If you’re anything like me, you may have always pined to travel with the hosts of cookery shows and be amazed at the chefs walking through markets filled with luscious, ever so fresh foods. They would sniff, touch and feel the produce only to pick out the best they need to create magic in the kitchen. My to trip St. Lawrence Market was one such, right out of a TV show kinda day.
Located in the charming Old Town district Toronto, this 208 year old market is filled to the brim with a breathtaking variety of food and art. Growing up, I have always loved food, the variety that comes with it, and the unlimited creativity it offers. I felt this wonderful vibe as I walked from the street car towards the market building. Little kiosks with hand made wood items, Maple leaf art, silver jewelry and paintings of Toronto city lines the entrance of the market. It was very heartwarming to see the passion with which the artists explain the uniqueness of their wares.
As I entered the market doors, my eyes feasted on an expanse of freshness. Everywhere I looked there were fruits and vegetables from under, over and way up over the ground. A variety of potatoes and other tubers, leaves from cilantro to radicchio, every vegetable your kitchen would ever need and the juiciest of berries, all under one roof.
From the fresh produce section I moved in towards a very unique mustard stall. Over 100 varieties of mustard sauces were laid out for customers to taste with grilled pork, right off the fire (who’d have thought you can do so much with just mustard!) They had sweet, savory and spicy kinds and boy was a lot to choose from!! This stall was so full of people I could barely get a decent picture.
From the mustard bar I reached the Deli meats section. The cold cuts here make you wanna slap ’em on a slice of bread and dig right in. Maybe, some mustard from the previous stall would taste lovely with it.
As I come back to reality from my sandwich day dream I reach a stall with exotic meats all marinated and ready to hit the stove/grill. Kangaroo, Camel, Crocodile, Ostrich, Emu, Rabbit…the list goes on. Right about here is when I imagine it starts getting really uncomfortable for vegetarians. I suggest a walk back to the colorful fruits and veggies section.
And then there was cheese. Oh so much cheese!! Probably the largest collection of cheeses under one roof. It’s mind boggling how man got so bored with milk that he decided to make everything imaginable out of it. I’m no cheese novice, but this was too much to choose from. However with some expert help from a lovely cheese-maker lady I picked out a Tripple Cream Brie and a Prima Donna Maturo for my kitchen. Can’t wait to try more!
Right off the cheeses was this ocean of ice. Every seafood item imaginable was out there on display in all shapes, colors and sizes. Of course there were fresh water fish too and what a sight it was!! And right next was a food stall cooking up yummies with sea food. The enticing aroma got the stall so crowded I could get nowhere near it. It is an absolute fish lovers paradise.
St Lawrence market also houses a large selection of fresh breads, baked goods and pastas. So many of these being baked and rolled out right in front of you. It doesn’t get fresher than this!! I did take home a mouth watering pasta sauce and some heavenly custard tarts. In fact I’m munching on one these custard babies as I write this post. Definitely going back next week for more!
Walk down the stairs to the lower level of the market which offers you a large selection of teas, fresh ground coffees, olive oils, Asian & Italian cooking ingredients, chocolates and grains. I’m a tea enthusiast and didn’t miss the chance to grab some amazing aromatic teas. Perhaps another post soon on those.
I’m sure I haven’t even scraped the surface of the stuff you can find at St. Lawrence market, but it surely will be a regular expedition for me.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!