We went out looking for rennet last weekend, a key ingredient in a future cheese-making endeavor, which brought us to a favorite local grocery store: Berkeley Bowl (thanks again Bruce for introducing us!). Although they have a huge cheese section, they didn’t carry rennet (we’re still on the hunt) but so many other amazing things caught our attention we hardly minded that they didn’t have what we came for.
For one thing, the huge and yet amazingly inexpensive produce aisle, you just have to see to believe. I counted seven different varieties of pineapple stacked around, for example. They had bowling-ball sized pomellos, locally picked wild mushrooms, and an impressive selection of edible flowers. I was also interested in the beautiful braided garlic garland (all 12 feet of it) draped around the stands, which I’d love to attempt (in a smaller scale) if I’m ever able to get garlic growing in the garden.
A few things we brought home: Delicata squash (.29¢/lb) which, at the suggestion of a friend, went into a beautiful galette. Also of note were these strangely shaped Caltrops (1.49/lb), which apparently are a type of Chinese water chestnut. I’d never seen anything like them before. (don’t they look just like little angry bull heads?) They need to be boiled for awhile before eating to kill fluke larvae which often live inside – I’ll spare you the nauseating details about what happens if you ingest one of these flukes. Anyways, the nuts themselves are beautiful, and went into a jar on the shelf to be oohed and ahhed over, which I’ve done plenty of in the few days they’ve been there.