VANCOUVER - Visitors to Vancouver's famed Granville
Island public market wouldn't be alone in imagining the tune “Food
Glorious Food” being piped into the place that's a favourite hangout
for locals and apparently a must-see destination for tourists.

 

Maybe
it's the array of colourful fruits and vegetables beckoning people at
stall after stall or the mouth-watering green olive bread vying for
attention with the apple focaccia over here and the salmon and oysters
seemingly eyeing eaters over there.

 

Anyone overcome with a
desire to click their heels and go for the nearest gastronomic delight
would be in good company at this foodies' paradise.

 

“We're
investigating our lunch options and, of course, as typical, we've
already picked out our desserts,” says Ted Lemmond of Portland, Ore., a
first-time visitor to Vancouver, along with his wife and two kids.

 

“It's fresh and wonderful,” he says, surveying the eats as his son takes five seconds to decide on sushi.


The public market is part of the bustling Granville
Island scene that includes water views of False Creek, theatres, North
America's largest free water park for the kids, cafes, a brewery,
artists selling their wares and crowd-drawing free performers.


Granville
Island spokesman Scott Fraser says the island was recognized as the
best neighbourhood in North America in 2005 by the New York-based
non-profit organization Project for Public Spaces.


Besides the
indoor public market, there's an outdoor farmers market featuring fresh
produce from local fields. This year it runs until Oct. 21.


The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is located at the entrance to the island, underneath the Granville Street Bridge, and is the only private cooking school in Canada where would-be chefs operate a restaurant and bake shop.


But back to the food at the public market.


At
the Oyama Sausage Company, co-owner Christine van der Lieck is tending
to a long lineup of customers who have 30 varieties to choose from.


There's
everything from smoked Mennonite bratwurst and spicy bison to Italian
salamis such as finocchiona made with wild fennel to give it a kick and
a mild one concocted from wild B.C. honey and raspberry syrup.


The creations are the handiwork of van der Lieck's husband John, a fifth-generation master sausage maker trained in Germany.


Wild
boar that's aged for a year, along with pates and prosciuttos from
various ethnic backgrounds, make up the 350 products showcased at the
shop at various times throughout the year, Christine van der Lieck says.


Sausage
recipes are from all over Europe, including the Ukraine, France,
Portugal and Hungary as well as Colombia, Ecuador and Chile, and fill
the cases at this establishment that's been a fixture at the market for
a decade.


“It's a journey through a culinary universe,” van der
Lieck says of the products. “For most of our customers, especially if
they're not from here, they find a recipe from home or close to home.


“Canadians are very experimental; they love to try things,” van der Lieck says, adding dry and smoked sausages travel well.


She says sausages can be used in place of ground beef by removing the casings and crumbling the meat before making patties.


Free-range
British Columbia and Alberta meat is used as much as possible for the
recipes and international spices give the meat its unique flavour, she
says.


At the Salmon Shop, one of three seafood stores at the
market, Storm Luck seems right at home with the wild B.C. salmon,
octopus, clams, mussels and other delicacies from the Pacific Ocean.


Luck says salmon is a huge draw for tourists and is packed for travel to Europe and the United States.


“We pack it for 24 to 36 hours,” he says, proudly holding up a coho for a photo.


“A lot of people travelling to Asia will take the frozen sockeye.”


David Esteban of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., returns to Granville Island every time he visits Vancouver with wife Lynn, daughter Ari and son Felix.


“There isn't anything even remotely like this in Poughkeepsie,” Esteban says with a laugh.


“It's
just coming here and being able to choose lots of different variety and
seeing all the produce laid out, and market stuff.”