Monday, December 7, 2009

Chicago French Market

The culinary world just took another huge step forward this week with the opening of Chicago’s 15,000 square foot European-inspired indoor market giving access to local artisans, farmers and purveyors selling an extensive assortment of food, wine, chocolates, cheese and flowers.

At 131 N Clinton Street, the market is connected to Ogilvie Transportation Center’s busy suburban commuter concourse. Other U.S. cities such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle have flourishing city markets and now Chicago has been added to the growing list.

The Bensidoun family, the largest market operators in Paris, is co-developing the market and will operate and manage Chicago French Market. The family members are fourth generation market operators. Chicago French Market will also host ongoing events, seasonal celebrations and other special events throughout the year.

Two of my favorite vendors are:

                                                             Mary Nguyen Aregoni and Theresa Nguyen

Saigon Sisters. Two sisters, Mary Nguyen Aregoni and Theresa Nguyen, along with their mother Suu Nguyen will offer Vietnamese cuisine with French flavors. The menu includes salads, the customary summer/spring rolls (Goi Cuon), classic Pho soups and my favorite - Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwiches. The ingredients will focus on healthy, flavorful vegetables, spices and herbs, and meats and seafood from local farmers and purveyors. I will be visiting with the Saigon Sisters next week for the Banh Mi sandwiches and Pho – two of my favorite Vietnamese foods. We’ll see how it stacks up against Ba Le and Nhu Lan – my favorite places in Chicago to get authentic Banh Mi.

Necessity Baking Company Chicago-born Ellen Carney Granda turned her passion of artisan bread baking into a rising bread company serving North Suburban farmer’s markets including mine – the Lake Bluff Farmers Market. She brings the skill of traditional bread baking techniques back, supplying hand-shaped and seasonally flavored breads and using only natural ingredients. I bought a variety of breads from Ellen this summer and all of them were exceptional.

The Necessity photo was taken of Ellen’s niece at the Lake Bluff Farmers Market this past summer. So happy that they have landed a permanent spot in the Chicago French Market.

See for complete vendor listing and hours.

Bon Appetit!