A week has past since first arriving in Sydney. I've experienced a whole range of emotions and spent a lot of time reflecting on our lives in Vancouver.
There is much that I miss but also much I look forward to in rediscovering in Oz. Although, my first grocery outing in Sydney was a slap in the face after discovering the cost of organic and bio-dynamic food -- a small punnet of strawberries costs $10; a head of lettuce, $5, and green beans, $39 a kilogram! Mind you, I was browsing next to a Baby Dior boutique so perhaps I was in the wrong neighbourhood. That being said, Australia seems as long way behind Canada in terms of organic produce. I need to start growing my own.
Our lives revolve largely around food and the purchasing of it is just as much as much fun as the preparation of it. This is why one of the things I miss most is Vancouver's Granville Island Public Market -- a cornucopia of culinary offerings. Over 50 merchants selling anything from fresh-of-the-boat wild salmon to hundreds of pungent cheeses. There are endless displays of bursting berries, plump vegetables, freshly baked breads and pastas.
One of the many highlights of Granville Island is the Oyama Sausage Co. Tucked into a corner, yet impossible to miss by the large crowds that swarm, Oyama is famous for its faux gras, terrines, rilettes, handmade sausages and cheeses.
What sets Oyama's produce apart is its use of quality ingredients including pure spices and slower-growing, pasture-raised meats. Our favourites were the poitrine fumée bacon, the pâté landaise, made from a 200-year old recipe and the St Agur blue cheese closely rivaled by the melt-in-your-mouth Pierre Robert.
Next stop, South China Trading Seas Co., a mini-mecca for exotic ingredients, cookbooks and Asian cooking acoutrements such as sticky rice steamers and mortar and pestles. Whenever in stock I'd buy fresh pandan leaves, the hard-to-find Kracahi root used in Thai curries, Himalayan truffles or cactus leaves.
South China Seas Owner, and walking encyclopaedia of food, Don Dickson is as interesting, if not more, than his exotic wares.
The seafood in Vancouver is pretty special - especially the wild salmon, oysters and the Dungeness crab. Seafood City is a must for succulent salmon, spot prawns and a whole range of fresh or smoked fish and shellfish. Brian, featured below is charming, helpful and knowledgeable about his selection and will help you choose something for dinner. Brian's best customer is a cat named 'Sarah' who consumes $80 a week of halibut, salmon and calamari!
No trip to Granville Island was ever complete without being serenaded in soulful French by Josh Minsky. Josh is the most charming, most talented street performer who has ever sung to me. And, as I walked past and dropped my shopping to the ground to stand and listen, it really did feel like he was singing to me.
This picture captures Josh's nature perfectly. Even on a grey day, a shaft of light seemed always to be upon him. The world around him glowed. Couples would slow-dance. Even the seagulls would shut up. And he would stand at the dock, just above the tiny Granville Island ferries, and sing - always in his tuxedo and with a smile on his face.
The last time I saw him was on my last trip to Granville Island. He was there as always - singing and smiling at me. I wish I could have stayed and listened longer. I left abruptly with tears welling in my eyes and a lump growing in my throat.
Josh provided me with the perfect musical accompaniment to a wonderful time of my life. I wish I could thank him, but I suppose this reminiscence will have to do.
Thank you for all your comments and messages. I apologise profusely for having not responded as yet. I look forward to checking out all your blogs and getting back into the blogging groove.
Stay tuned for my next installment from stunning Sydney.