEESE

The Market cheesemongers all agree, the best winter warm-up is a molten cheese based treat. Chris’ Cheesemonger recommends Raclette and Alex Farm Products is fond of fondue. How are these two Swiss cheese based dishes different? Fondue is typically made with emmen- thaler, gruyere and appenzeller cheese, melted in a small pot over a heating element and then enjoyed by dipping small pieces of bread and meat into the delicious cheese mixture. For Raclette, which is the name of the cheese and the dish, a small indoor grill is used to heat potatoes, cured pork and other toppings, as well as the special little pans that melt the cheese. The cheese is then poured over the meat and vegetables to be enjoyed. Looking for the ingredients and equipment for these delicious dishes? The St. Lawrence Market cheese merchants are always eager to assist, and kitchen equipment store, Placewares, has all of the tools you will need.

CHOCOLATE

It doesn’t need to be Valentine’s Day to enjoy a little chocolate. Whether you choose a high-quality dark chocolate bar, a white chocolate mousse cake or a hot cup of milk chocolate cocoa, the Market merchants have a wide variety of unique and traditional chocolate options to choose from. Some of our favourites are the truffles at Aren’t We Sweet, baked goods like brownies at Eve’s Temptations and the best bulk sweets such as salted chocolate almonds at Domino Foods and Peter’s Natural Health Products. It’s been scientifically proven that chocolate can help improve your mood — we’ll let the experts explain how, but we can prove it’s quite delicious.

To discuss more ideas for winter pick me ups, cheese, chocolate or otherwise, visit the merchants of St. Lawrence Market — they may even liven the conversations with some complimentary samples. Directions and regular hours of operation can be found at stlawrencemarket.com.