Sunday, 8 July 2012

New Discoveries, Old Temptations

This morning's visit to the Ottawa Farmers' Market in Brewer Park was an embarrassment of riches, new discoveries and old temptations.

I missed last week's market so it was a real treat to see how in just two short weeks there were some exciting new artisans to meet and some of the regular seasonal products were back on the scene.

Speaking of discoveries, the first time I met Corinne Mooney was at the end of May and I got goosebumps when I saw her ethereal, perfect and delicate, sugared flowers. 

I was beside myself with ideas about what I could do with them and I instantly imagined them resting atop delicate pastries, decorating shiny filled chocolates, and adorning plated desserts.
Today she had a larger variety of both candied and fresh flowers and while we chatted, I sampled some of her piquant Nasturtiums and delicately flavoured Yarrow blossoms. 

Corinne recently left the corporate world behind to create her small but growing business and I'm sure her creations will soon attract the eyes of gifted hosts and hostesses and local restaurateurs.
The temptress, Pascale
Speaking of new temptations, this morning the charming Glacier  Pascale of her eponymous Pascale's all Natural Ice Cream tweeted that she'd be sampling her new "better than sex" chocolate sorbet made with chocolate from Stittsville based, Hummingbird Artisan Chocolate

"Better than sex" chocolate sorbet
Of course I had to give it a go and I can report that it was definitely worth elbowing my way to the front of her stand.  If Hummingbird's chocolate transformed Pascale's chocolate sorbet into something so magnificent, I was dying to taste it in its natural form.

Like a bloodhound on the scent, I sought out the Hummingbird Chocolate stand to meet the owners, hoping to sample some of their "bean to bar" chocolate. 

Seems I wasn't the only one with the same idea.  By the time I found their stand, a large crowd had gathered, two people deep. It was obvious why.  They were sampling four of their 70% cocoa chocolate bars:  Ecuador, Peru, Talamanca, and Hispaniola.  

Of the four, the 70% Ecuador was my favourite and I bought a bar to take home and share with Hubby.

Beautifully moulded Hummingbird Chocolate
Once home, we tore off the wrapper to reveal a shiny, well tempered, moulded bar with a beautiful pattern on the top.  The pattern was cleverly designed to divide the bar into eight equal pieces, thereby eliminating finger pointing and heated accusations between loved ones in the household.
The chocolate itself was supple and smooth in my mouth. The flavours were bright and balanced, high and low, each revealing itself in sequence with a long, citrus finish.  

I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy more than one bar.  I guess there's always next week...
Speaking of an embarrassment of riches, today was the welcomed return of  Warner's Farms and their stone fruits and berries. 

I'm always grateful that the Ottawa Farmers' Market management makes an exception to their "100 mile radius" rule in allowing them at the market since they are technically out of range.

Peaches have always been one of my favourite fruits but in my mind, their annual return is always bitter- sweet.  For me they always mark the beginning of the end of the summer season. 

Luckily, everything this season is ahead of schedule so we have a reprieve - and more good things yet to come.


Flowers from Colin's Jambican Studio Gardens

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