There are two things I love about farmers’ markets. The first, of course, is the wonderful fresh produce. The second is the wealth of local artisan food makers; the bakers, the cheesemakers, the purveyors of all sorts of prepared foods, granola, ice cream, pickles, preserves, sauces and more. Smorgasburg is a market comprised purely of these vendors.
The market is put on by Brooklyn Flea and takes place on the Williamsburg waterfront every Saturday. I checked it out with my parents this past weekend when I was home. The website claims that there are over 100 food vendors each week. I don’t know if it quite felt like there were 100 vendors, but there was certainly no shortage of options.
One of the first vendors that caught my eye was Dough Donuts. I had seen a few videos and articles about them a few months ago and I’d been eager to try them ever since. If the woman in front of us hadn’t nabbed the last dulce de leche donut, it would have been mine. My mom and I were intrigued by the lemon poppyseed but ultimately decided on the cafe au lait. The donut itself had a subtle, sweet coffee flavor, was drenched in a sugary glaze and topped with a coffee scented crumb topping. The donut was fat, chewy and moist; completely sugary but the coffee served to temper the sweetness. Rumor has it they also make a cheesecake donut with graham cracker crumbs. That one is definitely next on my list.
The guys from Cheeky Monkey Foods win the award for most outgoing salesmen. They were handing out samples of their tomato garlic dipping oil. And when I say handing out, one of the guys was literally chasing after passersby to hand them a bowl. This was probably a very effective method, as it tasted so much better than I would ever expect based on just appearances. It was sweet, tangy and just the tiniest bit spicy. They served it with a soft baguette that completely soaked up the rich oil. I would take this over plain olive oil for dipping bread any day. They offer it in both a mild and spicy variety.
After our donut appetizer, we considered a more lunch appropriate option. SCRATCHbread had an enticing display of three rustic sandwiches including one with butter and orange marmelade and one overflowing with homemade mozzarella and pesto.
I was most interested in one of their breads, the Bourbon Wheat, and their homemade mozzarella. The woman selling was happy to make us a sandwich of just that. The bread is made with organic rolled oats, organic steel cut oats, pecans, dried currants, bourbon. It was lightly sweet, hearty and incredibly moist and chewy. The cheese was some of the milkiest, softest mozzarella I had ever tried. This sandwich, just these two simple ingredients, was phenomenal.
Another Brooklyn spot I’ve been wanting to try for over a year is Kumquat Cupcakery, known for making tiny bite-sized cupcakes in fun flavors. We kept it simple and ordered a tiny chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. The cake was okay, I imagine it is hard to keep cupcakes that tiny from drying out. The frosting was fun though, not particularly buttery, but like a light ganache, almost reminiscent of a rich chocolate pudding.
The clouds and drizzle couldn’t keep the hungry patrons away from Smorgasburg. In addition to all of the food artisans, one section of the market includes eight or so Greenmarket farmers. I can’t wait to go again, both to try more things that I didn’t get a chance to the first time around and to see the atmosphere when sun is out and the weather is warm. Smorgasburg runs every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9am to 5pm. You can view the full list of Brooklyn Flea vendors here.
East River Waterfront, between North 6 + 7 St.