Journal

Ottawa Farmer’s Markets in and around our Capital City

 

fresh bread at Ottawa Farmer's Market

When I was little, my parents took my sister and I to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. I stood amidst bushels of acorn squashes, orange pumpkins with dirt on their bottoms and ripe, fragrant corn on the cob. My dad bent down to me and said, “Would you like to try a russet apple. They’re really good. They’re my favourite.” I looked at the apple in his big warm hands. I had never seen an apple with bumpy golden chartreuse skin. I took a bite. It was crispy with an earthy sweetness. It was the most delicious apple I had ever tasted.

I have been visiting Farmer’s Markets since I was a little girl. With every house move I have made, starting in Toronto and moving east and then west  across Canada, one of the first addresses I would google would be the local Farmer’s Market.

I even go to Farmer’s Markets when I’m on vacation: Montreal, Quebec City, Isle de la Magdalene, London, England, Vienna, Austria – big or small, I just love meeting the local bread bakers, jam makers, knitters, potters and wood workers.

There are so many great things about Ottawa: skating on the Rideau Canal, Winterlude, close proximity to Gatineau Park and other great things. But I especially love Ottawa for it’s many wonderful Farmer’s Markets. And there are a lot.

Following are some photos from some of my favourite Ottawa Farmer’s Markets. At the bottom I also have addresses of a few more markets.

Lansdowne Farmer’s Market

Lansdowne Farmer’s Market is the only year-round producer-only market in Ottawa. From May 1st until the end of October, the vendor’s booths are outside in Lansdowne Park. From November 1st until  the spring the market continues indoors.

Some of my favourite products are homemade breads, local honey, fresh local fruit and vegetables and British savoury pies. There are also some great stalls selling alpaca wool items, wood cutting boards as well as pottery.

At the end of September they still had amazing produce on offer.

german plums at Ottawa Farmer's Market

Baskets and baskets of delicious, fragrant German Plums. Great for making jam, tarts or just eating by the handful.

bosc pears at Ottawa Farmer's Markets

These Bosc Pears are just too good to pass up. Soft and sweet, they are fantastic for baking or just eating on their own for lunch, snack or a delicious healthy after-dinner dessert.

strawberries and raspberries at Ottawa Farmer's Market

Can you believe this? Strawberries and raspberries still available locally at the end of September. Unbelievable. Eat them as is, or use for jam making or any other amazing fruit dessert you can think of. You can’t go wrong with fresh, local raspberries or strawberries.

gourds and pumpkins at Ottawa Farmer's Market

Gourds and pumpkins are just so cool to look at. I love to have them on my porch, or a few small ones inside to give off that authentic autumn ambience. The stranger the better.

 

succulent plants at Ottawa Farmer's Market

My favourite succulent booth is at the Lansdowne market. Kiwi Gardens sells the most gorgeous plants and containers that I have ever seen.

Carp Farmer’s Market 

I love all Farmer’s Markets. But, Carp Farmer’s Market is my favourite market in the Ottawa area. It’s out in the country and has some amazing vendors, including some ready prepared food carts such as Tibetan Momos, Indian Curries, Stella Luna Gelato, local Coffee, Thai Food and a few more.

beets at Ottawa Farmer's Market

I love the bright colours of golden and purple beets.

farmer standing with plants at Ottawa Farmer's Market

This gentleman has some amazing plants. Plus he sells elderberries in the summer!

chalk board menu at lemonade stand at Ottawa Farmer's Market

I love homemade lemonade on a hot summer day!

beans at Ottawa Farmer's Market

I love beans in every colour!

hot sauces at Ottawa Farmer's Market

Hot sauces! So many flavours!

braided garlic at Ottawa Farmer's Market

Braided garlic is a quintessential item at any Farmer’s Market.

 

Additional Information on Ottawa’s Farmer’s Markets

Lansdowne Farmer’s Market

Byron Park – Westboro

Orleans Market – Ray Friel Center 

Byward Market

Parkdale Farmer’s Market

Cumberland Farmer’s Market

Carp Farmer’s Market

 

Journal

Summer Flowers in Every Colour

purple flowers

Even though I love to spend hours and hours baking, cooking, creating in the kitchen, sometimes it’s nice to pop out into my garden and enjoy the colours and smells of my summer flowers.

leaves of a plant

I usually buy an unusual plant for my husband…something that’s soft and fuzzy and silvery green. This Lambs’s Ear was a perfect choice.

