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Hard to find ingredients help (Calgary)

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I've been looking for several ingredients with no success for quite some time and hope someone else will have had better luck and can point me to the right stores. Specifically, I'm looking for:

quail eggs, squid ink, sunflower shoots, truffles, fois gras, squab, and llama.

I did find sunflower shoots once at the Britannia Sunterra but they never had them again and that was months ago. That may just be a seasonal issue, but they still have pea shoots so hard to say. Hope you can help!

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  1. hi there, hope this helps....

    quail eggs - some oriental markets like T&T (Harvest Hills & Pacific Place stores), Shun Fat (17th ave SE), Lucky Family (Forest Lawn)

    squid ink - Italian Supermarket on Edmonton Tr. look for it in the case behind the cashier's spot its about $13 for a small bottle, ask for Nero Al Seppia. personally I like using the ones in single use packets from Spain but I haven't seen those locally so I have to ask friends flying in from the US to buy for me (these come in boxes of 50's)

    foie gras - sunterra (Elbow Dr store) & lina's italian market (centre st) for smaller but more expensive retail packs or go to bonton meat market or second to none meats for whole lobes (comes out more reasonable) i buy the whole lobe, pre-slice this for pan searing, wrap the slices in foil and stock in my freezer. I bring out a couple of slices as needed. you can buy the lobe for between $50-90 (depending on the size) for a grade B from Hudson Valley Farms in the US. (vs buying a vacuum packed slice for around $35 at Lina's)

    sorry, haven't been buying the other items you were looking for. i've bought some good truffle cheese though from Springbank Cheese co on 14th St NW. there's also a good selection of truffle infused oils at Lina's Italian Market (look for these in the secured case right by the cashier)

    1 Reply
    1. re: babettesfeast

      Quail eggs at Superstore and at T and T. I've seen squab in the frozen poultry section of T and T as well.

    2. I've seen quail eggs at Superstore. Can't say I've ever purchased them before though.

      Good luck with everything else!

        1. In my search for good yogurt I sent an e-mail to Sunterra and got a really nice response. She actually phoned the supplier. The e-mail address is on the Sunterra website. You might send them your list and see what they have to say.

          1. foie gras and truffles (and truffle oil) can be bought at a new spot in Inglewood called Bite. it's on 9th between recordland and sugo (where the good earth was years ago).

            Bite sells mostly high end imports from italy (both foodstuffs and kitchenware), but they also have fresh foie gras and duck meat and a few other charcuterie-type items in some refrigerated displays at the back of the shop. This in addition to the assortment of import items on hand, like aged balsamic, artisanal dried pastas, etc. Kevin Kent sells knives out of there every saturday, so if you're also looking for a really fancy damascus steel japanese knife, that's where to go. When i was there the other week, i spotted the owner/chef of capo picking up a beautiful one-sided deba blade

            I was talking with the owner (of Bite), and she mentioned that she wants to get more staple items as well, so that the shop has a bit more of a neighbourhood grocer feel.

            4 Replies
            1. re: marcopolo

              Thanks for the tip Marcopolo. Looking duck breasts in particular, does she sell those?

              1. re: sweeterpea

                yep, i'm pretty sure they do.

                found this article on the web while looking for their number:

                "The real star of this food show, though, is the duck, bred under the Rougie brand in Quebec.

                This big, meaty poultry is available fresh whole (at $15 a kilogram, surely the best price in the city) and as breasts, legs and foie gras lobes. "

                1. re: sweeterpea

                  there was something about buying duck breasts in the current issue of city palate as well, it's not my favorite so I didn't pay attention to where they recommended but there was information there.

                2. re: marcopolo

                  Sounds like a great new place. I'm looking forward to the weekend when I can get in to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

                3. they have pea shoots at that Sunterra?!!? regularly?
                  that would be great, i've been wanting either pea shoots or watercress, i've had it in restaurants so i knew they had to be out there somewhere.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: pants

                    Try pea shoots at T and T, they have them regularly. Also, I've seen them at Superstore once in a while. I know a lot of people hate Superstore but they do carry some interesting items that I haven't found elsewhere and for a good price, too.

                    1. re: sweeterpea

                      Agree! Their ready made frozen puff pastry is superb - made with butter as opposed to that rubbish that comes in yellow boxes you find elsewhere. I am also fond of their ready made veggie bolognese sauce (comes in jars) - I know this is a heinous foodie crime, but it's great for a very quick meal.

                      1. re: graemejw

                        I just bought a box of bronze-cut pasta made in Italy (President's Choice brand) for 99 cents. Haven't tried it yet, but it looks good. I think maybe we should start a posting about the great things found at Superstore ;o)

                    2. re: pants


                      I only got pea shoots at the Britannia Sunterra once, but they do have them most every time I've been there at the Community Natural Foods near Chinook, and they're always fresh and crisp. They also have them regularly at T&T but they are never as nice in freshness as at CNF I've found. I too would like to find watercress but so far no luck with that one either. Let me know if you find it!

                      1. re: GaryR

                        Safeway at Westhills has Watercress on Friday just gone. It's also pretty much a regular at Sunterra Mkt Square. The quality is usually pretty good. considering how far it muct have travelled.

