Much-loved Cassis Bistro, at the corner of 17th Avenue S.W. and the turnoff to Crowchild Trail, recently expanded to include a cycling-themed coffee shop called Vélo Café.
The bistro was already a popular hub for the city's cyclists and is home to co-owner Gilles Brassart's chef-heavy cycling team, a group of around 100 who meet up every Saturday morning to go for a ride.
More recently, they've expanded the bistro even further, transforming the space that was Market 17 into The Little French Market, which brings in specialty products from France, fresh pastries, cheeses, takeaway meals prepared at Cassis Bistro, local produce and local food vendors.
They also plan to host pop-up shops with small Calgary businesses.
"We've asked a lot of our French friends and asked what they'd like to be able to buy in Calgary," says Andrea Brassart, co-owner and Gilles' wife. "So it's all either French, or it's local."
A Parisian café in Calgary
At the opening, local accordion player Penny Sanborn added to the romantic French atmosphere as guests perused cheeses curated by Peasant Cheese in Kensington, selecting 10 cheeses each week with a focus on those from France and Quebec.
As Sanborn played, patrons perused a selection of charcuterie including salumi from Empire and VDG, olives and cornichons, enormous jars of French mustard and almost ottoman-sized cans of duck cassoulet and confit.
There are French baguettes and rustic loaves delivered daily from Sidewalk Citizen, dairy products from Vital Green Farms in Picture Butte, and select high-end frozen items straight from France — including you-bake croissants, duck fat fries, pommes dauphine and dishes of escargot in their shells, sealed in with herbed garlic butter, ready for the oven.
Some wine with your cheese?
Next door, J. Webb Wines has a well-curated selection of wines to pair with your purchase (you don't even have to go outside to wander over), and if you're not in the mood to cook, there's Cassis Bistro on the other side.
"In France, I grew up going to markets like this," says Gilles. "I'm delighted to bring the authentic French market experience here to Calgary."
The Little French Market is located at 2505 17 Ave SW.
Visit their website from more information.
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