stella d'oro flowers

I have grown stella d’oros in my garden for as long as I have had a garden…and I’ve had a lot of gardens all the way from Halifax to Spruce Grove, Alberta. In case you’re wondering they grow very well in many provinces including Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta. They also travel well during those long cross country moves.

yellow flowers

Sometimes flowers look just as pretty when they are closed up as when they are in full bloom. These pretty golden globes of summer caught my eye the other day, all closed up on a rainy day.

rose bud
I always make sure I have a rose bush in the garden to remind me of my dad. He always grew red roses, so he would have plenty on hand to give to my mom, any day of the week.

rose bud

My Dad lived to grow red rose bushes, ut this ombre coloured rose bush caught my eye, and I just couldn’t pass it up.

rose flower
Roses are a must-have in any garden – in my opinion! They have a spectacularly slow prolong before they burst into bloom and show off their colour, shape and texture.

white flower

I used to think that white flowers were a waste of space in the garden when all I wanted was big, bright, bold colours. I have since realized how special white flowers can be.

purple flower

White flowers are nice, but a garden wouldn’t be complete without a whole lotta purple! I love this one speckled with raindrops.

purple flower

It doesn’t have to be a sunny day to enjoy flowers. Here, these flowers look especially pretty covered in rain drops.
purple flowerHappy Canada Day, everyone!

Journal

Mont Tremblant

decorated window of Cabane Sucre in Mont Tremblant

My husband and I were lucky  to visit Mont Tremblant twice this winter. Our first trip was in December, one week before Christmas.  It was super cold but the village was white with snow and very pretty. All the shops and restaurants were dressed up with colourful Christmas lights, garlands of scotch pine and wide sparkly ribbons.

Our second visit was in February during the Olympics. Not as snowy, but still a lot of fun.

Of course it’s a fantastic place to ski, snowboard, cross-country ski and snow-shoe, but it’s also nice to go for dinner at one of the many amazing restaurants and then just wander around the village. Here are a few snapshots of our two trips highlighting some of our favourite eateries as well as the village.

snow on pine tree
Lots of snow!

two pine trees decorated in snow and white ribbon

The decorations, snow and lights always look so pretty at nighttime.

decorated windowbox

The Cabane Sucre had the prettiest display of lights. The aroma of maple syrup warming on the stove all ready to make Maple Taffy, enticed us into the shop. Inside were shelves of maple syrup in beautiful shaped bottles, bags of homemade maple candies, maple sugar pie in the fridge, made by the shopkeeper’s mother, as well as other maple treats.

tree covered in golden Christmas lights

This tree looked so sparkly at night time.

 

Maple Sugar Shack Mont Tremblant

Cabane Sucre! Nothing compares to the aroma of maple syrup warming on the stove on a cold winter evening.

La Savoie Restaurant Mont Tremblant

In DEcember, we had an amazing Fondue dinner at La Savoie: a nice sized bowl of fondue with a wooden board overflowing with cubes of baguette, pickles, potatoes, sausage. It was so good!

outdoor pool in winter

We stayed at The Westin Hotel which was right in the village. They had a beautiful super heated pool and hot tub outside. The air temperature was about -34 °, so super chilly, but the pool was very warm and the hot tub super hot. Surrounded by snow-covered trees, it was very pretty.

 

 

gondola ride Mont Tremblant Village

You can ride up to the base of the mountain in a stand-up free gondola ride. It’s fun.

Mont Tremblant ski slopes

There are always a lot of skiers and snowboarders of all ages. It had rained all morning, but the slopes were still busy!

Mont Tremblant village

This was during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. There was a huge screen showing the Olympics in the main square. There were bean bag cushions and chairs to sit on and watch your favourite spot. It was pretty cool!

Pedestrian village Mont Tremblant

Even without the snow, the village is still picturesque and colourful.

Pizzeteria restaurant Mont Tremblant

Pizzeteria makes wonderful pizza. My husband ordered a pizza with barbeque sauce, chicken, and red onions, it’s his favorite combination and he said it was amazing. French Onion soup was written on the blackboard – so I had to have it. It’s hard to find good French Onion Soup, and their’s  was superb. I also had an amazing salad with artichoke hearts, arugula, black olives, grated carrots and more greens. It was very tasty.

Mont Tremblant village

There aren’t a lot of shops in Mont Tremblant, but they’re so pretty and quaint, you’re bound to find a little something to take home.

