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Denver: The Market Values Good Food, Friendship and History

Ambra Meda falls in love with The Market gourmet foods in Denver, Colorado.

By Ambra Meda

The Market“, at Larimer Square, is, without a shadow of doubt, a must for a real foodie. Avoiding the extremes – from street food to upscale restaurants – this place fulfills everybody’s desires without emptying their pockets.

Not only is the setting extremely warm and charming, the staff absolutely friendly and the owner affable. The food is authentic, genuine and real.

Whereas gourmet foods usually come in small pompous portions, at The Market quantity and quality have found a perfect balance. After devoting the first few bites savoring the delicacy of the chef’s handicraft, you can then dedicate the rest to satisfy your indulgence. Taste for taste’s sake.

Moreover, while being located on one of the city’s most famous streets, their products are not overpriced, and from 1983 the place has maintained a family oriented philosophy. It’s a domestic environment that has put a coffee shop, a deli, a bakery and specialty groceries under the same roof. The Market is more than an eating experience. From breakfast to dinner or late chocolate cravings, this place is all you need in the moment you need it.

I stop the owner, Mark Greenberg, as he’s moving some fragrant warm Blueberry Turnovers from the baking pan to the display.

“Hey Sir, which one of these little wonders is your favorite?”.

I have been staring at them for at least ten minutes and still can’t make a decision.

Usually that’s a good sign. If I get confused just looking at the foods, it means that they all seem worth trying. “I was thinking about that Apple Strudel, but the Cherry Sweet Cheese Muffin and the Old Fashioned Crumb Cake look amazing as well.”

Smiling at me he confirms my early insight: “Oh, you don’t wanna miss my strudel for sure, I baked it fresh this morning. But you know what? You definitely need to try my specialty cake. Let me show you”.

I follow him upstairs and from the cakes fridge he takes his signature “Spring Fling”: a monumental crisp fruits and butter cream layers cake.

Even though I’m not a fan of frostings and spongy cakes, this is truly one of a kind. From the first bite, it utterly wins my taste buds. The filling is surprisingly light, minus the butter, and it delightfully matches the crunchy coolness of the fruit and the tenderness of the paste.

My mouth is still full, but a word comes out spontaneously: “Wow!

“The secret – he tells me – is the dough. A Sweet Zucchini Bread that I prepare personally, and once it’s baked, I cut it in round disks and offer top and edges to the customers as a side for their meals.

Taste it plain. Have some from that bowl!” …Awesome.

After trying to cherish that amazing flavor walking around the mouthwatering displays of all kind of foods (from Carne asada to Goat cheese pasta salad), I order a hot tea and the Strudel Mark suggested, hoping not to ruin my perfect first impression.

As the waiter warms up the pastry, a sweet cinnamon perfume overwhelms me.

But it’s only when I dip my fork into its fruity heart that my excitement gets high. The flavor is rich. Plentiful.

Every bite is a delicately calibrated amount of crispy fillo dough, stewed apples and juicy raisins.

Even in Italy it’s hard to find a good strudel outside of South Tyrol, and, although I’m an avid lover of this particular sweet, I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve had an excellent strudel.

A finger is reserved for The Market!

The Market, 1445 Larimer Street, Denver CO, USA www.themarketatlarimer.com

Ambra Meda

Ambra Meda

It is often said that Italians don’t eat to live, but live to eat. And to Ambra, philosophizing about food is no different than discussing art. She grew up as a devoted lover of all things Italian, from pumpkin gnocchi to pistachio gelato. After moving to the United States she discovered the pleasures of a new world of food. She eats, travels and writes for Still Served Warm.

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Originally Published: March 20, 2012

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