Sunday, January 23, 2011

Foodshed Market at Brooklyn Commons

With the frigid temperatures outside, I'm grateful that some of the folks from the farmers markets have moved indoors for a bit.  Today, some friends of mine and I paid a visit to one of these, the Foodshed Market at the Brooklyn Commons.  This space is not only being used to host vendors on Sundays, it also has other activities taking place during the week and special food demos on market day.


Normally, it would take a lot to pry me off of the couch to venture out of doors when the thermometer gets this low but having been there a couple of Sundays ago, I knew that there would be some great treats waiting for me at the end of my subway trip, including a Lobster Roll from Luke's Lobster.  One of these was the lovely display of fish from Joseph Fisheries out of Montauk on Long Island, from whom I'd bought the gorgeous sole that went into the Sole with Lemon-Butter Sauce that I made a couple of weeks ago.  I looked for it again today, but, alas, there wasn't any.  I was a bit disappointed, but there was so much else to check out at the market today.




There was a favorite of mine, Mosefund Farm, with their amazing Italian brats (on left) and applewood smoked bacon.  I was told that beer brats, a hot Italian sausage, and a breakfast sausage will be arriving soon as additions to their product line.  I can't wait to try those out when they arrive.  Another vendor whom I've mentioned before, Brooklyn Cured, was also there with his country pate and other offerings (on right).  I'm still keeping my eyes peeled for when he has his homemade mustard available for sale, as I think it goes perfectly with his smoked pork rillettes.


What was great about this market, too, was the chance for me to discover some new vendors as well.  One of this was Las Delicias with all their gorgeous pastries.  The Lavender Madeleines had a delicate floral perfume that complemented the soft, sweet cake.  I walked off with an Almond Kouing Amman which was flakey on the outside but buttery rich and robustly almondy on the inside, much like biting into an almond croissant.  Both of these were perfect afternoon treats and just enough to keep me going to check out the rest of the market.  They also carry some savory tarts as well, if you wanted to pick up something to have later on.  The husband of the owner, who was manning the table said that she (the owner) had been talking to the Greenmarket about selling in their stalls as well, so these items might be available in your neighborhood soon.


There was plenty to snack on at other tables, too.  Tierra Farm was selling its organic nuts and other products.  They have an Agave Ginger Cashew that could be an addictive afternoon snack with its sweet-sharp bite.  If you're looking at something different to serve for your Superbowl party this year, you should check out Samios Foods (photo above) who had several flavors of their Greek skordalia out for everyone to try.  This is creamy like hummus, but with a bit of a punch from the garlic or savory note from the rosemary, depending upon the version that you try.  I really loved the contrast between its smooth texture and the crispy flatbreads that we used to taste it.


If your sweet tooth wants to be satisfied, there's plenty in that area as well.  My friends and I liked the samples of toffee from Pure Goodies (unfortunately, their site is down at the moment).  The original and milk chocolate toffee was sweet, crunchy, buttery, and all the things it should be, much like my own version.  Their Maple Bacon flavor was smokey and sweet at the same time, if you can believe that that combination works.  It truly all blended together harmoniously.  The real hit, I think is their Cayenne Sea Salt toffee, which starts out smooth and sweet and then hits with a pop of heat at the end, in a surprising twist.  It is just enough spark to make you want to go back for another piece.


Then, there was Cibelli Chocolates who brought a smooth, creamy sea salt caramel for us to try.  Beautifully decorated, these come in interesting flavors like Peanut Butter and Jelly and Masala Chai.  Not all of these were my favorites, I have to be honest, but the passion is definitely there in the production.  I just wish my photos could do justice to how lovely these all looked.  Definitely keep an eye on her website, as she said she's doing something special for Valentine's Day.


Upstairs today, as the market has two floors, we checked out Swoon who had sweet and savory items on display.  The owner sells at markets, through his website, and has other private customers.  His products are gluten free and/or vegan, and he sells soups, cookies, cupcakes, dressings, and other prepared items.  The vegetarian (soy-free) meatball in tomato sauce had a great, rich, satisfying flavor.  I'm not sure that I could pass it off on my carnivore siblings for dinner, but it might be worth a try with these.  The Cucumber-Dill Dressing would have gone perfectly with the salmon my friend is thinking about fixing tonight with its creamy texture and crunch.


The hit of the market for us, however, had to be the folks at The Stand.  I've heard them mentioned in the press, but I'd never come across their products until now.  I had no idea what I'd been missing.  Using locally-available and seasonal ingredients, where they can, they are among the folks who are tapping into the naturally-made soda market here in New York.  With flavors like Quince, Meyer Lemon, Caramel-Apple, and Cranberry-Lemon, we were thinking "Cocktail Party," although these are actually designed to be used with carbonated water to make homemade sodas.


All of these syrups would make wonderful hostess gifts or presents to oneself.  They also had samples of sweet quince jam and mouth-puckering Meyer lemon jam to try as well.  Those would go very well with several dishes I could think to put together or even as complements to a cheese platter.  You could even cheat and use the lemon one with a tagine, instead of preserving lemons yourself (I won't tell anyone.).


There's so many things available in just the relatively small space of the Foodshed, that it's hard to do justice in this short post to all of it.  There were lots of vendors selling a wide variety of products, including raw produce.  The folks from Bambino's Ravioli had lovely fresh pasta and today had fresh cannolis along with tubs of cannoli cream.  Divine Brine (whom I'd first tried at Pickle Day) had their pickles and chutneys available, perfect companions for winter's heavier dishes.  For those who like amazingly delicate and rich meats, the people at Hudson Valley Duck were on hand to demonstrate their smoked duck breasts, duck rillettes, and duck proscuitto.  The only downfall of today's visit is that I realized that I just don't have the refrigerator space or weekly food budget to buy all of these items.  I guess I'll just have to go back there again throughout the season to pick up something new every week.  It definitely beats having to shop at several different stores, trudging home in the freezing cold with all my bags.

Buon appetito!

3 comments:

Cynthia said...

I love this place.
Great shopping, lots of tasting, music,sunny upstairs space with couches.
What more could one ask on a cold winter's day.

Carol said...

Thank you for the favorable comments about Cibelli Chocolates

Carol Lang

The Experimental Gourmand said...

Cynthia - I love that they also have a great space to do food demos and classes in that upstairs space. It's a great way to interact with the food community.

Carol - It was great to see your gorgeous chocolates again. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in the future.

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