Covid-19 Safe Shopping Measures

We continue to respond to the changing conditions of the Covid-19 health crisis. As a grocery store we are considered an essential service and therefore will remain open. However, we are taking the following measures to provide safe access to food for our customers. We are now serving our customers through the front door. Please protect yourself and everyone who is part of  The European Pantry community by doing the following when you come:

  • Ring the bell
  • Step back.
  • Tell us your order through the screen door window. We will do our best to provide the product info you need.
  • We will bag your order to hand out to you. Keep your distance when we do that.
  • Pay through the door.  Tap is recommended and usually works through the window. Our debit machine will reach outside.

After you leave I will bleach any surfaces that you may have touched.

We are asking customers who receive their groceries by delivery to have their lists ready to hand out when we come. We will bag up your groceries and bring them to your door. We do this to keep you and everyone safe.

We are making PDF shopping lists to help you access our products better. Below you will find a list for Dutch groceries compiled especially for our customers, many seniors, who receive their groceries via our delivery network because they are unable to come to the store. We will continue to add new lists. We also hope to release a new version of our website in the beginning of April that will allow you to view products and order by email.  

Feel free to call in your shopping list at 905-732-3222 or email us at 

If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us.

General delivery Dutch product list.PDF

General Hungarian Shopping list

General Italian Shopping List

To Europe with Love

It’s that season when we start to think about family farther away.  How can we keep those ties across so many miles? When I was a child I remember parcels coming from Europe at Christmas time. What excitement there was as those boxes were opened by immigrant families missing people back home! These days it is just as likely to see parcels shipped in the opposite direction.

If you are one of those people who are sending blessings back to Europe, you can now ship for less at The European Pantry. We are an official depot for Polimex shipping. Here’s how easy it is:

  1. PACK: Wrap breakables well and pack tightly. Unlike some shipping agencies your longest dimension will not determine your shipping rate. However, large light weight packages can sometimes cost more than  a small heavier package. So I encourage people to pack efficiently. You must not exceed 120cm on any of your sides and the total of your 3 sides added together should not exceed 220 cm.
  2. CALCULATE: If you are wondering about the cost to send your package, you can use this formula: length x width x height/6000= volume weight. Compare this to the actual weight of your package. If volume weight is more than the actual weight then the volume weight will determine your chargeable weight. Round up to the next half kilogram. A parcel to Poland will cost $2/kg for surface transport or $6/kg by air + $15.00 delivery fee. Most other countries  are $3/kg surface or $7/kg by air + $20.00-$35.00 delivery fee. You can call us for your destinations’s rates or visit Polimex’s website which has a rate calculator.
  3. MARK: the shipping address and return address in permanent black marker on your package. We will affix a shipping document but we always want the package properly labeled just in case the documentation gets pulled off.
  4. BRING: your package to our store with your shipping info. Please have the cellphone number and/or email address of the recipient to help the deliverer make contact. We will help you fill out the declaration/shipping form and do the final fee calculation. We will also give you some information about duties and insurance.
  5. SHIP: packages are picked up from The European Pantry on Fridays. Most surface transport packages will be delivered in 4-7 weeks. Air packages will arrive in 5-10 days.

Cuisine Enrichment Workshops


Unravel the mysteries of fine food while exploring the world of colour!

Contact us if you are interested in our Kitchen Decor Painting & Cuisine Enrichment Workshops.

Watch this spot for more information!!

The “Kist”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I was a child, my best friend Debbie used to get a Christmas box from her grandparents who still lived in The Netherlands. In those days we called a box like that a “kist“.  That translates as “crate”.  When the kist arrived for Debbie’s family I wished my Opas and Omas still lived in Holland.  Oh the wonderful things that could arrive in a kist!

But that kist couldn’t contain all the goodies that arrive at The Pantry at this time of year. We have already started unpacking crates of treats. More is coming in each week! Here is a peek at the Christmas products available at The Pantry this season:

Christmas flyer 8.5 X 11

Christmas flyer 11 X 14 

Eating Healthy


At The European Pantry we encourage people to eat intentionally.  That means:

  • knowing about what you are putting on your fork.  Those with food allergies make it a practice to look at ingredient lists but it is a good habit for everyone.
  • planning your meals.  Each week I purchase enough fruits and veggies for the week and make sure they end up in our meals and not in the compost. Having good ingredients in the house means home cooked meals can be quickly put on the table. As I raised my family I used the Canada Food Guide. Currently it is being overhauled to better reflect our lifestyles today. I am looking forward to seeing the new guide. There are other good resources that you can use to plan your meals. I came across a good blog: PositiveHealthWellness recently. Their article: What is Clean Eating provides some good guidelines for meal planning.

