Paradise Found: Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island is a must-see destination for food lovers visiting Vancouver. Sitting across False Creek from the core downtown area, the island is home to a large public market, restaurants, children’s theatre, art studios/galleries, and many interesting shops.

On Sunday, we visited the public market on Granville Island for grocery shopping and to follow up on two recommendations sent to me recently. There are numerous bakeries and food stands in the public market, so it’s a great place to also grab a coffee of coffee and a quick bite.

As you enter the building, your eyes may be overwhelmed by the bright colors from the produce, flowers, and counter cases filled with fresh fish and meats. It is a popular destination and can get a bit packed during peak hours. I immediately gravitated toward a large produce stand to inspect the beautifully arranged stacks of fruit.

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

In the previous photo, notice the miniature sized bananas and mangoes – slightly expensive, but cute. We found a few uncommon fruits that I will try another time, like Pipas (aka Loquats) and Golden Berries (aka Cape Gooseberrys. I ended up buying some broccolini, onions, and basil to use later this week.

I am easily distracted, and with booths filled with chocolates, artisan cheeses and smoked meats, I could feel myself losing focus. My first goal at the market was to find Oyama Sausage Company, a vendor recommended to me by Helen of Practically Done. So, I tried to not look too closely at every booth and continued moving through the crowd in search of sausages.

Helen sent me the most amazing list of recommendations and I’m slowly working my way through it. Oyama offers a beautiful selection of freshly made sausages and cured meats – it did not disappoint. We purchased Nottingham Bangers and Duck & Port Wine Sausages which both looked delicious. You’ll see from the photos below that Oyama also specializes in a great assortment of pates and terrines.

Oyama Sausage Company

Oyama Sausage Company

As it was nearing lunch time, the market quickly became crowded with tourists and locals bustling around for food. We were getting hungry too and decided to try sausage-stuffed pastries and cornish pasties from one of the booths. We weren’t able to find a table since it was so busy, but I didn’t mind leaning up against a wall to enjoy our savory treats. Unfortunately, hunger overpowered photography so there are no photos of the food (nor do I remember the name of the vendor).

With our bellies filled, we walked more casually through the aisles. As we passed the food court area, I turned a corner and my eye’s went right toward the fresh pasta on display at Zara’s Deli & Fresh Pasta. I couldn’t resist when I saw the little Sachetti, orange bundles filled with smoked gouda (i.e. I’m a sucker for smoked cheeses). I bought 450g for our dinner and took a photograph.

Zara's Pasta

We continued to navigate our way through a maze of booths filled with art, spices, honey, coffee, and doughnuts to look for my next recommendation. Carolyn Jung of Food Gal and I were Twittering the other day and she said that I must look for grape focaccia bread from one of the bakeries. I had passed a few and didn’t see anything resembling it.

I then came to Terra Breads which had an amazing variety of freshly baked artisan breads. It was carb-lover heaven and I resisted the urge to buy one of everything. Unfortunately, I didn’t see what I came to find. I almost gave up but decided to ask if they ever made a grape focaccia. Although they didn’t call it focaccia, they did have a grape bread. Hooray!

I often don’t care for breads containing fruits/nuts as they can tend to be dry and I wondered how the focaccia would turn out. It was worth the trip. The bread is toothsome, firm yet moist. As the grapes bake, the juice is released and creates a sticky glaze on the bread while the grapes retain a bit of juiciness. A few pine nuts are sprinkled throughout the bread as well. A light dusting of powdered sugar finishes off the bread.

Grape Focaccia

The bread was the perfect way to end our shopping trip. Since Granville Island is only a short car drive from where we live, we’ll return often. Technically, we could walk to False Creek and take a water taxi across to the island. In the Summer, this is a fun way to make the journey more fun. You’ll also get a great view of the city. The following photo was taken from Granville Island looking across the water to downtown Vancouver (on a Summer day from a few years ago – note the colorful water taxi’s in the foreground).

Vancouver

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this small peek into the Granville Island Public Market. It’s a fun place to explore and you can easily spend an entire afternoon. Today, it was rainy so we focused on shopping and didn’t walk around to the outdoor shops and art studios. I’ll save that adventure to share with you another day.

Thanks again to Helen and Carolyn!



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23 comments

  1. The duck port wine sausage was great! I can’t wait to have my Nottingham banger with fried eggs. I was hoping to find boudin noir but did not see any. There was no disappoinment, however, on Allen’s part. He and blood don’t mix :)

  2. Allen, thanks for the mention, and I’m so glad that you’re inspired by the list.

    The grape focaccia (it’s a focaccia!) is great, isn’t it? Terra Breads also sells a blueberry and white chocolate focaccia that’s worth its insane amount of calories. The Stock Company sells stocks of all kinds – veal, lamb, fish, etc. Inside the Net Loft (black building next to the market), there’s a cookbook store called Barbara Jo’s that’s quite famous.

    Interesting timing; my next post references Granville Island as well…

    Joe – Oyama occassionally carries boudin noir; for some guilty pleasure, their cheese smokies are to die for.

  3. I’m so jealous right now!! I love places like that where there are so many wonderful things to look at!! What a great day you had!!

  4. Granville Market! I visited once and it definitely was not enough. The colors, the smells, the tastes, the people-watching and the gorgeous city and mountain-scapes!! It was a while ago, but if I recall we had smoked salmon, some crusty bread and focaccia [apparently they had it that day] from Terra Bread, some fresh fruit and an ice cream from somewhere. Oh what a wonderful spot!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  5. I’m so glad you were able to try the grape focaccia. I still dream about it, even though it’s been years since I last visited Vancouver. But what’s this? There’s a blueberry-white chocolate version, too? How could I not have tasted that one, as well?! Curses! Obviously, this calls for a trip to Vancouver pronto. Tell them to save me a piece of each! ;)

  6. “a fun way to make the journey more fun.” Hee hee hee. I’m just teasing– I know precisely what you mean. It looks like my kind’a place– you are really selling Vancouver! Awesome.

    Incidentally, Syrie also mentioned it on a post here. Unfortunately it was about moving away from Vancouver! :o

  7. Granville market rocks! Definitely a must-see when visiting Vancouver. Of course we had to also wander over to Dockside Brewing Co….maple cream ale, sigh.

    I’m actually in the process of moving to Portland, OR….so excited that Granville will then just a six hour drive away!!!

  8. The next time I’m in Seattle for longer than a weekend, and we make it up to Vancouver, this will be placed #1 on my list of places to explore.

  9. Thanks, everyone — I hope you can all visit Vancouver someday and tour the public market! The pasta I bought was ok – the filling turned out to be different than I expected and not sure if I totally liked it. The duck sausages from Oyama were great though — tender and flavorful.

  10. Excellent! We’ll be in Vancouver (for 3 nights) at the end of next week and it feels that the market is a worthy place to visit.

  11. Granville Market is great and since you’re just in coal harbour a walk and a ferry ride would have been perfect! I love riding my bike there and next time you should get some cinnamon donuts from Lee’s!

  12. Maybe we’ll make it to the market again this weekend. A friend wants me to look for a Filipino fruit as she had heard it was available. And, now with the cinnamon donut recommendation … I might just have to hike/bike there to burn off all the calories I’ll be consuming. Thanks for the recommendations!

  13. Whenever I’m in Vancouver I stop at the Market.

    I love the Blueberry White Chocolate Bread at Terra Breads. You have to try it next time. So good.

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