The only thing I love more than going out for a great meal is making one with my own hands (and knives, and kitchen gadgets). I may not have the skills to walk the walk of a great chef, but I do love to talk the talk. So today I’m going to switch gears a bit.
In cooking 101, you learn that there are three basic aspects to preparing a good dish: technique, spices, and ingredients. I am the last person to give advice on technique. If it’s up to me, every dish I’d make would have enough spice to burn a hole through my pot. So that leaves ingredients.
Whether you are making a classic steak and potatoes, or trying to impress with Julia Child’s Beef Bourgeneon, what you put in is what you get out. What’s the point of spending hours slaving over your Le Creusset only to find out that meat from Tesco is tough and your dish tastes like Horse Bourgeneon.
There have been some alternatives to the big stores (and eventually, I will write about them), but quality meat and groceries are hard to come by. Inevitably, someone attempts to fill that void. Fortunately for all of us, My Food Market arrived.
Opening in spring 2013, My Food Market instantly jumped to the top of my favorite stores. Located on the far side of Vaňkovka (the bus station side), they aren’t the most convenient destination for me. But they are worth the trip. They have many unique products that I can’t find elsewhere. But their biggest asset is their butcher department. The meat at My Food Market is unparalleled in Brno. They work directly with local farms that focus on grass fed, free range animals.
Not only is the meat great, they also have fantastic butchers there. It’s true that Sklizeno also carries grass fed beef, but I have had nothing but frustration trying to get something specific there.
Recently, I wanted to make brisket for a traditional Jewish meal. I went to Sklizeno and asked if they can provide a roast like that. We finally figured out that I wanted hrudí, bez kosti. They had the cut but they told me that if I wanted a roast cut without the bone they would triple the price. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had a problem with them (they refuse to sell better cut meats ground up for burgers).
Frustrated, I walked over to My Food Market. Firstly, the space is very calming. It is an open space that reminds me of higher end shops in the US. I went to the butcher counter and spoke with Tomáš. Not only was it a relief that he speaks English fluently, it seemed like he has experience working in an English speaking butcher shop. He understood the cuts. The minute I said “brisket”, he asked if I wanted the bone off and the fat trimmed. My traditional dinner was a huge success and a lot of credit goes to him. Since then, I’ve had fantastic experiences experimenting for different burgers (different cuts and grinds).
But My Food Market is not just a butcher. They have the standard smoked meat and cheese counter (its good, but this seems to be very commonplace in Brno) and very good produce. They also carry a nice variety of vinegars, oils, spices and pantry items. Most of these are standard for high end food shops, but they do have some twists thrown in.
Their bakery items are fantastic as well. They are the only store I’m aware of that carries hamburger buns which don’t taste like cardboard and I always buy their tomato bread for breakfasts. And if you are a beer drinker, they have a couple of great craft beers there (Holy Dog and Kocour).
One draw for me is their chili pepper options. They carry a fantastic line of the hottest peppers dried, powdered or made into sauce. I love the Trinidad Scorpion powder, have the dried habeneros at home for chili con carne and the bhut jolokia sauce to add kick to my curry (after making it, so my guests don’t suffer).
The atmosphere is really great there. As I mentioned before, the open space is very inviting. The people there are very friendly and helpful. There are usually two or three people there at any given time that speak English. They are also very accommodating. Last year I asked them to offer a free tasting at a Brno Expat Centre event and they joined without hesitation. I became friendly with them and we ended up spawning the idea of having a Burger Battle (which was loads of fun and a big hit).
If you are looking for high quality ingredients to take your cooking to the next level, this is the place to go.