Follow by Email

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Dekalb Farmer's Market, A Chef's Utopia with Summer Berry Trifle

A few crazy scenarios in my life conquered, a few precious moments off, and here we are with another adventure! When I come home to Georgia I have several favorite places I like to haunt while I'm here and get to without fail. Safehouse Coffee and Tea in downtown Griffin is an absolute must. Thanks to my good friend Amanda Slade from Safehouse, The Dekalb Farmer's Market aka Dekalb Wolrd Market, is one of my favorite places on Earth. I am a brave soul to come here on a Saturday when it's at it's busiest. The feel of this place is as close to the frenzied chaos that surrounds me on a regular basis, so naturally I feel right at home! I love the bustle of busy people shopping, the variety of goods (17 different kinds of fresh chilies to swimming catfish), and the shear enormity of this place. It's been said that if you can't find it at the Dekalb Market, it probably doesnt exist. I'm happy to report there is truth to this statement, as the last time I was here I found the mysterious, extremely stinky Durian fruit.
Putting pen to paper (yes I'm archaic) I'm wondering just how to describe the cacophony of sounds and smells. The first smell to hit my nostrils was rich, strong black coffee. Whoa there darlin'! Necessary fuel to brave the largest farmer's market/specialty foods store I've ever been to. I thought Pike's Place market in Seattle was huge, but this takes the cake. Picture the largest Costco/Sam's Club you've ever been in and at least double it. I recently heard they are expanding said Market to make it even bigger. Hark! Are the angels singing again?! The scent of freshly brewed coffee brings me back to the task at hand and out of my delicious daydream of a bigger playground. I am a kid in a candy store after all. Coffee in hand, I am fortified with new focus(adult A.D.D. is a challenge) Without coffee I'm pretty sure I'd be distracted every few minutes by something "shiny" and all thoughts of a budget or list would be forgotten. I AM a "hot scattered mess", but I've been told it's part of my appeal. I'm betting I have a few peeps out there who "feel" me on this issue.

While this is not my first visit to the Dekalb Market it's always a memorable journey. My pictures don't do this market justice by far, but will give you a pretty good idea of the euphoria I feel every time I walk into the joint. The brilliant red of the roma tomatoes smacks my senses as I'm pulled away from piles of fragrant herbs to choose a few for salsa. The Earthy aroma is intoxicating. For me it brings up sweet memories of my Grandfather's tomato plants, and the none too sweet memories of the years in AZ that it was difficult to get my hands on a tomato that tasted like a tomato. There are rows and rows of fresh produce. Everything you could possibly imagine from seasonal berries to oddball Asian melons I've never seen before.With collard greens, every potato known to mankind, mushrooms of every size and flavor, it's seriously every chef's dream. I have some good friends that will travel the 45 min every week, one way, to shop exclusively here. I thought they were crazy until I experienced it firsthand. Now I'm terribly disappointed if I go home and miss coming to the market.

The produce gives way to isles of natural sodas from Stewarts to Hot Ginger Beer, but I'm on a mission. I skip through the sodas like a kid, ending up in the wall to wall tea section. Quickly making my choice (I love Yogi Stress Relief Kava tea), I skip back out of the specialty isles, dang proud that I didn't veer too far off my list. This is a serious accomplishment! Quit laughing! I'm headed down towards the meats and cheese sections on the other side of the store and got distracted by the daisies. I think by now we all know I'm a sucker for daisies. Thankfully I'm not far from the prize, stumbling across fresh summer berries. I'm heavily inspired by them to create a Summer Berry Trifle. It seems like everyone has a recipe for for trifle and I'm no different. Except mine's really good and terribly simple. So many folks want to mess it up with heavy pastry creams, and or (eeek) boxed pudding products. I take a simple and fresh approach to this by keeping it organic whenever possible. I'll be sure to tantalize your tastebuds with the pictures of the gorgeous meat cases, cheese displays, and seafood on a part two of Dekalb Farmer's Market. I'd really like to devote an adequate representation of what this place has to offer, so I'm sticking to the basics this go-around.  Please remeber to use fresh seasonal berries, organic when possible, and buy locally when you can. Wash your berries thoroughly, and allow to air dry completely on paper towels before you begin.

Gypsy Gourmet's Summer Berry Trifle
1 Qt Fresh Strawberries sliced 1/4 in thick
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blackberries
Zest of 3 key limes
3-4 T locally sourced honey
16 oz prepared angel food cake cut into 1"cubes
1 Qt heavy whipping cream
1/3-1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean

Prepare the heavy cream in a mixer or with hand held beaters by adding the cream, vanilla, and vanilla bean, alternately adding the confectioners sugar a little at a time until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat, you'll have butter! Set whipped cream aside. I preach "mise en place" or "everything in it's place" for a reason folks. This is a simple dessert and can be made quickly during the regular preparation of a family meal as long as all of the ingredients are prepped. The best taste and flavors happen when you prepare it before you start dinner and let it sit for 2-4 hours. It's also great the next morning for breakfast with dry cereal or granola, if there's any left. Find a pretty bowl, clear is best, that holds at least 6 quarts. Figure three layers and garnish for the top, so if it helps you, please seperate beforehand. Start the layering with cake cubes, next zest of one key lime, and drizzle honey over the cake and zest. Layer the berries next, with strawberries on the outside for presentations sake. Refer to picture for help. Next comes the whipped cream. Repeat the layering until you reach the top of the bowl. Garnish with remaining cake and berries and do a final drizzle with honey on the top. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Voila! Yummy refeshing dessert that you can hardly feel bad about. This is a great addition to any summer dinner, tea with the girls, coffee clatch, or Sunday brunch.

I hope any or all of you have the chance to see some of the places I've mentioned here in the blog. While I know that's an unreasonable wish, I know at anytime you can live vicariously through me. I believe with all my heart that if you do have the chance to visit the Atlanta area, this is a must see for any kind of foodie. It will not disappoint. Make it a daytripper, ending in the ecclectic Little Five Points area. Have fun with it! I do almost every time I'm home. Be on the lookout for more exciting adventures coming soon, and until next time folks, eat well, laugh often, be free, and be you.

gypsy gourmet


  1. How far away did you have to park?

    1. Bobtail semi at the back of the lot or just a block or two past the market at the antique mall. Don't recommend going with a trailer. Basi four wheeler, right in the parking lot. Also, I don't recommend the bobtail on a Sat, unless you're willing to walk ;)