There have been little bits and pieces I wanted to share, those which are not enough for a full post and so therefore have lane at the side waiting, so here is a smorgasbord of the food-related titbits:
Having posted about how the chocolate out here was, well, different to European, it was time to put it to the test and prove it once and for all, so we did the Cadburys' Chocolate test: English v Canadian.
The date: A non specific Friday mid-April
The time: 9pm. After a glass - or two - of red wine.
The testers: T, M and myself.
I went first, and didn't take long at all to reach my decision.
Then it was T's turn, and even though I think he wanted to say otherwise, he had to admit that side by side, they Canadian one was not a pleasure to eat at all. Finally, M's go... he preferred the Canadian one!
M then told us the differences in appearance between the two but, baring in mind it was pretty dark and given the wine factor, there was a lot of light-headed squinting going on. Following M's reasoning, T and I picked up a square of the English chocolate, but as soon as we put it in our mouths however we knew it was not! This was not a case of bluffing and trying to catch us out, so M concluded that his initial preference of the Canadian one, was in fact the English chocolate.
In Sevilla we were a 20-25 minute - depending on how hot it was - walk away from ice cream in the form of Mamá Goye's 'helado' (but then we were 20-25 minutes away from most amenities). I remember visiting the shop after we had been sat outside a bar watching Spain win the World Cup. Mamá Goye was still open at a quarter to midnight, and we bought our ice cream cones and then walked home as the streets around us erupted in celebration-craziness.
In Montreal we have discovered we are around the corner from Le Bilboquet, an artisan ice cream shop which prides itself on using entirely natural products (so real raspberries in your raspberry sorbet, not a load of flavouring). The queues out of the door show it is a very popular place. We had to test it, and then test it again... Top of my list so far is the flavour Caramélée: caramel ice cream with chocolate and almond chunks. They make a Maple Taffy ice cream in March-April (Maple syrup season), which T managed to try but I managed to miss it - must remember for next year!
We walked in the shop/café , and the girl behind the counter asked, "Can I help you?"
"Yeh, we'd like to try some of your smoked meat." T replied, meaning we wanted to buy some; but she took it literally, and produced a couple of slices of meat for us to try there and then. We looked sheepishly at each other, not believing how they took this bluntness and directness so easily.
We then bought some of the hot meat (even if we hadn't of like the taste of the meat, I think the British politeness would have made us bought some purely to ease our embarrassment and not using the word 'please'), walked the five minutes to home and had meat stuffed bagels for lunch. The meat was nice, but as I mentioned before on my post about Schwartz's, I am not a meat fan, so although we both preferred it to Schwartz's, after my little taster, I left T to it, and much preferred the giant dill pickle that came on the side over the meat...
In our failure to find a butcher on Friday, we came home via a supermarket. Tired and hungry, T was thinking barbecue. We put a steak in the trolley and walked on.
That night, T regretted the steak. I was OK, I had stuck to goat's cheese.
The steak we bought was tenderized, meaning the piece of meat is pierced with needles or blades, making it tender when cooked. Tenderized meat is very common out here, in fact it is quite hard to buy a steak or roasting joint of beef that hasn't been mechanically tenderized. The trouble is, the needles can push bacteria inside of the meat and if it isn't cooked to a high enough temperature all the way through, you can get very ill from it. T, like many others, prefers his steak or roast beef rare but because the majority of meat has been processed in this way, a well done piece of meat it has to be unless you want to risk it. Apparently until very recently, meat that had been mechanically tenderized didn't need to be labelled as such, but the rules on this are changing at the moment, and rightly so.
But from now on, we will definitely be checking both the label on the meat, and also peering to see the telltale holes in the meat, and I have a feeling T will be eating more fish...