Favourite picnic treats in YYC
We have a four year old and a week old baby so my husband and I are trying to get creative when it comes to celebrating Valentine's day. We are thinking that an at-home picnic sounds ideal. The main idea here is minimal preparation. I haven't had a hot meal or sleep that has lasted more than 90 minutes at a stretch since the baby was born so we're more into opening and assembling than cooking from scratch, although simple, quick recipes would be okay. I'm looking for a meal that can be interrupted and doesn't suffer for it. What are people's favourite Calgary picnic treats and how do you like to serve them? I've been meaning to start this thread for a while.
I was thinking maybe a mini-little dessert cake from Manuel Latruwe's might make a simple yet eloquent dessert. An assortment of creative donuts from Modern Jelly Donuts could also be quite fun. A nice charcuterie and cheese plate would also be lovely. Any suggestions of what your favourite items to include would be and where to get them? I love the duck rillettes sandwich at L'epicerie so I could grab all the ingredients there to recreate it at home. Any picnic type suggestions are very welcome.
Both L'epicerie and Eclair De Lune carry terrific croutons (but I would call them to make sure). L'epicerie has a nice Foie Gras Terrine or gravlax to go with it.
Call Bliss Cupcakes and reserve some mini-pies. And they make the best cream puffs.
Get some nice prosciutto from Mercato or Lina's - serve it on a toasted baguette (or crouton from above) with brie, pear and honey. Yes - I have been known to take this on a hiking trip...
Red Tree Kitchen toes take-home meals that are mostly great (sometimes mediocre). They have a Valentine's day special with dessert.
Forage also does some great take-home meals, and use local ingredients. It's always good, but be warned: this is hearty prairie food! Lots of meat, root vegetables, etc. and big portions.
These are all delicious suggestions. Picnic food is my favourite way to eat so I'm pretty enthusiastic about trying these suggestions. It's been a really long time since I've been to cookbook co. and I've never been to Mercato. I think that I'll get my husband to grab a salted caramel chocolate tart for me since they are limited time only and he passes by Crave on the way to work. I'm not actually a huge fan of their cupcakes but I love tarts. Yay! An shopping outing!
I'd check out Salsita (Northmount Dr just west of 14th street on the south side in the strip mall with the gas station) their salsas and ceviche are delicious--they also have a lot of tamales and empanadas in their freezer. In the same neighbourhood is Eclair de Lune for delicious elegant desserts.
For salads my favourite stops in Calgary is Planet Organic off Shaganappi or Sunterra Market. Planet O is good about giving samples so you can try before you buy. I also like Lina's Italian Market for Italian cheeses-fresh mozza, good quality parmesan. Lina's also the only place I know of doing cannolis(Scarpones iirc just sells cannoli shells).
If you want to go Greek (or don't want to travel up North--not sure where you are) Two Greek Gals at Calgary Farmers Market does excellent tzatziki, and an eggplant antipasto that I just tried last week that is delicious with a little goat cheese on pita-which they also do well (or even on baguette). Eclair de Lune also has a booth there so it'd be one stop shopping. I know Valentine's Day is a Tuesday but Antipasto and the like will hold well for a few days.
I like going to Cookbook Company Cooks for a selection of good dips/tapenades and crisp breads, then to Janice Beaton for some cheeses, olives and a Valbella pepper pate or one of the cold smoked trout pieces they have had in the past (not sure if they still do). I'd also add some fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil salad, if you can find some decent tomatoes. I'm not much of a desert person but all the suggestions below sound like they'd work well.
The deli at Mercato has some nice things such as the white bean spread or bruschetta. It is not cheap, but the quality is good. They also have some great salads and other cold appetizers. They have pastas and sauces that are easy to heat up, or premade items such as breaded chicken cutlets.