I first met Michael at the Brewer Park farmer’s market in Ottawa. Since taste-testing a few of his hand-crafted jams, I’ve been loving them and sharing them with friends and family constantly. Seeing as he uses fresh local produce, certified organic cane sugar, and his packaging is made with either recycled or recyclable materials, his products are a great fit for the Mindful Mavens. I wanted to share Michael’s story with you and what makes his jams so special, so did a little Q&A with him. One lucky winner will get to try these as well! (See giveaway below)
How did your business start?
Michael’s Dolce started with the passion to improve the quality of jams. I am trained in culinary arts, with several years experience working in the ‘sweet side’ (desserts) at restaurants and bakeries.
What is the story behind the name?
The name ‘Michael’s Dolce’ is derived from my name (Michael) and Dolce is an Italian word for sweet. I choose Dolce, because the last restaurant I worked in had the dessert menu titled “Dolce”.
What sort of criteria do you have for selecting ingredients?
I look for locally grown / sourced foods. I purchase the majority of fruit from Ontario, B.C.,and N.S. I particularly buy from farmers at the Ottawa farmers market, Acorn creek, Warners farm, and Luxy farms. I only use freshly squeezed lemon juice in all my jams. In my strawberry balsamic jam, I use an 18 year old balsamic from The unrefined olive. A new addition to my line is Smokey BBQ sauce, which is vegan and gluten free (facility is not GF). I purchase spanish smoked paprika from Cardamom & Cloves, to support another small local business.
How do you choose flavour combinations?
Once I decide the fruit or basic ingredient, I research ways the ingredient has been used. This leads me to a pairing flavour(s) and from there I formulate a recipe.
Did you target your products to be specifically ethical/vegan?
Not on purpose, from the start I knew I would only make a quality product. Selling at farmers market gave me direct connection to my costumers, understanding what people are looking for. Striving to make ethical/vegan products make sense to the majority of my clientele, and me.
What makes them different than any other jams?
1) less sugar/no pectin
2) unique flavour combinations
3) soft set textures
Which flavor is your personal favorite and best seller?
My favorite is strawberry balsamic, the best seller is hands down Blueberry & Lavender.
What do you do when you are not in the kitchen?
Family and friends are a key part of my spare time! Spending valuable time eating out, keeping up with my interest in photography..to name a few.
Any exciting developments happening for the future?
This year I have started making a vegan Sriracha sauce.
Jams in cocktails started on the drink menu at Union613. You can find 3 of them with my jams/sriracha.
I am collaborating with Marissa Begin (a beer rep & mixologist) to devise drinks with my jams. She has even got ideas for which beer/drink to add my sriracha and BBQ sauce to!
I have just launched a smokey BBQ sauce which has already been well received. Fiazza Pizza on Murray St. had approached me to make a BBQ sauce for one of their pizza’s. I was honoured to be asked, and have also been bottling them for sale too!
So here’s what’s up for grabs:
One winner will receive four (4) 190ml jars of Michaelsdolce jams and sauces. The flavors will be:
- Apricot Chili jam
- Yellow Plum Anise jam
- Sriracha sauce
- Smokey BBQ sauce
To enter the giveaway, please respond with a comment that answers one of the following:
- If you’ve tried Michaelsdolce jams and sauces, what’s your favourite flavour, and why?
- If you haven’t, which flavour are you most interested to try?
Winners will be chosen randomly by number draw.
Details: Giveaway is open to Canadian residents, excluding Quebec. One random winner will win a set of 4 Michaelsdolce products. Pick-up to be arranged with Michael Sunderland. Giveaway closes on Saturday, September 13 at 11:59 PM EST. One entry per person. The Mindful Mavens are not responsible for the delivery of the prize and cannot be held accountable for any discrepancies.