 

la maison de la crepe Mont Tremblant

The Diablo Pub and Pizzeteria were my husband’s favourites, but this crepe restaurant was mine. It’s a cozy restaurant that seats about 30 -40 patrons and only serves crepes – savoury or sweet as well as really good hot chocolate with loads of whipped cream.

la maison de la crepe

All the restaurants are small and quaint and cute in the pedestrian village of Mont Tremblant. This one was no exception. And the best crepes ever!

crepe filled with poached apples and cinnamon with maple cream

My husband ordered a plain crepe with maple syrup. I ordered a crepe filled with poached apples and cinnamon with a delicious maple cream sauce poured over top. It was divine.

 

cafe bakery Mont Tremblant

This wee spot is an ice cream shop and a bakery all in one – a perfect combination! Unfortunately, because of the rain, their power was out and they had no ice cream.

chocolate, caramel and blueberry muffins

But with the help of a generator, they were able to bake muffins – Chocolate, caramel and blueberry – all in one bite!

menu of bakery cafe

The decorations are starting to look a bit pail, but no one seemed to mind. We’re definitely coming back to this place for ice cream on our next visit.

Mont Tremblant village

It’s so beautiful everywhere you go in Mont Tremblant.

If you decide to visit, here is more information on this beautiful town:

A bit of history of the pedestrian village

A list of restaurants in Mont Tremblant

Things to do in Mont Tremblant in the Winter

 

Journal

Chartreuse – The Elixir of Long Life

two glasses of Chartreuse and one bottle

Happy March!

There are many good reasons to be happy that it’s March: March break, the first day of spring and our long Easter weekend starts at the end of the month. I decided to celebrate the beginning of March,  with a post on my favourite green liqueur – Chartreuse.

Chartreuse is a sweet and herbal flavored liqueur. Because it’s made with 130 herbs, plants and flowers, it has a mysterious flavour profile. It’s taste is more a medley of flavours than any one ingredient. I love so many things about this liqueur: the gorgeous green colour, the sweet and herbal flavour but most of all I think I love the mysterious history behind this notable drink.

The name of this liqueur comes from the Grande Chartreuse Monastery, located in the Chartreuse Mountains near Grenoble, France. It has been made by the Carthusian monks for almost 400 years. And only two monks, Dom Benoit and Brother Jean Jacques, are the only ones that know the secret recipe.

The recipe originated back in 1605, when the Chartreuse Monastery received a manuscript for an elixir as a gift from a diplomat of France. This elixir eventually got nicknamed The Elixir of Long Life. The manuscript was so complex that most people couldn’t interpret it. Over one hundred years later, it was eventually sent to the head monastery in the Chartreuse Mountains. After studying this manuscript for almost four decades, it’s mystery was finally unravelled by the Monastery’s Apoethecary, Frère Jerome Maubec and the elixir could finally be prepared.

two bottles of Chartreuse and one bottle

It was originally 69% alcohol and considered a medicine. But everyone loved the taste so much, they drank it as a beverage instead. A few decades later, around 1784, another monk altered the recipe to make it sweeter and lower in alcohol. At 55% alcohol, it’s still high, but less than it was originally. If you prefer a liqueur that is less alcoholic, there is a yellow Chartreuse which is sweeter and lower in alcohol at only 40%.

Each year, 24 tons of herbs and plants and flowers are delivered to the Monastery to make this noteworthy drink. The herbs and plants are dried, crushed and mixed in the Herb Room. The next step takes place in the distillery in Voiron. Only the two monks and two assistants are allowed to enter this room. In the distillery, the various series of herbs macerate in alcohol and then are distilled for 8 hours. The lovely natural green colour is from the last maceration of plants and herbs.

The distillation is done in stainless-steel stills. They have been specially designed for Chartreuse, so that the monks can monitor the distillation process from the Monastery, 15 miles away. After the distillation, Chartreuse liqueur ages in oak casks that are from Russia, Hungary or France. After the liquor has aged for a few years, the Chartreuse Monks will test the liquer and decide if it’s ready to be bottled. They are the only two that can decide.

one glass of Chartreuse

 

Chartreuse is meant to be enjoyed neat, not even any ice. It’s a super strong liqueur: measure one shot of Chatreuse into your favourite glass, and sip slowly. It makes a lovely after dinner drink. If you prefer mixed drinks, I’ve included a link for some cocktails below.

Enjoy! Happy March!

 

Here is some more information on Chartreuse

Want to make your own herbal liqueur?

Interested in visiting the distillery?

Cocktails Made with Chartreuse