What it’s Like Inside the Loblaws Test Kitchens

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered long and hard about what it takes to get a product on grocery store shelves. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel up to the gorgeous Loblaw head office in Brampton, Ontario to get a sneak peek at their test kitchen.  The test kitchen is as glorious as you would think, akin to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

Visible through a large glass wall to the rest of the head office, the facility is packed with all the top of the line kitchen equipment, loads of storage and of course, tons of prep area. While we walk through, we’re told that this space and the kitchen (more specifically) are considered the heart and soul of the chain, and I can see why.

Image: Ama Scriver

Today inside the kitchen, we have the opportunity to meet with four chefs who are abuzz around the kitchen testing out recipes and potential new products, eager to have us taste each one. The chefs spend a lot of time researching and eating trying to hunt for the next best food trend. From reading blogs to consulting with other top chefs to getting inspired by a dish along their travels – a product idea can stem from practically anywhere! Some products can take upwards of one year to develop, from the time the idea is pitched to the time the product hits the shelves.

Image: Ama Scriver

So as we gathered around, we tried out some of the brand new PC Black Label products that have recently gone to stores. The collection offers a culinary adventure for those who are passionate about food and features items that are of rich artisanal provenance and amazing flavours.  So I’m sure you’re wondering what were some of our favourites?

PC® Black Label Bacon Marmalade
Use it as a sandwich topper or on a charcuterie board, this marmalade is made with caramelized flavours of bacon and sautéed onions and a hint of spice. It’s a salty and sweet treat.

Image: Loblaws

PC® Black Label Ras El Hanout Spice Blend
This spice is right! This Moroccan-inspired seasoning blend is made up of 24 spices – including cinnamon, chilies, coriander, Nigella seeds, cardamom and rose petals. One of the recipes I had the opportunity of trying was their Roasted Whole Cauliflower using the spice, and wow, it was unforgettable.

Image: Loblaws

PC® Black Label Brown Butter Hollaindaise
If you’re looking to elevate brunch, then you immediately need to pick this sauce up! Like your typical hollandaise sauce, the addition of the rich brown butter gives it a hint of nuttiness. It’s thick and rich and takes the fuss out of trying to make and prepare this sauce yourself. Try out these Bacon and Egg Breakfast Rolls – you won’t be sorry.

Image: Loblaws

PC® Black Label Normandy Butter
Butter is back, baby! I’m not sure if it ever really left, but more and more folks are making the switch over to butter. The stick is creamy and rich, similar to butters you would find in France, with just a hint of salt.  My suggestion: try it on some popcorn.

PC® Black Label Nero Di Seppia Conchiglie Pasta
Wanna make pasta night a little more edgy? Well then you have to try this black pasta infused with Italian cuttlefish ink and lemon juice. The taste of the pasta is delicate and adds a nice little kick to your regular pasta bowl.

Image: Loblaws

Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with President’s Choice but all opinions are my own.

RELATED LINK: 5 Kitchen Tools You Never Knew You Needed

What do you think of the Loblaws test kicthens? Which President’s Choice products are you dying to try? What perks would you like to have at your job? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe

Ama Scriver

Ama Scriver

Amanda (Ama) Scriver is a passionate storyteller, community builder and a loud and proud feminist and body image activist. She freelances for several publications including Foodism, Paste Magazine and BizBash. In her off time, she lives for coffee, trashy reality television, hip hop and all things drag. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram via @amascriver on at her website AmaScriver.com
Ama Scriver