Scheffler’s Deli & Cheese has one of the largest selections of antipastos and appetizers in the market: stuffed peppers, olives, tomatoes and grape leaves; marinated olives, wild mushrooms, homemade pestos and dips. The deli selection is enormous, with one of the largest varieties of prosciutto in the city. Here’s an idea: grab some bread from any of the bakeries in the Market, and fill it with cheese and prosciutto from Scheffler’s – a great snack any time of day. And, just when you think you’ve seen everything the shop has to offer, you get to the cash register and admire the display of rare and hard-to-find chocolates, at reasonable prices to boot.
St. Lawrence Market, Upper Level 7
93 Front Street East
+1 416 364 2806
Google map: bit.ly/o8uT3m
Kenny and Daniel know their cheese, and they always provide great recommendations. Whether you want soft cheese, hard cheese, mild cheese, or the beautiful runny, stinky stuff, these guys are very knowledgeable and they always make me look good: my guests always rave about my cheese platters. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can sample to your heart’s content and learn something new. The shop specializes in farmhouse cheese from Quebec and Europe.
Established in 1803, this is one of Toronto’s major markets. The complex consists of the South Market, where over 100 vendors, including butchers, bakers, cheesemongers and green grocers sell their goods on a daily basis (closed Sunday). On Saturdays only, the North Market features seasonal produce, meats and baked goods from over 50 local farmers; and on Sundays only, an Antique Market with over 80 dealers is open to the public. From antiquarian books to vintage jewelry, fine china and furniture, there is something for everyone here.
If travelling via Cherbourg, take a side step into the Val de Saire and the charming Barfleur, site of the Norman departure in 1066. Protected from the Atlantic winds, the coastline and beaches are great for walking and swimming. Five miles further south is St Vaast la Hougue, a fishing port with lots of activity and delightful sea-food. Don't miss the local oysters, thought by some to be the best in France. Try them at the Chasse-Maree at the end of the port, an unmissable stop for us,each time we're in the Cotentin.
People argue all the time about which cupcakes are the best in NYC. Let me settle it: Buttercup Bake Shop. It used to have locations on the East and West sides, but sadly, only one remains. You'll have to venture to 973 2nd Avenue (between 51st and 52nd Streets). If you're not into cupcakes, you can also order banana pudding, cake slices, or muffins.
Mont St Michel is much visited and for very good reason, but visiting with three small children we had to find a new twist to add to its appeal. So we used the Disney-line: the excitement of catching glimpses of the mount as we approached as this was the very location of Mickey Mouse's dungeon from The Three Musketeers; the crowded streets the place to buy beignets like Tiana made in The Princess and the Frog. But the best find of all were the mussel and oyster bars which stretch along the coastal road along the edge of the Bay of Mont St Michel. Cheap, child-friendly and with fantastic views of Mont St Michel - our three devoured bowlfuls of mussels and oysters dug fresh from the sandy bay - without even a mention of what Sebastian from The Little Mermaid might make of it all!
Take the D155 from St Malo, then onto the D797 at Le Vivier-sur-Mer heading towards Mont St Michel.
Google map: bit.ly/ojp0gQ
Oysters may be bought directly from local harvesters at the end of the Quai Admis en Chef Thomas. Among the freshest oysters you could get! However, make sure you know how to open them ("huitres sauvages" in particular can be quite tricky). You can also be lazy and try one of the numerous restaurants. Don't forget to try the Kouign Amann (literally butter cake and not plum cake as translated in Amelie) at Grain de Vanille.
Grain de Vanille
12 Place Victoire, 35260 Cancale, France
+33 2 23 15 12 70
Google map: bit.ly/pws04O
Rennes has got its own local version of the hot-dog: the galette saucisse. Not really French cuisine as you would picture it but perfect before a football match in the Route de Lorient stadium.
Any town/sports event in Rennes and its region
It is a sensible approach for an ice cream shop to advertise separate opening hours for sunny or rainy weather. Even when the skies cloud over the ice cream served here is a worthy diversion from your shopping or bar sampling in the Châtelain district – and excellent value at three euro for the double scoop! It’s made the traditional way using egg yolk, whole milk, crème fraîche, vanilla pods and fresh fruit; and the sorbet using fruit juices and pulp – with absolutely nothing artificial used to colour, preserve or enhance it. There are around 200 flavours in the repertoire and you can expect to find up to 24 of these on offer on an average summer evening. This week I chose a double cone of old fashioned vanilla with candied mandarin, while my friend picked Périgord nuts and Speculoos.
