Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fuente Baena

With food addiction on the brain lately, I recently grabbed a wonderful brisket sandwich at Hof Kelsten on St-Laurent just north of Mount Royal avenue.

Seeing I was already well up the Main, why not go the extra kilometer or two? Kind of a distance equivalent of being 'in for a penny, in for a pound'.

Which forces me to digress, as I often do. Bear with me.

This is one of those things that causes my childhood to collide with my present. That old penny and pound expression never made sense to me as a kid, in spite of my still very British grandmother.  Another expression that was lost on me was when my Dad would say to me "p'tit train va loin". Why would a little train go farther than a big one?  If you risked a penny, why would you risk a pound? A pound of what? Currency and weights, machines and distance? It took years of advancing age coupled with liberal doses of education and perspective, for the true meaning of those expressions to dawn on me.

Now if they had bothered to update them to match my mid-century Canadian Anglo context, and said "slow pace, travels far", or ''in for a cent, in for a dollar", I would have stood a chance. Though why you might squander a dollar with the same carefree abandon as flipping a cent into a fountain, is still beyond me.

When I hear the siren-song of uniquely exceptional, extra-virgin, Spanish olive oil humming my name, the kilometers that separate Hof Kelsten from the Jean-Talon market mean nothing.  I suppose the English gentleman who coined that expression about squandering pound notes was wealthy beyond dreams.

A Vespa will do for squandering distance, what egregious wealth will do for squandering dollars and pounds.

My tummy full, I hopped on the Vespa and sailed off north up the Main, on a quest for liquid rapture.

I've done this many times before.  
Montreal has a whole bunch of farmers' markets scattered around the metropolis.  We're very European that way.  The most celebrated of our markets are the Atwater Market, southwest of the downtown core, and the Jean-Talon Market.  Both those markets offer a wondrous array of fresh locally grown produce, meats that make your mouth water, and a selection of cheeses to make any epicurean stall, hog-tied by indecision.

The Jean Talon Market is home to Olive & Olives.
What can I say about Fuente Baena, a delectable extra virgin olive oil lovingly produced by the oliverera in Nuestra Se├▒ora de Guadalupe in Spain? It's fruitier than any other olive oil I've ever tasted (which is not to say it's sweet, which it's not), with none of the heat or bitterness often sought after in extra virgin olive oils.  Spanish olive of any type is a relative rarity.  Unlike Italy, Greece and other olive oil producing countries, Spain seems to export very little of its annual production, making finding Spanish olive oil a tad of a challenge. 

Fortunately, this particular delicacy can be ordered online, either from the producer in Spain, or from Olive & Olives.  If you can't find Fuente Baena in a local specialty store where you live, it's worth an online ordering adventure for sure, or a trip to Olive & Olives in the Jean-Talon market.

Trust me.

8 comments:

  1. I'll keep an eye out for it. It looks dark in the photo for extra-virgin olive oil.

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    1. It's about the same colour as our other extra-virgin olive oil, but the bottle has a slight tint, and my photography skills are not up to the task :)

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  2. David, given that Spain produces three times as much olive oil as Italy, it is surprising that Spanish olive oils seem to be rare. Looks like the Italians did a better marketing job. I always try to look out for artisan oils from small producers, and thankfully like your place in Montreal we have delicatessen stores that offer olive oil tasting, like others would do wine tasting. Quality olive oil is a culinary requirement for the gourmet ;-)

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    1. Interesting, it could be that comparatively speaking, relatively little is imported here.

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  3. Loved visiting the markets in Montreal (Toronto, Ottawa ... and even Kingston - we have a delightful farmer's market.) There's just something photogenic about a market.

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    1. Markets are amazing. Europeans take them for granted. Here in North America perhaps less so.

      Though there is a really wonderful famers' market in the heart of L.A.,

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  4. Might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb/ Might as well go the whole hog. Bet a penny or a pound? Hmm.
    I grew up when 12 pennies made a shilling and twenty shillings were in a pound. A half crown was two shillings and sixpence though crowns had disappeared by the time I was born. We had ha-pennies (half penny coins) thrupenny bits (3d coins because penny was written with a d, for the Latin denarius) six penny bits, shillings and florins (two shillings) and the half crowns mentioned. Ten shillings were red notes and pounds were green.
    So sorry, what was the confusion you say about in for a penny in for a pound? I was an innocent child when I had to learn that lot, just to go the shops...

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    1. Michael I like how you have an amazing mastery of what has to have been the world's most arcane currency scheme. Of course it's just a bunch of useless lore now. Colour me very impressed none the less. Kudos for sure.

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