April 20, 2010 by
Sometimes we can’t truly appreciate what we have at home until we travel elsewhere. We were in Kingston last month visiting our son at University and spent a good part of the day exploring the wonderful downtown. I was impressed with all of the great shopping, cafes and eating establishments. With my radar ever attuned to local food I happened upon a wonderful little specialty food shop. Judging from the masses of people it was clearly the place to be on a Saturday. People were grabbing freshly baked baguettes and bagels as quickly as they were being put out while others lined up at the deli counter for their specialty cheeses, meats, salads and artful, ready-to-eat entrees. The baked goods and tantalizing sweets were truly works of art. I was happy to discover they tasted every bit as good as they looked. Everything was expensive but because it was high quality and authentic, nobody seemed to mind paying the premium prices.
You see I had plenty of time to really get to know this place because I was waiting for my other family members for over an hour! There was a misunderstanding about our meeting place and time (but that’s a whole other story). The silver lining of my waiting so long was that I could study the delightful array of local and specialty foods that filled this shop to the brim. I decided that it was the gastronomical gem of the downtown and I gave it extra brownie points for carrying local. I happened to notice the chubs of cloth bag summer sausage attractively arranged in a basket by the window. Lo and behold they were from Waterloo Region…every single one of them! And why shouldn’t they be? Our neck of the woods is famous for this Mennonite specialty. I couldn’t help but note, however, that the price was approximately twice that of what we would pay here Waterloo Region.
The whole experience got me thinking that it is easy to take for granted what we have in our own backyard. It underscored the point that authentic Mennonite summer sausage is practically synonymous with this area. If you visit Foodlink’s interactive map on this site you can discover a slew of farms and retail shops that carry it. You can find numerous sources of traditional beef/pork summer sausage as well as other varieties made with chicken, venison and even emu. My personal favourite is a turkey summer sausage available at Stemmler’s in Heidelburg, which I discovered tastes even better while on canoe trips.
Besides learning to appreciate our local summer sausage more, my recent trip to Kingston taught me one more thing--the importance of clarifying meeting times with family members!