Of course there are typical Belgian flavours to choose from, including Liège waffle, salted butter caramel, dark chocolate and speculoos. However for me it’s always vanilla that is the yardstick by which all other flavours are judged, and here the vanilla is very good indeed: not artificial or overbearing; while the mandarin sorbet is delicate and fruity. Once the ice cream has gone finishing the cone is normally a chore. Not here: the crisp, not over-sweet wafer is dispatched within seconds.
Rue du Bailli 35/Baljuwstraat 35, Ixelles
+32(0) 647 51 44
Google map: bit.ly/p1xhdi
The longest running organic bakery in London started out in 1982 in a disused post office in Clapham. The bakers use the best quality flours to produce divine breads, pasties, pastries and cakes. The aroma of fresh bread draws in customers from all over south London, and there’s even a home delivery service. Scrummy.
Greensmiths is an amazing food emporium, café, cheese heaven and bakery.
The aroma from the cheesemonger’s section reminded me of old fashioned speciality shops last smelt in my early childhood. So evocative. I was offered a tasting nugget of Coolea cheese made by a Dutch couple who moved to Cork, Ireland, it is a bit like a hard, tangy Gouda, and very moreish!
Fresh meat is delivered from the Ginger pig farm in North Yorkshire, while bread, pastries and cakes come from the superb Old Post Office organic bakery in Clapham’s Landor Road.
The Waterloo wine merchant provides the bevies, and the Solstice fruit and veg department looks like something out of Harrods food hall, with every aubergine polished to within an inch of its life and every grape gleaming in the sunlight.
The café is located upstairs and outside on the pavement. My friend enjoyed the all-day veggie breakfast and I wolfed down a roast beef and horseradish ciabatta sandwich, refreshed with specialist coffees and other brews from Caffe Antica.
27 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7RG
+44(0)207 921 2970
Google map: bit.ly/lv6Hte
Open Mon-Fri 08.00—20.00, Sat 08.00—18.00, Sun closed
Overground train or Northern Line underground to Waterloo, Bakerloo Line underground to Lambeth North, bus 12, 53, 148, 159, 453, N109, 171
There are many options for good food in Hoi An, but at White Lotus you can enjoy your meal even more knowing your money is going to a good cause.
Since Australian Geoff Shaw set up Project Indochina eight years ago, this NGO has provided homes and medicines for the poor and installed waste and water treatment plants in schools and hospitals throughout Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
All proceeds from White Lotus go to the charity. The restaurant is also doing its bit to help break Vietnam’s poverty chain by employing and training local staff from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The restaurant is extremely clean and stylish and the food of a very high standard. Hoi An spring rolls will set you back 45,000 dong (£1.40), veggie mains 40,000 dong (£1.20) speciality mains 100,000 (£3) and pizzas 70,000 (£2.10).
Cookery courses with the head chef can also be arranged, which involve going to the local market to buy fresh produce, then returning to the restaurant by boat to prepare the food.
If you ever get the chance to visit southern Sri Lanka then deffo drop by Galle (pronounced 'gall') as it's a brilliant place to visit. For the best home-grown and dried spices visit the spice shack by the central Buddha in the veg market. Here you will find the most friendly local guy who will talk you through recipes and tips without ripping you off because you're a tourist! It's truly mouth wateringly fab. Although beware, his hot stuff is HOT!
By the big Buddha near the indoor veg market, NOT in the touristy and not so good spice market area on the sea front. Enjoy!
Google map : bit.ly/mfXOje
Located minutes from Old Town Square, I found this gem after a morning of wandering the Jewish Quarter. Tired and needing a quick energy fix, the coffee here was a perfect pick-me-up. Bakeshop Praha soon became my every day stop for a cup of consistently good coffee and the opportunity to rest in a non-smoking zone, something that is very difficult to find in Prague.
Everything in the shop is baked daily, including their famous sourdough bread, with varieties such as walnut, potato dill, rosemary olive oil, and black olive.
Their display cases showcase loaf cakes, savory pies, canapés, quiches, sandwiches and even wedding cakes.
The hot chocolate at Choco Café is seriously the best I’ve ever had. It is pure alchemy: 100 grams of decadent, delicious chocolate so thick you can eat it with a spoon.
