San Diego's Farmers' Markets are great spots to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables, but among the produce, there's also several sweet treats to try, ranging from traditional French pastries from Patisserie du Soleil at the Hillcrest Farmers' Market and Little Italy Mercato, Le Rendez-Vous at the Linda Vista Farmers' Market, and playful cookies from The Cookie Chew at the North Park Farmers' Market.
The Cookie Chew
Liz Chou came up with an intriguing idea—making cookies stuffed with chocolate and classic candy bars. The Cookie Chew, which has a stand at the Thursday North Park Farmers' Market, offers cookies stuffed with Twix, Butterfingers, Snickers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and other favorites. Or, try a "truffie" -- a truffle with a cookie inside (see page 154 of the October issue for one example). Another option is the Cocktail Cookie line, which features cookies inspired by classic cocktails like White Russians, Mudslides, and Coconut Mojitos. Truffle-stuffed cookies are $10 for a flight of four cookies. A sampler pack of 10 cookies is $19.95. The Happy House Mix of a dozen classic and cocktail cookies is also $19.95.
While poking around the Linda Vista farmers market I cam across a stall filled with gorgeous breads and pastries—all made by Hmong pastry chef and baker Nhiayi Ly Neng, who trained in France. He now owns and runs Le Rendez-Vous French Bakery in Oceanside, but also sells at the Linda Vista farmers market. You’ve got to try the flaky and rich croissant aux amandes or almond croissant ($2.25), which has the additional surprise of dark Belgium chocolate. Or perhaps the luscious pear turnover, which oozes sweet cream custard ($2.25) orthe cheesecake. The flavors change regularly, but the one I enjoyed was a slice of playful banana split. For something more traditional, you can pick up napoleons—three for $10.
Patisserie du Soleil
Chef Michel Marlas has long been a fixture at the Hillcrest farmers market and the Little Italy Mercato. He has everything you could imagine—cakes, tarts, cookies, individual pastries, and meringues. When I saw his Patisserie du Soleil stand at the Hillcrest market last week, he was standing behind an enormous coconut orange cake, a tray of slices of darkly rich flourless chocolate cake, piles of palmiers glistening with sugar alongside raspberry jam cookies, poofy meringues, large and small coconut tarts, and your traditional cannolis and napoleons. Most cake and tart slices are $5 each. The palmiers and cookies are $1 for two.
Photos by Caron Golden
About the Author: There's not much that award-winning food writer Caron Golden enjoys more than discovering unique edibles at the markets--and then turning them into memorable meals for friends and family. The official journey began with her blog, San Diego Foodstuff, and has expanded to include writing for national publications like Saveur and culinate.com as well as appearances on KPBS radio. Unofficially, it began with Mom and Dad, who still think hanging out at 99 Ranch is the world's best entertainment. Follow Caron on Twitter at @carondg.