Friday, February 18, 2011

Cava Cuisine

Responding to the needs of Saskatoon's home chefs and foodies

The Cava group of stores is expanding as rapidly as Saskatoon’s food culture. What started out as a wine club and retail store has expanded to include Cava Wines and Spirits, Cava Cuisine and Cava Café.

Cava Cuisine has three separate outlets offering a wide range of gourmet food, glassware and kitchenware.

133-21st Street East (half block from Midtown Plaza)
The downtown location of Cava Cuisine opened in December, and it’s immaculately laid out with elegant displays of glassware and china.

I was immediately drawn to the display cabinet offering a mouth-watering range of Harden & Huyse chocolates. Then it was time to browse the assortment of oils from Turkey, Morocco, Crete, Italy and France as well as the balsamic vinegar from France and Italy.

There are whole truffles, truffle-infused oils and cream and truffle sauces.

There is a small, but intriguing selection of cookbooks, and espresso/cappuccino machines were waiting to be unpacked when I dropped by.

“What’s exciting is the rotation of products. There’s always something different; it’s never stagnant,” says James Rayner, the store’s manager. James was a chef for 10 years in Alberta and uses his contacts to research new products. He also visits trade shows, meets with food producers and chefs, and does lots of online research.

Espresso bar
The 23rd Street store has an espresso bar with organic Arabica coffee and serves fresh pastries every morning – a useful thing to know if you work downtown.

Three locations
Each of the three outlets of Cava Cuisine has a slightly different focus. The downtown store is the flagship location and displays the full range of products.

The store inside the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is devoted to food – from 36 varieties of mustard to sauces and cheese.
The neighbouring outlet in Ideas Inc. is undergoing changes and by late spring or early summer will house a delicatessen with specialty meats and cheeses.

Tastings and classes
Cava Cuisine hosted an olive oil tasting in January and is planning a balsamic vinegar tasting. Once the delicatessen opens, there will be cheese tastings, and cooking classes will be offered in the future.

You can follow Cava Cuisine on Facebook or on the web.

No comments: