Tag Archives: food stores

European Food Stores in Calgary

Here’s a list of those small, family-owned European food stores that I know of in Calgary. Let me know if I’ve missed your favorite!
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Finding cheese in Calgary: Springbank Cheese Company

Springbank Cheese Company is a favorite destination for locals when they’re looking for cheese. There’s a store in NW (2015 14 Street NW, Calgary) and one in SW (Willow Park). The store in SW is definitely fancier… I visited the NW store today and the first thing I noticed was a very stringent smell (almost like sour cabbage). Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try, since the place came highly recommended.

The store has a wide variety of cheese. But most of the stuff is available in Superstore or Safeway (like spreadable soft cheese, brie, cheddar, feta). A very small piece of bulgarian feta cheese was $6.09 (personally, I’d go for the Macedonian feta cheese from Kalamata, $30/ 3kg). A few French bries – disappointingly, all expiring by December this year or January next year. In spite of being asured by the shop assistant that they’ll taste just as good after the expiring date, I didn’t want to take a chance.

I got a few varieties of goat cheese with various fruits inside (cranberries, mango). I was also very tempted by a white cheese covered in raisins, but decided to wait until my next trip there. All in all, a neat little store – I just hope the smell will soon be gone!

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Bread

I miss the times when I walked to the bakery everyday, to get a fresh loaf of bread. Today, I have to drive to the supermarket to buy bread. There are no bakeries within walking distance to my place. Besides, the bread I buy always stays fresh for over a week – which makes me very suspicious about the kind of ingredients used to make it.

Cobs is a neat bakery with some 5 locations in Calgary. I spotted one today and decided to give it a try. Smelled like fresh bread, which is always nice. They bake a wide range of breads and baked treats. A bit expensive (2.50 for a small whole wheat loaf) but I thought it’s worth a try.

Bread from Cobs Bread website

Bread from Cobs Bread website

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I’ll tell you where to go for the best lunch, but keep it a secret…

If you work in NE, you’re lucky. You can get a cheap but delicious lunch at the newly renovated ethnic food store, photoMaria Market (42-2770 32 Avenue NE). And by cheap, I mean soup $2.50 and a cooked meal $5.99… Now, I dare you to find a better deal than this… The only drawback is that once word gets spread about this place, it won’t be long until it will be packed for lunch. You can only take lunch with you, but you should probably be there a bit early if you want to eat in.

We ate there during the weekend, and it was very relaxed. For a party of two, we paid $20 for: 1x meatball soup with a slice of bread, 2x chicken with cream sauce and polenta, 2x tomato salad, 2x small coke bottles (the best coke ever if you ask me). All food is cooked that day and the lunch menu changes daily.

Maria Market on Urbanspoon

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Amandine Bakery

I love pastry. Pastry filled with mushrooms, pastry with sweet cheese, pastry with salty cheese, pastry with meat, pastry with vanilla filling, yummy pastry… Amandine Bakery and Pastry is located on Centre Street (2610 Centre St, N), easily accesible by bus from downtown. Like other places in Calgary, it closes at 6:30pm and at 4:00 pm on Sunday (I will never understand the logic of closing places just when people are finally getting home from work…). And, like most other places in Calgary, it sells the usual stuff: croissants, danishes, cookies, apple pies and some desserts. I was disappointed with this predictability: where are those thousand and one different pastries I was hoping for? There’s more to pastry than  croissants and danishes… But in the end, I got a danish and a croissant and paid $3 for them. The croissant was not at all impressive, but the danish was very yummy.

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Worst Frozen Pizza

I regret not taking a picture of it. Then you’d have seen with your own eyes: No Name Hawaiian frozen pizza from SuperStore must be the worst frozen pizza ever. I could count only 6 small pieces of pineapple, and probably not even 10 gr. of ham. So, unless you’re into pizza dough with tomato sauce and cheese, try something else…

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Meat Shops in Calgary

Organic, free range, naturally raised… New categories for consumers concerned with genetically modified foods, growth hormones and antibiotics in their meat. I confess to getting a bit lost here. So, here’s a list of meat stores in Calgary and the labels they claim for their meat. It’s a list in progress, so feel free to suggest stores I’ve missed and to check it again and again over time…

  • Second to None Meats – three stores available on 4th St SW (#3-2100 4th St SW), Macleod Trail South (7400 Macleod Trail South) and Bowness (4612 Bowness Road NW). Sells Alberta beef from the Canadian Celtic Cattle Company which is labeled ‘naturally grown’ – according to producers, this means no hormones, no steroids, no antibiotics used in the finishing period (what does that mean???). The pork is available from Broek Pork Acres and is labeled no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no animal by-products. The chicken is brought from Maple Hill farms in BC and is labeled free range, no animal by-products, no medication. The eggs are certified organic free-range. You can also find a range of home-cooked meals (I was told the meat pies and the cabbage rolls are absolutely delicious).
  • Spragg’s Meat Shop at Calgary Farmers’ Market – Sells pork labeled free range – according to producers, this means raised outside, no hormones and no antibiotics in the feed (does it mean they can be injected though?). Delicious sausages and wide variety of pork meats.
  • Grazin Acres at Calgary Farmers’ Market – Sells pork, chicken, turkey, duck, lamb and eggs. All labeled organic, no hormones, no growth hormones. In my opinion, cheapest organic eggs (4.99 the extra large 12 eggs pack). A small leaflet from the producers clarifies the following terms: certified organic (no growth hormones, medication, free run, fed certified organic grains), natural (no hormones and medication), free range/ run (animals raised able to walk around).
  • Sun Works Farm at Calgary Farmers’ Market – Sells chicken, turkey, pork, beef, and bison. The meats are certified organic, and the eggs are organic and free range. I love the ground bison – a small pack is around $5 and it’s enough to prepare 4 servings of the meatballs I was talking about here. They also sell bones for stock, which I find useful.
  • Hoven Farms at Calgary Farmers’ Market – Sells Alberta beef, certified organic – according to producers, this means no antibiotics, no artificial hormones (see comment below from producer), fed with chemicals-free grass. You can also get the beef bones for stock.
  • Regina’s Fine Meats at Crossroads Market – Sells Alberta pork, chicken and a good selection of smoked meats and sausages. A poster at the shop indicates that the meat was not medicated, but doesn’t clarify what this means. The website says that the sausages have no msg, no nitrates, no binders or fillers.
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Best Eclair in Calgary: Pastry, croissants, tarts and other sweet stuff

photo(2)If you want to try some new desserts, beyond the usual cheese-cakes, you may try Eclair de Lune. The little store situated by Northmount Drive and 40th Ave NW (1049 40th Ave NW) has opened in 2008 and offers pastries, croissants, tarts and eclairs made by the owner.

The tarts are good, but what I really loved was the eclair: firm yet soft crust and a delicious chocolate cream inside.  I have tried the eclair in various other places in Calgary (Maria’s Market and Pita Wrap Desert Deli), but the one bought from Eclair de Lune was by far the best ($3.50). However, ask if it’s baked today – sometimes they have some left from the previous days, and they are not that fresh. Be warned that it’s not cheap though: a box with five desserts (three tarts, one eclair and one pastry) is $15.

Eclair de Lune on Urbanspoon

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