The year’s best finds

This isn’t your typical ‘best of’ list. It’s just a random collection of things that I discovered, acquired or noticed this year.

1. Dried chorizo sausageThe Piggy Market in Ottawa started offering a dried chorizo this year, and I absolutely love it. It’s so easy to buy several lengths and to have it in the fridge for whenever it’s needed and it has an extended shelf life thanks to being dried. The flavour is excellent and we enjoyed it throughout the summer and fall in soups (especially my favourite Caldo Verde), on cheese and chutney plates, and more recently in chili and sauces. I’ve forgotten the name of the folks who make it, but I’m hoping Dave at the Piggy will chime in and tell us here!

2. 2008 Connect Organic Red – this extremely drinkable organic red from Southbrook Vineyards in the Niagara region made my commitment to drinking local that much easier. Very nice! (I’m having a glass as I write, actually.)

3. The DVD collection at my local library – two-night DVD rentals for $1, what’s not to love? And my local library carries everything from BBC television series (including Doctor Who and Little Dorrit, both of which we watched last winter), old classic films, family fare and little out-the-way indie titles. Can’t say that it was even noticeable to us that Rogers Video and Blockbuster shuttered their doors…

4. 25 cent basket – I paid homage to the lovely grey stained basket that I found at my local charity shop earlier this year in another post

5. My new un.Memoir Unstructured shoes by Clark’s – it’s been eight years since I got my last pair (red Mary Jane types which are still going strong), and I was feeling badly in need of a classic dark blue/black slip on. Finding my favourite brand, which fits like a glove and will last for ever was wonderful. These are not specifically eco-friendly in their material/construction, but they are an incredibly well made shoe that will last and last, which suits me fine. My aunt Patsy instilled in me the importance of looking after your feet, and I’ve been a Clark’s devotee ever since I lived in England in the 90s. My favourite shoes of all time were made by Arche (gorgeous golden brown French suede slip-ons that were like a second skin) and lasted 17 years; I expect these ones will last that long or longer.

6. Canning the season’s best produce isn’t that hard (and only requires a lot of standing and paying attention for some pretty wonderful results)

7. The reminder that perfect days come when they will and need to be enjoyed when they do – strawberry picking on a perfect June day or breaking the thin skin of ice just formed on a lake in October with your paddle from the comfort of a canoe (a perfect day I never did get around to blogging about, which my youngest and my husband enjoyed a year ago when we were living at a cottage on a lake while our house was being finished – all the more perfect as the day in question was a rare PD day from school and they never would have discovered the ice on the lake, a rare one-day occurrence, otherwise)

I know that if I took the time to canvass my family they’d have some good contributions to this list, but I am working to a deadline with NaBloPoMo, so this is it for now. What were your best finds this year?

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