It Took a Little Boy….

How the Dutch ended up with chocolate sprinkles on their bread

Although the Americans have their chocolate “jimmies”, the French “dragees” and the Italians “confetti”, there is no other nationality besides the Dutch who generously sprinkle their sandwiches with “little mice”.  Before you begin to imagine cute miniature chocolate mice running over sandwiches, you should know that “muisjes” euphemistically means mouse droppings!

IMG_3417According to the blogger Rina Mae Acosta, one of the reasons UNICEF rated Dutch children as among the happiest children in the world is because they have “hagelslag” – chocolate sprinkles on bread for breakfast. How did one of the most pragmatic groups of people in the world get the idea of sprinkling bread with chocolate?

If you search the city archives of Amsterdam, you will discover that in 1919 a particularly severe hail storm season inspired B.E. Dieperink, the director of the Venco candy company , to make sugar coated anise seeds to sprinkle on bread. Dieperink’s creation was named hagelslag which literally means hailstorm. Grocers and confectioners img_6542around the country were soon weighing out the delicious treat into paper bags for Dutch children to take home and sprinkle on their sandwiches.

Not to be outdone, the DeRuijter confectionary company christened their own version of hagelslag  in 1928.  They offered the public four flavours: lemon, raspberry, orange and anise. Ten years later, Cees and Piet De Ruijter pulled off a marketing coup img_6540when they arrived at the Soestdijk Palace on the occasion  of Princess Beatrix’s birth to present the new Dutch royal parents, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard with special orange geboorte muisjes.  The tradition of serving “birth sprinkles” on rusk to celebrate the birth of a new child dates from this special event.

But how did all these flavoured candy sprinkles evolve into chocolate sprinkles for our sandwiches? The answer illustrates the power of children as consumers.  A little five year old boy began to write letters to VENZ, a chocolate company  owned by “H. deVries en zonen” (H. deVries and sons)  asking for chocolate sprinkles. It is said he wrote quite a few img_6536letters. Enough letters to make Gerard de Vries, one of those sons, spend many evenings experimenting.  Finally in 1936, he puzzled out the mystery of how to make real chocolate hail with just the right look. Of course, there were no machines to produce such a product so after devising the right recipe “Meneer Ger” then had to find a way to make his product in large scale. By the 1960’s chocolate sprinkles had become  such a large part of the VENZ business that most of their other products were no longer worth bothering with.

While the original creator of hagelslag, Venco, remains known for their licorice products around the world, both DeRuijter and VENZ continue to produce not only chocolate sprinkles but also a growing assortment of similar products that children and many adults still sprinkling on their bread today.

So when you enjoy a slice of white bread generously topped with chocolate “hagelslag” think of a little boy who wouldn’t take no for an answer!

Some more to the story….

Joren sent us a message that has injected a bit of mystery into the story of hagelslag.  According to Joren his ancestor, Gerrit van Voornveld, the original founder of Venco invented hagelslag much earlier than the above account.  Below in Joren’s comment you can find a link to a 1910 advertisement for hagelslag. He also says that the word “hagelslag” appeared in Dikke van Dale, a Dutch dictionary, in 1914.  I am wondering if these are not so much conflicting accounts as two versions of the same origin: the romantic “official” advertising story and the longer complete story of a product that didn’t become popular immediately.

Is there anyone who has a copy of this dictionary to check if the 1914 definition refers to a bread topping or to a hailstorm?  Perhaps it would be possible to confirm the year that Holland was plagued by hail? Can anyone confirm the date for when chocolate hail came on the market?

The story continues……


Did you know?

  • Chocolate sprinkles are enjoyed all around the world nowimg_6538
  • Chocolate sprinkles must contain a minimum of 34% cocoa to be called “hagelslag”.  If they contain less they must be called cacaofantasie meaning pretend chocolate.
  • In Belgium chocolate sprinkles are literally called mouse droppings: muizenstroontjes
  • Most chocolate sprinkles now produced in The Netherlands are UTZ certified meaning they are made from sustainably sourced chocolate