Benton Brothers 2104 W 41st Ave. | Vancouver (604) 261-5813
Andrew and Jonah Benton, the boys behind the cheese, are reformed academics; mechanical engineers that traded in their textbooks for the trade secrets of small artisanal cheese-makers both local and abroad. Their focus is on specialty European cheeses, like Cantal Fermier, one of the oldest cheeses in France. Being made from succulent raw cow’s milk, this cheese is the base for the Benton Brothers’ signature home-cooked cheese-filled meal – Aligot (pretty much the most intense mashed potatoes with cheese, garlic and sometimes bacon). Benton Bros. The Brothers also have a wide range of sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheeses, along with locally made confitures, like Lemon Tomato Brio, from Vancouver’s Chef Taryn Wa of “Savoury Chef”, dry-cured Spanish Serrano ham, venison sausages from Oyama meats on Granville Island, and the coarse, chunky “country pâtés” from Quebec City. Besides the home catering with their brilliant “butcher block” food presentations, Benton Brothers is also the cheese supplier for the new Steveston restaurant Gudrun, but no word yet on when those doors will swing open. Until then, both Andrew and Johan continue to drive their cheese education, passion and business and frequently entertain at home with their favourite wedges with friends and family.
Bosa Foods 1465 Kootenay St. & 562 Victoria Dr. | Vancouver (604)253-5578
With a wide variety of olive oils (over 75!), olives and cured meats and imported cheeses, Bosa has quickly become an institution in the Vancouver gourmet’s food source. Although a heavy Italian theme, Bosa featured items from all over the Mediterranean… and two locations to serve you as frequently as possible!
Choice’s 3493 Cambie Street | Vancouver (604)875-0099
For an everyday grocery store, Choice’s Market offers natural and organic foods through 8 locations in Vancouver. A strong emphasis on nutrition and social responsibility makes Choice’s success toppling over in Vancouver’s shopping baskets. Salad bar, large frozen section with living breads, and creative vegan selections, enormous produce section, bulk items like seeds, flours, grains, juices and environmentally friendly laundry soaps and cleaning products. Open 7 days a week.
Cioffi’s 4142 East Hastings St | Burnaby (604) 291-9373
More good news from East Hastings – Cioffi’s Meat Market & Deli has two locations virtually a couple of store fronts apart. Their emphasis is mostly organic “cut to order” meats, a large deli, selection of kitchen type equipment, and friendly service. As well, there is a new take out menu, including meatballs, lasagna and rotisserie chicken.
Cob’s 1160 Davie St | Vancouver (604)681-0689
The largest franchise bakery in Canada (spanning 3 provinces – Ontario, Alberta & BC), and is especially prominent in Vancouver. Cob’s bread is the foundation to their success, and along with their freshly baked loaves, Cob’s also carries a wide range of sweeter items, and lunch snacks like savoury croissants and danishes.
The centre for Vancouver’s gourmet crowd, Granville Island houses many food experts and vendors on one “peninsula” under the Granville St. bridge. Accessable by foot, car or water taxi, the public market is the main attraction for food-goers. Edible BC, Oyama Meats, Sunlight Farms, Tenderland Meats, Stuart’s Bakery and Seigel’s Bagels just to name drop a few out of the 50 vendors under one roof! Outside of the market, grocers can check out Finest At Sea (fresh and flash-frozen seafoods) and the Lobster Man, and finish with countless shops specializing in artisan sake (Osake), wines (Liberty Wine Merchants) and Beer (Granville Island Brewery). Why not stop for a bite at one of the countless restaurants when you’re done? Sandbar, Bridges, Cat’s Meow, The Keg or Tommy J Peppers.
Gourmet Warehouse 1340 East Hastings St | Vancouver (604)253-3022
Started by Caren McSherry in 1998, the Gourmet Warehouse has been serving the amateur and serious gourmet for over a decade. Specializing in imports and kitchen gadgets, the Gourmet Warehouse is still one of the only places where even a professional mixologist can get a wide variety of Fee’s Bitters, and Giffard flavoured syrups without buying a 6-pack! From imported pasta, to frozen buckets of duck fat, to Kitchen Aid appliances, to slabs of Callebaut or Valrhona chocolate, to linens, to german crystal glassware, and cookbooks – they’ve got everything.
JN&Z 1729 Commercial Drive | Vancouver (604)251-4144
As the exclusive supplier to Salt Tasting Room on Blood Alley (Gastown), JN&Z has been family run since the 1980’s, preservative-free (other then Brandy, salt and cold smoke), and completely nitrate-free. Owned by Natasha and Zorica Jeremic, this quaint little shop is a delight in a community like Commercial Drive, and a destination for others. Once operated using their father’s recipes, today Zorica and Natasha work the front of house, and develop their own original meat-treats. These owners are true artisinal meat-makers.
