Monday, August 27, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, August 27, 2012

Local cheese, beautiful eggplants, a vegetarian restaurant - what a welcome home! 
Thank you, Saskatoon.

Herschel Hills Cheese
I am so excited that Saskatoon has its first local cheesemaker. Herschel Hills – Saskatoon’s Artisan Cheese House is owned and operated by Sharon McDaniel, whose passion for cheesemaking has taken her to six different cheesemaking courses, including one in Scotland. She is still scaling up her operation but will soon be selling fresh and Valencay-style (mold-ripened) goat cheese, camembert and ricotta at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.

I had the opportunity to taste the Farmer Fresh cheese I had watched her make earlier in the week and liked the smooth texture and fresh, clean flavour. The plain is sweet and mild, while the chive is full of onion flavour, and the peppercorn has a real bite. They all spread easily.

Eggplant Bounty 
There are so many gorgeous shiny, purple eggplants to choose from at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. Floating Gardens has big, plump ones that would be perfect for moussaka or lasagna, while Kaleidoscope Gardens has the most adorable little ones that I’ve ever seen. They are long and skinny, striped, white and green.

Eggplant were first cultivated in India as early as 300 BCE as both food and medicine, spreading to China, Japan, Korea, Persia and Europe. But there was much ambiguity surrounding the eggplant. The Persians blamed them for everything from pimples to leprosy; the Chinese thought they caused uterus injury; while Medieval Europeans thought they caused melancholy and anger. For more information about “mad apples,” read this article from Ecocentric.

Root Down Workers’ Cooperative Café 
I had lunch with a friend at Root Down Workers’ Cooperative Café last week and was very impressed.

The soup/sandwich/salad menu is simple, but the subtle, unexpected flavour combinations and unusual ingredients (eggplant bacon is amazingly good!) will have me going back for more. And it's completely vegetarian (vegan)!

Root Down is open from 8 am to 4 pm on weekdays as well as Farmers’ Market hours on Saturday.

Fresh n Local
Starting September 4, Fresh n Local will be offering next-day delivery. Groceries will be delivered from Tuesday to Saturday. Bread will be picked up fresh every morning and produce won't be more than a day or two off the vine.

Boycott Hershey 
A number of food cooperatives and natural food stores are calling on Hershey (which includes Dagoba, Bliss and Scharffenberger) to take action to end child slave labour on cocoa farms in the Cote D’Ivoire. The US State Department estimates that more than 109,000 children work in the cocoa industry under the “worst forms of child labor.”

Unlike its competitors, Hershey has failed to commit to purchase significant portions of ethically sourced cocoa. Mars and Ferrero have committed to ensure 100% of their cocoa supply is ethically sourced by 2020 and Kraft/Cadbury has taken steps to certify one quarter of its Cadbury Dairy Milk bars globally as fair trade.

Taste: Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table
CJ Katz’s book, Taste: Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table will be launched on September 26 from 11:30-1 pm at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

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CJ Katz said...

Hi Penny - thanks so much for featuring my new cookbook on your blog. It's very much appreciated. CJ

Penny McKinlay said...

Taste is a welcome addition to the selection of Saskatchewan books focusing on local food and local producers. I look forward to seeing a copy.