Dec 23, 2009

Calgary Farmers Market

Nearly a week ago we dropped in to the Calgary Farmers Market, the last time we were there was just before we went down to Texas 2.5yrs ago. Things haven't changed too much, some of the vendors have become more established and overall it feels 'more organized'. Lots of good organic and high quality food choices to be had so it's worthwhile dropping by if we are in that part of town.

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One of the vendor's I had high hopes for was the Phil and Sebastian Coffee Company, and it was one of the first places I wandered over to (sorry about the poor quality iPhone images). Things were busy behind the coffee bar and I was happy to see they had a good selection of quality coffee all available off the Clover. I chose a Colombian CoE based on the tasting notes, I was in the mood for milk chocolate and raspberry at that time of day.

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A nice little chat with the staff preparing the coffee and I wandered off to check out the cup. I have to say that initially I was disappointed with the coffee; I didn't get any of the described tasting notes, instead I got a murky and muddled brothy presentation. I wasn't sure if the Clover prep was off, if my palate had completely lost it's mind or the roast was botched. As I continued wandering around the market I kept trying to isolate any of the tasting notes, nearly half a cup in and I was struggling to get anything. Just about to give up on the cup, and with one last sip, the cup shifted completely and snapped into focus displaying nice milk chocolate and raspberry. The cooling effect had finally let the coffee show it's tasting notes, it took half a cup but it got there and for the remainder of that cup I wandered around as happy as can be. A great coffee, it just needed some patience.

We headed back to the Farmers Market a few days later to grab some organic produce for the Christmas festivities and of course I set my target acquisition radar on the espresso machine.

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I ordered a double espresso, interested to see how the house-blend came off now that they are roasting their own beans. The barista took a lot of care, pulling doubles and tasting them himself in order to present what appeared to be an excellent representation of the coffee. Was it good? Oh yeah, it was good! A Yirg/Guat blend that might be a bit off the chart for the mainstream consumer but for the constantly-searching espresso maniac, always exploring new avenues, it was a fantastic shot. Personally I would like to chuck a bit of Brazilian in there to round it out a bit, but as is, it's a winner. I won't describe the shot because if you are even mildly curious you should drop by their operation. I would order another one if I was there today and I can count on one hand the amount of times I've said I would do that with espresso over the last year.

IMG_1512I stopped in at Hoven Farms for some ground beef, Sunworks Farms (great eggs) and Blush Lane Organics (and talked with Matt) and grabbed some clementines, satsuma mandarins, pink lady apples and delicata squash amongst other things. I've tried all four of the items listed since purchase and they were all top notch. The satsuma mandarins are a perfect example of how desensitized a palate can become from eating the standard issue grocery store crappy mandarins, most of them sourced from China. You know the ones, you peel them and eat the slices wondering where the taste and aroma went, it's like eating a circular orange colored ball of water, a total bummer. If you eat enough of the crappy mandarins then eventually crappy becomes the norm and you find yourself buying a 10lb box for $3.00 and going through the motions of 'eating an orange' but they aren't oranges in the true sense. With the satsuma mandarins as soon as you begin to peel them you get an orange punch in the face, real big aroma, real big taste, real mandarins.

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Sourcing good quality food isn't easy, the Farmers Market makes it a bit easier. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could make an effort for a solid week to recalibrate their palates with high quality, rich tasting food in order to remember what food is supposed to taste like. I'm sure the Walmart's of the world are shuddering at that thought. Oh no, I'm beginning to rant...

Dragging things back to the homestead, I had a great four ouncer this morning, a blend of some old Gethumbwini Peaberry (that still manages to retain it's character as greens) and some Cachioera de Grama; at 8 days post-roast a lovely bevie and half decent art.

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Well it's time to conclude this rambling post, I'll leave you with this image of the boys upon successful completion of their gingerbread house and train. As you can see, Keegan seems to have discovered some 'extra' icing sugar. ;-)

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