On a sunny, but chilly December morning Maureen and I headed to the Locavore Artisan Food Market at Memorial Hall in New Edinburgh. Located in a tiny community centre, the room was brimming with local food vendors and patrons, all there to celebrate our local food business and the local food movement.
Cookies, salsas, ice creams, breads, spreads, mustards, sauces, jams, pies, spices, cakes, full meals and many other items were being sold at a brisk pace. By the time you read this, the event will be over, of course. However the vendors make their products available via many outlets in the city and sometimes directly. It really is worth seeking out these artisans and supporting their businesses. It helps to diversify the Ottawa palate, grow the local economy, bring together the Ottawa food community, and it’s damn tasty too. These items make terrific presents and also make form a more interesting table at home.
We picked up more of Pascal’es amazing hot chocolate (and I hope to actually have some this time), some “Hot Toddy” ice cream, some michaelsdolce jams, Mrs. McGarrigle’s mustards, Yummy Cookies chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies and some smoked tomato jam from Just Wing’it. Yum!
Here’s a listing of all the local artisans with links to their websites. Please support them!
By now most of us in Ottawa are familiar with Pascale‘s wonderful ice cream creations. Most of us have had the pleasure of her truly inspired flavours at a local restaurant (Whalesbone, Allium, SmoQue Shack, Arc) or snagged a pint of creamy goodness at the Farmer’s Market at Lansdowne or Piggy Market. This weekend on our weekly trek to Piggy (recently renovated and expanded. – stay tuned for a review update) the lovely Pascale was on hand doling out cupfuls of rich, smooth, decadent, sweet hot chocolate with a hint of vanilla.
She does not stop though with just the best hot chocolate I have tried. She goes on to explain how I can mix it four parts to one part beer (she recommends Beau’s Bog Water) for a nice malty flavour, or pour it on top of a dark, bitter espresso.
The genius of mixing the chocolate with beer came at a chilly Octoberfest event where she had lots of hot chocolate and lots of beer and nobody was buying ice cream. In the interest of research I mixed it with a Belgian Dubbel. O.M.G. I will likely never have hot chocolate any other way.
The chocolate, is a divine mix of Cochrane’s all natural milk, milk chocolate and bittersweet 58% cocoa, bourbon vanilla pods and sea salt to finish, prepared and ready to heat and drink. Pascale notes that the milk chocolate contains malt and therefore is not gluten free. The sublime mix is sold in mason jars and needs to be refrigerated. Should last a month in there…technically, but it won’t. You will be lucky if it’s still there when you go to make a little demi tasse for yourself. This is not a drink for children. This is way to good for anyone who will be happy with a grainy cup of Nestle Quick. Pascale’s Hot chocolate is available only at Landsdowne Farmers market and will be available at Locavore, where you can also pick up Pascale’s ice cream in half pints, festive ice cream sandwiches and yule logs. Half pints of ice cream are also available at Piggy Market, Red Apron, Life of Pie and Serious Cheese in Kanata, year round.
Pascale’s French Canadian roots, the upcoming festive season, and a love of playing with flavour combinations all inspire her. She is thinking not about sugar plum fairies but sugar pie ice cream and real butterscotch made with Johnny Walkers right now. Check out Pascale’s website for other products and look for her December 10th 2011 at Locavore Artisan Food Fare.