Credit where credit is due: a thrillingly improved vinegar shelf!

lots of vinegars at the Foodland

Look at this vinegar selection! Red-wine vinegar, white-wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, regular white vinegar: as much as a person could want. I stand corrected!

Okay, I don’t expect any of you to remember (or care about) my first-world-whingeing of a few months ago about the bare-bones state of the vinegar section at our local supermarket.

(And I hasten to add that, despite my whingeing on the vinegar front, even back then Raymond and I were appreciating that the Madoc Foodland is a very good supermarket, especially for a small rural area. Good produce [including a nicely varied selection: Collard greens! Baby bok choy! Wow!] and absolutely second-to-none friendly and helpful customer service.)

But yes, there I was bleating in that post about not being able to find white-wine vinegar (for a potato salad) in the vinegar section. And I am sure I sounded like a complete prig when I posted a comparative photo showing the vast selection of vinegars at the local supermarket in our former Montreal neighbourhood.

I would like to think that the tone of that post was self-deprecating enough that I didn’t come across as a total idiot. But, you know, it probably wasn’t. So now I want to say that I do recognize (and did then) that exotic vinegars are not the be-all and the end-all. But also I want to say that … Ta-da! the vinegar selection at the Madoc Foodland is very good indeed these days! Was it something I said? Almost certainly not. Why would the manager of the Foodland care about me, rambling on in my blog about life at the Manse in Queensborough? Instead, it strikes me as very likely that back in the summer when I was having my “cidiot” (“citiot”?) vinegar crisis, I had just happened to hit a low-stock day on the vinegar front at the Foodland. And now things are back to normal.

So yes, credit where credit is due: at the Madoc Foodland (an excellent supermarket; did I mention that?) there is now a bang-up vinegar selection. For all your potato-salad needs, and much more.

(And hey: thanks, Madoc Foodland!)

15 thoughts on “Credit where credit is due: a thrillingly improved vinegar shelf!

  1. I remember your complaint about vinegar…and I admit to still having one. I cannot find a really excellent red wine vinegar in town. Something exotic, imported, expensive…

    • Yes, well, the vinegar selection at the Madoc Foodland is now beyond acceptable, Lindi, but for sure the exotic, imported, expensive ones are not on those shelves. Not Belleville either? Perhaps a business opportunity there…

  2. Well, that is a very nice selection (on the shelves in the photo.) I’m pretty sure that during my days in Madoc, the only vinegar I would have seen is Heinz white. Not to taunt, but I’ve just been given a late Christmas gift — a bottle of Cucumber Blush vinegar (Hand-made Oak-aged, fully fermented Merlot with Cucumber.) Rather unusual — I wonder how this would taste as part of your potato salad dressing.

  3. And guess what else … I was in Loblaws (Maple Leaf Gardens) over the weekend. Do you think I could find any sherry vinegar? That huge store had everything but sherry, so I’m wondering if one has to go to some out-of-the-way gourmet shop (where the price will be sky-high) for this. If that’s the case, then I guess Madoc Foodland has done a very good job trying to keep a variety of stock.

    • Okay, now that seems weird. You live in the city, don’t you, Sash? Seems to me any respectable supermarket of any size in the big city should have at least one kind of sherry vinegar! (Or was I spoiled in Outremont?)

      • Yes, I live surrounded by concrete, noise, construction cranes and a rather loud mayor. The next time I’m at Costco (near Yorkdale mall), I will drop in at Grande Cheese. They have everything (and I mean everything) in the way of a huge selection of oils, vinegars, pastas, you name it and it’s there. Awfully odd that MLG Loblaws did not have it — they had everything else, all sorts of unusual oils and vinegars, but no sherry. Lucky you for having it in Outremont!

        Speaking of Maple Leaf Gardens, have you been there since it’s been converted from arena to Loblaws? I went on the Doors Open tour last year, so that includes the two floors over the main food floor. The new arena on the 3rd floor is the same size as the old Gardens arena, with reduced seating of course, but still very large. I can’t guess how many seats it has, but it is quite impressive. So nice to see that they’ve done this work on the building, as she was looking quite sad for many years (after they move the Leafs down to the Air Canada Centre.)

