Truth be told, when I was younger, thoughts of tartan conjured up images of bagpipers or Highland dancers doing a …
Big Day with a TwistBy Nicole Trask | Oct 23, 2012
This year the Downtown Halifax Business Commission put a little spin on the Big Day Downtown. Armed with visa cards with $100 to spend, each blogger was paired up with a partner to show off some of our very favourite places in downtown Halifax. Luckily for me, I was matched with Simon Thibault (Passable.ca, East Coast Living, Local Connections Halifax and more) and his specialty is all things cuisine related. I’m a little bit of a foodie but I’m no expert, so my mouth was watering with the thought of spending my entire budget on gourmet goodies.
After brainstorming, we agreed to meet on a Saturday morning at the Seaport Farmers Market. Simon promptly escorted me to Getaway Farm and introduced me to local farmer Chris deWaal. Since I rarely eat red meat, I was a little hesitant. Simon and I had chatted about this but after learning about the care and kind farming techniques that goes into raising the animals, I decided I could give it a try. Chris is extremely friendly and knowledgeable and he was happy to explain how all the cattle are grass fed and treated with respect. Simon gave me a show and tell with flank steak (where it comes from and how it gets its unique flavour) but I decided to go for sausages instead. I selected the Argentinean chorizo sausages that were described as spicy, rich and flavoured with red wine. Perfect to warm me up on a crisp fall night!
After meandering, we stopped at The Grainery where Simon gave me an impromptu lesson is harvesting vanilla from fresh beans. Slicing the beans in a careful fashion, he extracted the vanilla goodness which released the most fragrant aroma. I had never seen this done before and it was enlightening. We both snapped up some vanilla to take home.
Next, I needed something to pair with my main so we selected a box of red potatoes from Elmridge Farm. Simon asked me a lot of questions about my palate and likes and dislikes which led us to Schoolhouse Gluten-Free Gourmet. I’ve been trying to eat a little less bread or at the very least select gluten free and I’d never tried the products at Schoolhouse. I picked potato-millet loaf which I later found out is very hearty and filling.
I was getting hungry (can you blame me?) and Simon treated me to a cannele from Julien’s. I’d never had one before and it’s an amazing blend of pastry and custard. Too good! We decided our visit would not be complete without a stop at Gourmandises Avenue. I purchased some truffles but the high note was being introduced to cremeux des salines. This is the most decadent and smooth caramel spread that would be heavenly over ice cream. I don’t have a sweet tooth but this literally made me melt.
After the market, we popped by Bishop’s Cellar where I added Blomidon Baco Noir to my shopping bag. We both agreed that a visit to TIBS was in order for some lovely iced coffees and a bag of freshly ground dark roast for me. Afterwards, it was time to show Simon a couple of my haunts.
I’ve been impressed with London Loft in Historic Properties since they opened, not only for the amazing furniture but also for their home and lifestyle accessories. The UK inspired shop has an old world charm and I helped Simon select a cozy scarf that is almost as soft as cashmere (without the hefty price tag).
Arms laden with goodies, we made our way uphill to Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique & Letterpress Studio. This little shop is one of my all time favourites. Simon enjoyed the quirky cards and ended up with a package of thank-you notes which we both agreed are an all too rare yet thoughtful touch nowadays.
Our Big Day Out was a learning experience for me and Simon topped it off with sending me recipes for my meal. We had to part ways so I could lug home my haul of culinary delights. Still, I found myself with a little extra spend left at the end of the day so I later popped by J&R Grimsmo’s one year anniversary party. I had enough left over to buy a delicate pair of earrings with little pearls perched on gold coloured leaves.
My dinner the next evening was divine. The sausages paired with mango chutney, mashed potatoes with Foxhill brie and a glass of Baco Noir. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself…
Chris’s cool tattoo
Simon and the vanilla…
Jason at Bishop’s Cellar with Blomidon Baco Noir