Finding seasonal inspiration at the Kent Street Market
Submitted by Ann Thurlow
For me, there is nothing more Christmassy than food. You can take your fir trees, your candles in the window, your crowded shopping malls. Just give me something good to eat—a turkey dinner or a nibble of something savoury and I will feel as if the season is upon me. Eating good food and giving good food seem the very best way, to me at least, to inhabit a season of gifts and warmth.
Plus food opens up a whole new set of challenges in the gift department. You have to really think about who you are giving to and what they like. Does your healthy eating pal secretly long for just a little Chef Boyardee? Will your vegan friend really be as excited as you are about duck sausages?
For a little help and a little inspiration, the new Kent St. Market in Charlottetown is a good place to start. It’s the sort of spot where you could go all local or go all exotic and find, in both cases, something thoughtful.
Mila MacLean Homburg is one of the proprietors of the market and has a lot of ideas. She’s quite taken, at the moment, with spices from a Montreal company called Spice Trekkers. She pulls out a lovely tin and pries open the top. It’s a steak spice but it’s complex and interesting aroma suggest it could go anywhere. There are also kits—the fisherman’s kit, for example, which seems kind of appropriate. They don’t seem to have frankincense but somehow a lovely tin of spice feels very seasonal.
For seasonal in the other direction she suggests fancy cocktail ingredients. You could get all the stuff for an extra special Caesar including the justifying famous Canadian made Walter Caesar mix. Because this is a market, you could even get a lemon to stick in it. Or maybe an exotic tonic for a g&t or some fancy bitters, if you recipients the sort of mixologist who uses them.
There are lovely olive oils and special balsamic vinegars which will make even a winter salad taste beautiful. There are sweets: dolce de leche, lemon curd or organic chocolate and hazel nut spread. Another fun idea: some of Papia Papa’s cold cuts, cheese, bread and an interesting condiment. It is my bet if you gave someone a sandwich for Christmas they would never forget it.
The point is to wander around the store—or any store. PEI is full of new and delicious food and it’s a bounty worth sharing. Think about the people you love, about how to make them feel happy and loved with a seasonal treat.