How To Put Together A Great Picnic Spread At The Granville Island Public Market

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The GOODS from Granville Island

Vancouver, BC | Picnics are great because, other than eating outside, there are no rules. Whether you pack a traditional basket or get a little adventurous, it’s completely up to you.

When planning a gingham-style spread, the Public Market at Granville Island is a great place to start. Not only will you get everything you need in one stop, with the help of the market experts, you’re likely to find new favourites to up your picnic game.

Take Zara’s Deli, for example. If you’re looking to fill your basket with worldly treasures, Loris is full of suggestions. Like his “famous” Castelvetrano olives. Zara’s Deli is known for these little gems and in one bright, crunchy bite, you’ll understand why. “I’m really fussy about the flavour and texture of my olives,” Loris admits. And his passion doesn’t stop there. Other suggestions include the Insalata Caprese for a great grab-n- go option, or his house-made Trucatta, some fennel salami imported from Italy, and a baguette – which he points out you can get sliced at Terra Breads.

“Or,” Loris smiles, “You could just open a can of San Marzano tomatoes, mash one onto a piece of bread and drizzle with a little olive oil. Simple, quality ingredients…that’s what Italian food is all about!”

For his own picnic basket, Loris singles out the turkey and chicken pepperoni sticks from Dussa’s Ham & Cheese, and from his shop, the Italian tuna in olive oil (great with a leafy green salad), and the Castelvetrano olives. You gotta have the olives!

Now, if you’re a picnic purist, you’re going to want some cheese, and Benton Brothers Fine Cheese has you covered. “From the case we have lots of ready-to-go options like fresh goat cheese with local red pepper and wheels of brie that we top with almonds, rosemary, and fig preserve in-store,” Andrew (one of the brothers) points out.

When it comes to packing his own basket, Andrew’s must-haves are the duck and pork Rillette from Oyama Sausage, some fresh apples from No.1 Orchard, a couple of ready-to- go salads from Duso’s, and of course, some cheese, crackers, mustard, and preserves from his own shop.

The Public Market is full of delicious things to eat, but the Market Kitchen (across the way inside the Net Loft) is where you’ll find all sorts of smart picnic knick-knacks to make dining outdoors more distinguished. Helen, from the Market Kitchen, suggests their drink covers (to prevent spilling and keep bugs out), a picnic-sized cutting board and knife, bamboo utensils, handmade linens, a traditional and fully loaded picnic set, or the amazing (and reusable) Abeego beeswax food wrap.

As far as her own perfect picnic goes, Helen would start off with a kayak rental at the marina (great idea!), and a paddle to any number of picnic-worthy spots along the water. Before setting out, she’d pop into Liberty Wine Merchants – did you know they have plastic wine glasses? Next she’d hit Benton Brothers Fine Cheese for their 9-year- old cheddar, and Terra Breads for what else? Then, to round it all out, she’d pick up some grapes (which you can easily find at any of the produce vendors). Once at her favourite spot, Helen would lay out her picnic goodies on one of the Market Kitchen’s handmade blankets. Sounds like someone’s done this before.

Of course, these are all just suggestions, and if you’ve even once stepped inside the Public Market you know that unique and delicious finds are everywhere. A few more worth mentioning are all the hot and ready-to- go items at L’Epicerie, iced tea from Granville Island Tea Company, macarons made with market ingredients from Bon Macaron, and a variety of dressings and dips from The Stock Market.

So whether you’re a picnicking veteran, or new to the art of al fresco dining, Granville Island should be your first stop. Then, it’s just a matter of finding the perfect picnic spot – which, in this city, is probably the easiest part.

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