      • Okay, so here’s how out of touch with Toronto I am: I had no idea that Maple Leaf Gardens was now a super-sized Loblaw’s! My goodness, my memories of hanging out in a run-down U of T student rental house just across the street (tiny Granby Street) now seem like a million years ago…

      • For heaven’s sake, one of my friends lives on McGill Street, which is the street south of Granby. Yes, Maple Leaf Gardens is a huge Loblaws on the main floor. I say “main” because when they gutted the building, they created two more floors above the ground level. I passed the building regularly during the construction period and could see inside when they were working. They excavated way below the ground to make way for underground parking. Imagine having to take out those seats. As far as I know, they were secured to concrete, so everything came out, right to the walls.

        There are touches of the Gardens’ hockey days throughout the store. When you enter at Church & Carlton, you’ll see a huge blue maple leaf up on a wall, made from the blue seats. Over toward the centre door (the main door when it was an area), there is a seating area for take-out foods, where they have used some of the seats from the Gardens, with a huge mural covering one wall, of the highlights of hockey there. Pillars throughout the store have big photos on them, of famous people who performed there — Frank Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles, lots of sports heroes. And a big orange circle in Aisle 25 represents centre ice.

        If you like bakeries (and who doesn’t), I’m always amazed at the variety of cakes, cupcakes, pastries, etc. Ace Bakery is also there, making several different types of artisan breads. The produce section goes on forever, with a fishmonger nearby, and an oyster bar, too.

        The second and third floors are very impressive, with a big basketball court, a gym (weights, etc.) that anybody can join (although it’s primarily for Ryerson Athletics), plus the hockey arena on the top floor. They’ve done a wonderful job of restoring the building, and with the cleaning of the external brick, it looks like it would have in the early 30s.

        Now, then … Granby Street … if I’m right, you were at U of T in the late 70s, early 80s? Is so, you would have missed the glory of old Eaton’s College Street, which closed in 1977.

      • An oyster bar! That would be enough to get me in the door. It sounds like an amazing complex, and rather better than the sad mess that the old Forum in Montreal has become. You have guessed my U of T years correctly, Sash – late 1970s/very early 1980s. Yes, those years were too late for Eaton’s College Street, but I remember that wonderful store from my very youngest days, when we lived in Leaside while my father was finishing his divinity degree at U of T. An amazing store! Hey, do you remember the little landmark that was the Laura Secord store (with a revolving sign, as I recall) at Carlton and Yonge?

      • Ha ha!! Funny you should mention the Laura Secord at Carlton & Yonge. I was there today although, sadly, it is no longer a Laura Secord. Beside that shop, there used to be a Woolworth’s. Well, Shoppers Drug Mart had both of the stores. The Laura section (cosmetics & beauty supplies) has a revolving door, but the unique revolving sign is long gone. The Woolworth’s part is a typical Shoppers.

        I was at Eaton’s College on the very last day, as they were closing the store forever. The four Eaton brothers were there, to say goodbye and shake hands with the customers as we left at the main centre door on Yonge. It was such a beautiful store, and it was very sad to say goodbye to it. I spent many Saturdays browsing there. Had you ever been up to the 7th floor auditorium or the Round Room restaurant? When the store closed in 1977, everything on the 7th floor went into darkness. However, about ten years ago, they finally restored everything, and it’s now known as The Carlu (after the Carlus, who were the designers), and the space is used for events rentals. I wish I could say nice things about the main floor (now known as College Park). It was redesigned and cut up for small boutiques, and then they were all given eviction notices and Winners took over much of the space. Needless to say, it is nothing like when it was Eaton’s.

        And … ta-dah! Loblaws is stocked with sherry vinegar!

  4. Don’t get me wrong, i totally believe in supporting local businesses, and the Foodland in Madoc is a great small-town grocery store. However, if you are ever going to Toronto, stop in at Herma’s Fine Food and Gifts on Hwy 28 just north of 401/Port Hope (http://www.hermas.ca/) . Many many many vinegars, oils, and fine foods/implements of all kinds (in the tens if not 100s – have not seen anything quite like it – even in Toronto!). I would also put in a good word for ‘The Food Company’ here in Tweed :).

    • VM, I am more than a little embarrassed to say that I lived just a few miles away from Herma’s (in Port Hope) for many years and have never once dropped in to visit it. I was blown away with the photo on their website of their selection of vinegars (here) – it easily rivals the choice that I was bragging about on the shelves of our grocery store in Montreal. Since I still have lots of family in Port Hope, I have absolutely not excuse to visit the shop now. And I totally concur about The Food Company – it is a terrific store and has lots of imported foods. (Not to mention gifts and kitchenware; I did a lot of my Christmas shopping there!)

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