On a recent trip to Downtown Chicago I visited the local French market. A lovely walk 5 mins from the main downtown area, led me to a huge train station with a wonderful market hidden inside. Its really quiet outside then suddenly you walk in to a bustling space filled with amazing smells. When you walk in you see these little beauties, so many colours of macaroons and delicious cake! there are plenty of fresh fruit and veg and local produce, as well as a cafe, and crepes and cheese. The cheese counter was magnificent with the best selection I’ve seen yet. Afterwards you can take a stroll along the river walk way enjoying all the tasty treats!
On the hunt for some good cheese, milk and meat we had a little visit to some local farmers markets. I’m a big fan of farmers markets and am seriously missing my weekly veg boxes, monthly meat box and daily deliveries of fresh milk! Ok finding all of these may be a little ambitious, but we thought we would start at a local farmers market to at least get some fresh in season local veggies, and hope there would also be some decent dairy.
Our first market was the large weekly south bend market, this is a large square building with plenty of veg, some honey, preserves, meat and cheese. sadly we weren’t blown away by the selection but perhaps we had too high expectations. We did pick up some good mozzarella, some proper eggs that weren’t white! and some local veggies. They tasted pretty good although the fruit was a little disappointing.
We also tried Granger farmers market aswell. Set in an old barn, this one was smaller but a lot quirkier, they had a meat counter, apples, soups, veggies, honey, cakepops and local crafts. decorated in pumpkins – right now there are pumpkins everywhere! We found some amazing bacon, and some chicken sausages. Yes you read that right chicken sausages we thought we would give them ago they were pretty tasty, but I think sausages are better with pork, or maybe beef – still being convinced on that one. We did however learn that ‘English bacon’ is called Canadian bacon here, as standard bacon is more like bacon rashers!
Bloomington farmers market had much more local veggies, some maple syrup, and some amazing baked goods.
I’m hunting for other local ones and researching into cooperative farming – the closest to veggie boxes I can find. unfortunately its just coming to the end of the season so not great timing but I’m looking forward to spring when they start up again.
Bloomington doesn’t especially have lots of blooms but the towns I imagine who would enter such flower competitions, Bloomington would be one of them! On a recent road trip we stopped by Bloomington and if you are in the area its well worth a visit!!
Our primary purpose was to stop in at Indiana university which has lots of grand and pretty buildings, a slight Gothic/polished look. There are lots of open spaces and pretty parks. Bloomington is refreshingly accessible in most of the key areas are a walkable distance. As Autumn is in full swing the trees are beginning to look glorious. From the University you can walk across to the main downtown area which is centered around the local courthouse. A pretty square with restaurant and shops around there is almost every type of food you can imagine nestled in authentic restaurants and cozy cafes. Bloomington foodies are very spoilt! There aren’t any strip malls, rather the main square houses some crafty arts shops, knitting shops and one of my favorites a games shop where I added to my card game collection. There is also a gem of a vintage shop between college street/4th where the chocolate emporium is supposed to be, that is adorable and worth a gander through the many items. The Bakehouse had some lovely baked goods and one of the best white hot chocolates I’ve had in a while! Perfect for a rainy day. Whilst we visited it was the weekend of the pumpkin glass blowing display and the usual farmers market. The farmers market has many french stalls with croissants, pain au chocolate, soup aswell as other baked good and local items such as wool goods and male syrup as well as hand made gits and local fruit and vegetables. we also found a nice bagel shop that could rival new yorker bagels. One of my favorite things was the turquoise lampposts which are delightful, I mean lampposts don’t exactly bled into the background so why not make the most of them and make them pretty!
Bloomington in a day:
Visit Indiana University, then take 7th street to Walnut, wander around the main square, stop in the bakehouse and browse the local shops. Pop into the antique mall or the farmers market and head down Kirkwood avenue for some food.