It’s pouring at the Whistler Farmer’s Market in the Upper Village.
For once, I’ve left Teddy at home; my pooch can’t even stand getting his paws wet in puddles.
I’m hunkered down in my rain slicker, my shopping partner is nursing his cold hands around a hot cup of coffee and despite goose bumps and visible shivering, I am still ordering a three-scoop gelato waffle cone from Luccia’s Gelato.
A gelato carton was offered instead, encouraging me to sip up to the organic coffee poured at the Pemberton Valley Coffee stand and boxing my Italian stallion of ice cream fantasies until I am snuggled warm at home.
What can I say? I’m an extreme eater. Nothing could keep me away from my regular Sunday morning “breakfast” that teleports me back to my travels in Italy despite my expired passport.
Roaming the streets of Venice, I truly found amore in my passionate rendezvous with Italian ice cream. Much like the Italian men, this strolling companion is smooth. Crafted from milk and sugar and flavoured with fruit, chocolate or nuts, the gelato ingredients are frozen while being turned to break up ice crystals. The result is a creamy lick of frozen heaven with roughly 35 per cent less air than North American ice cream, resulting in a dense, flavourful freeze.
Luccia’s Gelato is made fresh every weekend by Whistler’s Kathryn Shepherd and Tracy Higgs, who often utilize local berries to create Whistler’s own leaning tower of Pisa. I’ve traveled every corner of this icy boot: from mango, pistachio and caramel to lemon, coconut and apricot to this week’s tower of chocolate-hazelnut, green apple and raspberry.
Everything great always comes in threes, but single and double scoops in a cup or environmentally friendly waffle cones are available.
This was my last gelato, my last Farmer’s Market of the season — although the Whistler Farmer’s Market will have one last hurrah on Saturday and Sunday this long weekend, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Upper Village.
With no time for baking — or more like no patience for burning and turning a rolling pin over glue and goopy homemade piecrust dough — I pulled two pumpkin pies fresh from the Golden Crust Specialties oven.
When buying a pumpkin pie, it’s always a good sign to see homemade roasted pumpkin seeds sold at the same table. Patricia Yendall’s golden pastries utilize the freshest of ingredients and the oldest family values of home baked goods. Also try the rye bread, her internationally renowned fruit turnovers (cherry is my favourite) and pecan tarts.
I also bid farewell to my favourite designer chocolates. Like the black bears, chocolatier Sarah Plummer of Sweet Sarahendipity will slumber into sweet hibernation after Thanksgiving. The bright, colourful, airbrushed chocolates will fade into old man winter’s memory. Unfortunately, the yearning for creative dark chocolate concoctions will painfully persevere through sleet, hail and snow — the deep-to-the-bottom-of-your-soul cravings can’t be fooled or dazzled by a grocery-store-bought-bar.
Sarah’s new white chocolate-centred morsel capped in dark chocolate and set with a swirl of blue will haunt me, as will her nougat squares bejeweled with pistachios, apricots and almonds.
The salty, soft caramels encased in dark chocolate; the milk chocolate crisps dressed more colourfully than a bad Christmas sweater; and the playful fruit layers changing up every week faster than weather patterns will no longer tuck me in with a book and cup of tea — bad for my cravings, great for my waistline.
Good-for-you stops at the market included potatoes from Across the Creek Organics for a roast chicken dinner; eggplant, green pepper and zucchini from Glen Valley Artichoke Farm for a ratatouille; wonderfully sticky and pungent garlic and Thai basil from Mojave Kaplan and William Hayward’s organic stand for pasta dishes; and of course chicken and cheese dog cookies at Canine Confections — with ingredients you might find in your own kitchen, humans could even eat these.
It’s cash-only at the stalls, so leave the plastic at home and bring a cloth bag to carry things.
Some boutique food creations can be costly, but the quality of product, support of independent businesses and the local economy makes up for it. You can find some killer deals on vegetables by visiting the farms directly — and good news, many farms are open for business past Thanksgiving weekend.
I will miss my fresh local blueberries on cottage cheese routine and my organic rainbow-coloured beets on pigweed salad tradition. I’ll now have to read labels to get to know my produce and product, rather than meet the farmer or food artisan face to face. Buying local will become more of a hunt, but I am armed and ready with my cloth bag and the farmer’s market slow food philosophy of buying local and thinking global for the winter months. I’ll have to adopt a new Sunday ritual with trips to Pemberton to continue to stock up on slow food.
It will be eight months, roughly 249 days and approximately 6,696 hours before I’ll have gelato for breakfast again — do you think the Shepherd family is in the white pages?