This is a nice quiet place to get away from the hordes of tourists in the Old Town. The cosy café has tables and couches set in a relaxed atmosphere. You are encouraged to sit, relax and pass the time away. The long list of hot chocolate varieties include: spiced ginger, sea salt, chili, rum or fresh fruits. My favourite is the hot chocolate with chili. I love how the bittersweetness of the chocolate blends nicely with the hot chili kick - very nice. Try it!
If, like me, you’re one of those people that loves to check out gourmet grocers when you visit a city, then you must go to Pusateri’s. This place is like a candy store for foodies: the freshest fruits and produce available, including my favourite heirloom tomatoes in the summer and chanterelles in the fall; a meat and deli counter that rivals anything I’ve seen anywhere, their Kobe beef is flown in daily from Japan; a bakery section that contains windows upon windows of decadent, glorious pastries, macarons, tarts, pies, cookies, anything and everything your heart desires; cheeses of every kind, fresh bread, imported delicacies and a variety of prepared foods. There is a small cafe area, where you can sit and watch the world go by - if you’re lucky enough to find a spot. No matter what time of day, this place is always packed.
Sophocles is one of the best bakeries in south London and knocks all other Camberwell cakey places into a cocked hat. Where else can you try a kolokotes: a Cornish pasty-shaped sweet pastry case hiding an unusual and surprisingly tasty mix of pumpkin, raisins, cous cous and spices? It sounds strange but one of these is worth a journey on the number 12 bus alone. This Greek-owned bakery and patisserie tempts me inside daily, with its irresistible, fresh bloomers, whose fluffy white (or brown) bread, with a crisp sesame and aniseed dusting, cries out to be slathered in butter. There is a vast range of sweet pastries, creamy cakes, fruit tarts and almond pies dripping with honey. I only recently spotted the savoury section at the back, hidden behind the small café area, where elderly Greek gentlemen sip sticky coffee. However, I’ll be back soon to try a feta and spinach pastry, a crimson slice of pizza or a made to order sandwich. Tasty.
24 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8QU
+44(0)20 7252 6316
Bus 12, 171, 345, 36, 436 to Camberwell Green
Google map: bit.ly/lF8fAn
Along with its fantastic beer and chocolate, Belgium is rightly famous for its frites and you can find little chip huts (baraques à frites or frietkots in Flemish) dotted all over Brussels. Tracking down the best friteries in the land seems to be a national pastime, at least in cyberspace. There’s even a new itunes application showing 49 top Brussels frietkots with their GPS positioning. I say you have to start somewhere, so why not first sample the offerings at Frit’ Flagey? Here they are fried twice (as they should be) and emerge golden with a crispy exterior - tastier than those of the famed Maison Antoine, in my opinion. Chips come either in small or large portions, but the choice of sauces can be bewildering, so spend your waiting time wisely deciding which to have. I recently strayed from my usual unimaginative ketchup and chose provençale. Frite-eating in Brussels is a pleasure shared by people of all ages, shapes and sizes and I often wonder at the orderliness of the queue – why is it never like this in the post office or waiting for the bus?
Place Flagey/Flageyplein, 1050 Ixelles
Google map: bit.ly/mydj7Z
The agritourismo Il Piastrino is a family run B&B on a Tuscan farm with apartments and rooms. I recommend it because it is a family run agriturismo, where all food and produce come from the family's farm and the surrounding area. Nothing was too much trouble as they prepared a wonderful Tuscan meal including hams, cheeses with honey, melon and other traditional Italian foods for nine people on very short notice. Furthermore they arranged taxi transport to our next destination in Florence - roughly an hour away. Everything was hassle free. The setting was beautiful among the vineyards and olive groves and the outdoor pool was great to cool off in. It is also a short bicycle ride into the town of Vinci the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci.
Boreas could be considered a “gastro” tapas restaurant, serving traditional tapas with quality ingredients and a modern, international twist. It has a relaxed atmosphere, and a specials board that changes regularly, with plenty of choice for vegetarians and pescatarians. Tapas are a little pricier than your bog-standard bar but the quality is definitely there.
Make a table reservation to avoid disappointment
Alameda de Hercules, 61, Sevilla, 41002
+34 954 916334
La Alameda is considered the more indie part of the city, where many bars and restaurants have sprouted after a recent renovation. It is a short stroll away from the city centre, but is a hive for food and entertainment.
Google map: bit.ly/mm1TIV
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