A bit of a spike in warmer weather was good for Ontario hothouses, and the Chef found hothouse cucumbers and eggplants with a few tomatoes at the Ontario Food Terminal. Ontario produce available included: apples, squash, and many root vegetables. The Chef thought that the Ontario leeks were suspiciously thin and wondered whether the vendors had pulled off some of the outer skins.
On the US side, prices had nearly doubled in a week. The Chef found good rapini, cauliflower, and artichokes, but Brussels sprouts were hard to find. It appears that the importers may be switching to cheaper Mexican sources in order to make more money. The Chef is concerned about this, anticipating that this trend will diminish the quality of produce at the Terminal. He was amused to see a buyer for one of Toronto’s fine grocery chains discarding all the better Ontario squash and grabbing the competing, and in the Chef’s view, inferior, Mexican squash while stating loudly that his chain only bought the best.
There were no Italian blood oranges, just a few Spanish ones which quickly sold out. Hopefully, Italian ones will be imported next year. But California is having a good year in citrus and there is a greater variety of Californian citrus at the Terminal than the Chef could ever remember. This included all kinds of oranges like the delicious but expensive Cara Cara variety that we mentioned last month. The Chef found unusual sweet limes which look rather like lemons. He was looking forward to incorporating them into his desserts. We wondered whether they should be incorporated into rum drinks.
The Chef bought cactus pears (also called prickly pears) in order to make a gel. These are good for eating as well. You eat the seeds in addition to the flesh.
The most exciting development for the Chef is that Vancouver’s spring season is about to start and we will be receiving miner’s lettuce and stinging nettles along with wild morel mushrooms soon.
From South America, the mangos, papayas, and pineapples looked good.
Few Canadian fish are available, but tilefish and wild striped bass are starting from the mid-Atlantic. The Chef’s supplier of fresh Ontario hens is delivering on a reliable basis. The last of the Ontario bison cheeks are here. The Chef is curing duck eggs with salt to use on the scallop plate.
The desserts featuring chocolate ingredients are popular and the Chef has redesigned the white chocolate blondie which is fantastic looking. He is serving the double-baked chocolate soufflé. Apple dishes are also popular at GEORGE.