Ottawa bakeries showcase a delicious side of the city! These are some of my favorites.
I know bakeries. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's tracking down baked goods. And eating them. I am VERY GOOD at eating baked goods.
It's not just the obvious deliciousness I enjoy. Bakeries are a fun, accessible, affordable way to explore a destination. I have vivid memories of my very first backpacking trip in Europe, way back when before the common Euro currency was in play. I was determined to use up all my coins before I crossed borders (rendering them all but useless). As such, I soon became very adapt at buying the exact thing at a bakery that corresponded with the precise amount of coins left in my pocket. I still remember a train station apple pastry procured in France moments before I hoped on a train to Italy! The sweet filling was almost as satisfing as the knowledge that I had used every spare cent.
It's this kind of deep seated bakery love that had me jumping at the chance to investigate Ottawa bakeries. I know first hand that my local favourites make treats every bit as delicious as those fancy French spots that had me carefully counting my pennies all those years ago and I am eager to spread the word about just how much creative baking talent is right here in our hometown. Some of these destinations are long-loved special spots that I can't believe more people haven't heard about yet, while others are new to me, discovered this year as part of the #Invite2 campaign. And some, I must confess, aren't strictly bakeries per se but more like cafes that specialize in their own baked goods. What can I say? The heart wants what it wants. And so does my stomach! I'm sure you will love these sweet destinations as much as I do.
PS: Of course, this is but a tiny sampling of the bakeries the city has to offer, focusing on the places I know well. I hope this is a list that will only grow over time!
This avocado mango salad is the perfect snack to have on a plane, roadtrip, or picnic.
I have a secret to confess about this avocado mango salad. You're looking at a stolen recipe.
Once upon a time, I hosted a potluck dinner and one guest brought a date - who brought this incredible concoction of deliciousness. She described it as a salsa and served it alongside tortilla chips and it was just about the most magical thing I ever tried.
There was only one thing to do. I stole it the receipe and claimed it as my own.
Actually, there were three things to do. First, steal the receipe. Secondly, rebrand it as a salad, not a salsa. Thirdly, enter it in a recipe contest with a local produce store and win a $50 gift card. Done, done, and DONE, thank you very much.
You could say that this receipe is criminally easy to make. You don’t have to get too hung up on precise measurements for it to taste great. It’s sophisticated enough that a seasoned entertainer will be proud to show it off, yet simple enough for a new cook to conquer. Most importantly, it's SO travel friendly.
You could pack a cup of this as a rich, healthy, flavourful snack for the plane or the train. You could easily mix it up at a hostel or rental apartment without needing any special equipment. This avocado mango salad is great for potlucks and it stores well in your cooler for camping trips. The lime juice keeps the avocado from turning brown (though you can always prep the other ingredients in advance and add avocado at the last minute for maximum colour.)
Connecting with my Istanbul instructor, I learned about killing onions, feeding neighbours, and always adding extra olive oil.
There's an old-fashioned tradition which dictates that, if you cook something especially fragrant while preparing Turkish cuisine, you must share it with your neighbours. After all, you never know who might be particularly roused by your aromatic fare. Perhaps there is an expectant mother who has a craving or an elderly person who isn't able to easily visit their favourite cafe.
There's a second part to this tradition. If you are so fortunate to receive a sample of your neighbour's cooking, you must return the cleaned plate with some cooking of your own. It's simply poor form to return a dish empty!
I first heard about this cozy custom from Aysin, my cooking teacher in Istanbul. Under her tutelage, I learned more about Turkish culture and cuisine than I thought possible - and we did it all as a virtual experience, cooking side by side even though we're half a world away.
The history of Irish coffee involves a chef, a travel writer, and a journey around the world - but you can easily make it at home.
An oral history of Irish coffee usually begins in Foynes, a small community in western Ireland. But in actuality, the legend of this popular cocktail wraps around the world, from Dublin to the Marshall Islands. And a travel writer plays a starring role!
This boozy, creamy drink first gained popularity after it was served by Irish chef Joe Sheridan at Foynes Airbase, likely in 1943. It was offered up as a bracing concoction for passengers whose flight was forced to turn back due to poor winter weather and they promptly fell in love with the combination of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream. However, it was travel writer Stanton Delaplane who popularized it in 1952 when he brought the recipe home to San Francisco.
(Let's all take a moment to appreciate how fitting it is that someone whose last name is "Delaplane" choose a career as a travel writer. Marvelous.)
Stan convinced his friend Jack Koeppler, owner of San Francisco's Buena Vista cafe, that the drink would be a hit. Or, depending on who you believe, Jack approached Stan and tasked him with the job of recreating the Irish drink that was slowly getting a word-of-mouth reputation. According to official lore, since they couldn't figure out how to to properly add the cream, they offered Joe Sheridan a job and the chef immigrated to San Francisco in 1952. Problem solved!
Alas, there may be more to the story. In a Time Magazine interview with Joe in 1955, he stated that he immigrated through Canada and Hawaii before settling in San Francisco by coincidence, where he found work in an all night dinner called Tiny's Waffle Shop (now closed). Like many travel legends, it seems like this story has some tall tales.
If you can't go to Rio for Carnival, this festive Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro recipe is a delicious alternative.
If there's one thing that travel has taught me, it's that every country seems to have their own special chocolate concoction and Brazil is no exception. Brigadeiros are best described as a Brazilian bon-bon. These soft, truffle-like delights are incredibly easy to make (cocoa and sweetened condensed milk are the star ingredients) and you can easily customize them according to your own tastes. This Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro recipe is the perfect way to inject a little travel coziness into your day, even if you can't exactly fly to Rio!
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