Five years ago, Michael Sunderland was working in a bakery. They sold all sorts of delicious breads, buns, and pastries—but they didn’t sell preserves. Curious to take a stab at the preserve making process, Michael began making jams on his days off and bringing them into the bakery for his colleagues to try. Immediately asked to make bigger batches, it was shortly after that that the bakery began selling his products. Excited by his quick success, an inspired Michael decided to create his own line of preserves. It was from there that Michael’s Dolce was born.
Michael’s Dolce products put a creative twist on a household staple. Pairing traditional ingredients and flavours in non-traditional ways, Michael begins with the basics and then turns them on their heads. Over the past five years, Sunderland has come up with many an incredible thing—from jams that taste like candy, to the champagne of marmalades, made with pink grapefruit. Let’s not forget his BBQ sauce, many drink syrups and, his most recent venture, chai. We will also let you in on a little secret—his sriracha sauce is better than the real thing. He has also collaborated with many local businesses, including Hummingbird Chocolates, Bread By Us, Moo Shu Ice Cream, Beachconers, Stella Luna, and Beyond the Pale. Out of these collaborations has come some incredible ice cream sundaes, buns made with peach cardamom jam, the most beautiful ghost pepper chocolates made with cocohari gems, and one heck of a delicious ginger beer.
What’s next for Michael’s Dolce? Sunderland hopes to continue to collaborate with local food producers, coming up with new and inventive pairings. This season brings the promise of Acorn Creek rhubarb and black pepper jam, Warner’s farm apricot and chilli jam, and some special top secret seasonal productions. Always playing with new ideas in the kitchen, it is only a matter of time until Sunderland dreams up another incredible flavour combination.
For Sunderland, the past five years have been an absolute pleasure. The best feeling is “seeing the incredible positive reaction of people who taste my products & are genuinely satisfied with the flavour notes,” remarks Sunderland. From cooking up preserves in his kitchen and selling them in the bakery, to renting a space, and now having recently bought a pro kitchen, shipping products to stores and restaurants across Ontario, looking back at the journey which has lead him here is one to be proud of.
You can find Michael’s Dolce in several spots around town, including Seed to Sausage, Ottawa Bagel Shop, Kettleman’s, La Bottega, Nature’s Buzz, and Stella Luna Gelato. You can also find Michael at the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market every Sunday, from 9am-3pm.