The New Creative
by Cassandra Bernard
The Christmas season is a busy time of the year, and the owners of Kent Street Market in Downtown Charlottetown want to take away some of the pressures of holiday cooking and hosting.
Having opened less than five months ago, Mila MacLean Homburg and Phil Homburg are noticing more and more customers in the store and leaving happy with gourmet and locally-sourced products. “People know they can come in and get something for lunch or a little snack, but when people are picking up other pantry staples or nice products to treat themselves a little bit more, that is really exciting,” Mila says.
For their first holiday season in business, they have created two baskets filled with unique treats and goodies. “I love Christmas. It’s my number one favourite time of year, so I’m happy to do whatever,” says Mila. The Local Basket is filled with all things Prince Edward Island, including coffee from Receiver, Lady Baker’s Tea, honey, maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, and even some pepperettes from PEI Charcuterie Company. The owners are also open to doing customized baskets to gift to that special someone.
The Foodie Lover’s Basket makes the perfect gift for someone who loves to cook, but seems to already have everything they need. “I think these are going to be really good to give to a foodie who has a lot of stuff, to kind of introduce them to some brands they haven’t tried before or people who maybe wouldn’t splurge on themselves,” explains Mila. This basket is packed with pasta, pasta sauce, mustard, artichokes, olive, olive pâté, crackers, nougat and much more.
The couple also strives to constantly bring in new products and have recently received a ton of new English products such as tea, cookies, olives, sauces for ice creams, and chutney, all perfect for holiday feasts. “We also just got some new fresh soups in, a lot of people have been asking for soup.”
Whatever you plan to serve or bring to events this season, Kent Street Market wants to make it easy. “Some meat, some cheese and some crackers and some pickles and olives and dips, put it on a board. It’ll take you 10 minutes and everyone is happy,” Mila says. “People love to pick, especially at the holidays. There’s food everywhere constantly and you want to be eating, but to do that in a way that is semi-structured so you can eat and not be piling everything in. You don’t feel like you have to eat a whole plate of food.”
For an alternative holiday protein idea, Mila says duck is the way to go. “Instead of a turkey, or if you’re doing a second Christmas and you wanted to not do turkey again, then you could have a different meat. We would focus on duck because it’s easy and it’s delicious.”
For example, a maple glazed semi-sel duck recipe uses ingredients like sugar, brining spices from Spice Trekkers (available in-store), maple syrup or honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Brining the duck makes it deeply tender. In addition to improving the flavour, it also prevents the meat from drying during cooking.