                        1. re: graemejw

                          Watercress can be found at Superstore on a regular basis as well. Most of the time it's fresh, depending on which day you go.

                        2. re: GaryR

                          I see watercress at T+T when I'm there (at least once a week).

                          1. re: a voce

                            sweeterpea: Duck breasts try Mercato (on 4th). They get the brome lake duck breasts in from Montreal. Very good.

                            1. re: lynnrb

                              mmMMM Brome Lake ducks. On Thursday Janice Beaton had duck pate from L'Estrie that we thought must have also been duck from Lac Brome.

                              Oh, and rumour has it Starr Ridge crackers will soon cease to exist... at least according to the folks at JB. I hope they stick around... I'm rather fond of the Pistachio and the Olive oil ones... delicious and sturdy enough for anything you want to put on them or dip them in :)

                              1. re: maplesugar

                                The Tribune on 8th ave specializes in duck from Lac Brome. We had it for Valentines and it was very delicious.

                                1. re: debkassy

                                  Good to know...I've been missing it (moved here from Montreal, spent a few years in L'Estrie before that) Thanks deb :)

                              2. re: lynnrb

                                thank you lynn!

                                mmmmmmm duck pate mmmmmmm

                                1. re: lynnrb

                                  hey guys, just an fyi...brome lake ducks taste good and are very tender, however this tenderness is a result of an artificial means induced by pressure. our restaurant supply experience puts all indicators that all brome lake breasts and remaining duck parts are frozen before reaching the consumer. on the other hand rougie ducks are raised naturally, by being fed organic corn. this process at rougie has been replicated from its southern french (france) origins.

                          2. Just checked out Bite, and while they don't have truffles per se(sliced black truffles in a jar), they do offer a wide range of products. I think it is a little peculiar that there are truffle slicers for sale, but no real truffles? I know they are virtually impossible to get, but they did say that they could order them in. Everything they have IS very intriguing, and what I tried was top-notch. The foie gras mousse at Bite is absolutely wonderful! So are the duck breasts, for anyone else wondering. (pics at www.thepinkpeppercorn.blogspot.com) I do love the truffle cream at Lina's Italian market. It has lots of truffles in it, and is very versatile and delicious.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: hornvixen

                              I agree Bite has some interesting stuff. I was there last week and she was about to close. Apparently they're usually closed weekdays from 3-4pm?? Word to the wise: be prepared to pay a serious premium. IMHO Bite is not for the bargain hunter although she said she wants to become Inglewood's neighbourhood grocer... so maybe she'll bring in more local product in the future.

                              Personally Magres(sp?) duck is interesting and all but I'd like her to consider bringing in say Brome Lake Duck - an "import" from Quebec that is just as good if not better...and very likely hasn't spent as much time in transit...

                              1. re: maplesugar

                                Why would Brome ducks spend less time than Rougie ducks in transit from Quebec?

                                1. re: hornvixen

                                  From speaking with the owner I was under the impression duck magrets was a French import (and last I checked France is further away than Quebec.) I was irked that she seemed to assume anything from out of country was superior to that found locally. I was mistaken however ... "Magrets" refers not to origin but rather a duck that's been force-fed to make foie gras, whereas fillets come from regular ducks.

                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                    I popped in yesterday & bought some wholewheat pasta which seemed like a real bargain, I also bought the Balsamic Cream - which will be used tonight when our friends come round for dinner.

                                    I didn't have my cool box with me or I would have been adding the lamb, creme fraiche & beautiful fig loaf to my purchases.

                                    Glad to have a place like this in Calgary.

                                    1. re: maplesugar

                                      magret is the breast from a moullard or barbury duck that has been raised for foie.

                              2. Quail eggs - Superstore, Fois Gras - Sunterra or Bite, Pea Shoots - T&T. Haven't seen sunflower shoots but try Community Health on 10 Av SW. Truffles - fresh? non existent. Otherwise, Lina's. Llama, don't know ;)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sarah galvin

                                  Bite is getting many more unique items in all the time. Local, organic, 54% heavy cream. It is actually heavy! Soon I will try the rabbit.

                                2. Besides Bite, where can one find heavy cream in Calgary? I would like to make chocolate truffles this coming weekend—got the chocolate, just need the cream.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: aktivistin

                                    Sunworks @ Calgary Farmers Market has heavy cream. Open Fri/Sat/Sun

                                    1. re: lynnrb

                                      That's the Vital Greens cream. I've bought it to make ice cream -- it's awesome. so thick it it's hard to get it to come out of the bottle. Strangely, I don't care for the milk though, to me it as a weird after taste.

                                    2. re: aktivistin

                                      They carry both the vital greens and avalon heavy cream at Community Natural Foods. And it's open 7 days a week.

                                      1. re: yen

                                        Wonderful, thanks! I'll look for it there.

                                    3. Squab? Catch your own: aka pigeon.

                                      1. i know you can get quail eggs at the real canadian superstore, and you might try T&T for squid ink ... fois gras, well id talk to a restaurant owner, they would probablyn know... good luck

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: concombre

                                          Foie Gras is available at L'Epicerie - in whole lobes, and terrines.