You know what’s been missing from Beechwood Market’s social media? You guessed it: a food blog. Here are your blogettes:
Laura French (AKA Beechwood Market’s self-titled General Manager) has been a devout patron to the Beechwood Market since its inception in the Desjardins’ parking lot - only too convenient, since the market was literally across the street from her apartment. Since that time, the market has moved twice (further away from home each time!) but she remains loyal to the cause. When COVID’s long arm reached Beechwood Market, Chris needed more help and asked Laura to come aboard. Any improvements over the last year have been Laura’s doing - any of the messes are all because of Chris ;)
Fun fact: Laura has followed a predominately vegan diet for over 10 years.
Renata Grudzien (AKA Laura’s favourite Beechwood Market employee) is the driving force behind Ambrozja Foods and the maker of those pierogies you like so much! As the Beechwood Market gets busier, she’s been an enthusiastic extra pair of hands, packing bags at headquarters every Saturday morning. Renata’s been a great addition to the team and has quickly found her groove in the assembly line.
Fun fact: Renata loves being a taste tester. NOM NOM NOM :)
Together, these two ladies have extensively sampled Beechwood Market’s wares and have compiled a list of some of their favourites! Items are presented in order alphabetically by vendor.
Against The Grain
LF: Heritage White Corn & Hemp Hearts Chips - These chips are so light and crispy! Unlike typical corn chips that are more dense and rely on salt alone to flavour them, these chips almost melt in your mouth. The hemp and flax seeds offer a subtle nutty taste that really enhances the chip.
LF: Sorrel (Hibiscus) Craft Drink & Cranberry Sorrel (Hibiscus) Compote - I love sorrel. I love hibiscus. I love cranberries. Both of these products are winners. The craft drink is rather sweet, but I enjoyed it watered down (lemon water is a nice touch!). Cutting it with water reduced the sweetness but did not take away the flavour. The hibiscus and spice are truly a refreshing blend. The ecompose has a similar taste to the drink - I put this compote on soooo many things. Often, just a spoon. (Cue laughter.) I don’t eat meat, so I can’t attest to the taste with turkey, but it really goes great with just about anything - potatoes, crackers, apple slices, corn chips... basically any pale food apparently!
RG: Sorrel (Hibiscus) Craft Drink - I loved having this drink as a wine alternative on Zoom girl’s night. It’s deepy ruby red, a bit sweet and spicy. At first I drank it straight up, but eventually then I started experimenting and really enjoyed it cut with sparkling water. Either way, the entire bottle didn’t last long.
Rum & Raisin Butter Tarts - These were fantastic because the star of the show is the brown sugar. It goes so well with the browned butter and raisins. You can’t taste the rum but if you get a raisin among the rest of the flavour burst is fantastic. Would get again (would eat every day actually).
Trini-style Bake & Saltfish Combo - Oh snap, the biscuits are to die for. They’re a dense dough that have been fried and baked so you can eat them on their own. But they make such a satisfying contrast to the tangy, tomato-ey, salty, seafoody sauce. I haven’t eaten the whole meal yet but I can’t wait, based on my first few bites. It is stick-to-your-RIBS.
LF: Begonia Blossoms & Sorrel - Two things I never gave much thought to before this year. I guess I should have been paying more attention to the squirrels when they were digging in my flower planters. If you like lemon, you will love both of these. Tangy and delicious. Add either to any salad, and you won’t need a lemon drizzle in your dressing. Add them to a stir fry. Pop a begonia blossom in your mouth as a palate cleanser between courses. (These days, I suppose, “courses” are just back-to-back snacks, amiright?) Seriously, give these both a try.
RG: Sorrel - I overheard Laura describing the Sorrel last Saturday and ordered it this week!
Carlington Booch: Kombucha
LF: Ginger - check! White Label Rhubarb - check! White Label Raspberry - check! I approve. Renata?
RG: Rootbeer - I love this one! It brightens my day. I usually get one to drink on my way home from the Market. I think it aids in digesting some of the market’s heavier foods.
Cloud Forest Coffee
LF: Medium/Dark/Decaf - I’m an avid coffee drinker and I’ve worked in my share of coffee shops. Cloud Forest Coffee is hands down the best coffee I’ve ever had. It’s smooth and not overly acidic. I used to have a hate-on for dark roast, but thanks to Francis’ expertise, these beans are not over-roasted, meaning there is no burnt taste that often comes with dark roasted beans. You’re left with a smooth, appealing flavour.
RG: Blueberry Pie - This handheld pie really got me. The crust is nutty and not too thick. The blueberry filling is clearly homemade and not too sweet. I can see why Julie’s mom likes it for breakfast! I felt healthy and satisfied after without the blood sugar spike that comes with a lot of other desserts.
LF: Honey Crisp & Apple Cider - It may seem silly or even unkind to say this now that their seasonal supply has run dry, but I can’t say it enough: Honey crisp is the best apple variety EVER. Sweet, crispy, and juicy with just a hint of tang. Mouthwatering. Until they come back into season, you should probably give their apple cider a try. Always a tasty treat, Hall’s makes it with a variety of apples to give it a unique flavour every batch.
RG: Apple Cider - Since starting at the Market, my fridge has been full of unique drinks (Sorrel Hibiscus drink, kombucha, apple cider...) When it comes to the cider, I really enjoy it mixed half half with a lager beer (like Corona). I’ve got my SmartServe, ready to bartend at Chez Beechwood Market if that’s ever on the table.