Kin’s Farmer’s Markets 12151 Horseshoe Way | Richmond (604)272-2551
Since its days as an 8′ foot produce table at Granville Island’s Public Market, Kin’s Farm Market over 22 years later is the leader in fresh, quality produce both here in British Columbia, and Ontario with 26 stores in total. Visit Kin’s at City Square (Cambie and 12th) or Davie St (between Thurlow and Bute).
La Grotta del Fromaggio 1791 Commercial Drive | Vancouver, BC (604)255-3911
Commercial Drive’s most fabulous place to pick up a sandwich, authentic imports from the Mediterranean and specifically Italy, including pastas, canned fish and seafood, canned tomatoes and vegetables, tepio 00 flours in semolina, wheat and cornmeal, seasonings, and confectionary – sweet sweet Italian amaretti cookies and cakes. They also sell a wide variety of cured meats, cheese (local and abroad) and baked goods. Definitely a destination to visit when you’re in the neighbourhood.
Les Amis du Fromage 1752 West 2nd Avenue | Vancouver (604) 732-4218 (flagship location)
Owned by mother and daughter team Alice and Allison Spurrell. Today, there is a steadily growing list of clients that Les Amis has been supplying. From restaurants, executive clubs and private functions, Les Amis specializes in anything that the “the Vancouver eating public is ready for,” says Robert. “Finally Vancouver has left the cans of ‘Kraft’ parmesan behind; they’re starting to buy the real thing…we have a demand for different cheeses now. People love to try new things; new tourism has helped out too,” he continues. With a special fridge dedicated to BC cheese, Natural Pastures’ Comox double-cream Camembert, Poplar Grove’s mild Naramata Bench Blue, and that beautiful organic goat cheese from Goat’s Pride in Abbottsford often make it to the register in large quantities. Various locations – East Hastings, 2nd Ave., Park Royal, and restaurant concept – “Au Petite Chavignole” (East Van).
Meinhardt 3002 Granville St | Vancouver (604)732-4405
Linda Meinhardt, the force behind this gourmet grocery store, started out in little cafes, galleries and was a partner in the Bread Garden. In 1996 “Meinhardt” as a product, store and concept came to fruition, and since then, Linda has been the driving force behind product knowledge, customer service and the utmost quality of food, lifestyle and beverage. Linda can still be seen creating delicious products in the kitchen at both the 16th & Arbutus, and 14th & Granville locations.
Mt. Pleasant Cheese Shop 3432 Cambie Street | Vancouver (604) 875-6363
The newest cheese shop to open, just shy of 6 months old, is Mt. Pleasant Cheese on Cambie St. Owner, Peter Davidson, originally wanted to open a specialty Italian wine shop, but after much research decided that a cheese shop would be a much better choice. Cambie was beginning to come back to life after the 2 years of disruptive construction of Vancouver’s Canada Line. Without a stitch of marketing, the Mt. Pleasant community has welcomed and supported this Canadian-only dairy showroom. Cheeses Riopelle and L’Hercule de Charlevoix (both from Quebec) join a British Columbian favourite, Alpine Gold (Farmhouse at Agassiz), in the display case seducing customers one by one. Peter’s dedication to Canadian cheese and education sees him hosting and participating in events designed to get the locals involved.
Save On Meats 43 West Hastings St | Vancouver ( 604)683-7761
“Located in the rear of the Save On Meats butcher shop, this diner offers some of the best tasting and best priced food in the area. There are no dishes over $5.00 and when you’re food arrives you will be asking the server, “I believe I ordered the large.” That’s because the portions are huge; however, they maintain the flavour of the food. Order a burger or a steak and the staff walk over to the butcher and has your meat cut fresh. An absolute must try if you consider yourself a burger aficianado.” – Taken from the dinehere.com site under “coffee shop” – and on a different note – Save On Meats has annouced they will be closing… get that burger before you can’t.
Sebastien & Co. 2425 Marine Dr |West Vancouver (604)925-1636
Owned by a previous chef from Toronto who worked with Jamie Kennedy, Sebastien specializes in certified organic meats – whole sides of beef, lamb and pork – directly from farmers in BC and Alberta. Located in West Vancouver, they are a must-visit for highly sought after organic quality that seems to tantalize the citizens of Vancouver on a regular basis.
Swiss Bakery 143 East 3rd Avenue | Vancouver (604)736-8785
“Swiss Bakery has existed in Vancouver, B.C. for more than thirteen years and has grown to bring a variety of Swiss and German delectable goods. Swiss Bakery has cultivated baking in a European style that accentuate original, hand crafted goods like our artisan breads, pastries, and cakes which are all produced within the bakery. Swiss Bakery’s owner, Michael Siu, has been working in the industry for more than 28 years. Having previously owned three different locations, Michael has gathered a multi-ethnic experience from Greek, German, French to Swiss. Through his hands on experience and schooling, Michael has created the essence of Swiss Bakery by offering diversity of choices in goods made available to customers.” – I took this directly from their website, because frankly they said it much better then I could have. If you remember how freakin’ good the bread was at Chow Restaurant before Myra was making focaccia, that was the work of these fine bakers. Herrah.
T & T