findlay market : a taste of cincinnati

 a close up of the cheese at Silverglade and Sons

Over the holidays, I returned to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit with family and friends.  As in most families, Christmastime in my family is rooted in tradition.  And traditions in the Keller family are often rooted in food.  So it is fortunate that I was able to visit Findlay Market for our family's annual pre-Christmas cheese and meat stock-up session. I have been going to Findlay Market with my dad on Saturday mornings since I could walk, and my visits were regular until high-school, when Saturday's were used for sleeping in.

For those non-Cincinnatians reading this post, you should know that Findlay Market is an early municipal market constructed between 1852 and 1855.  The Market is located in Over The Rhine, an area that began as a German immigrant community; primarily built between 1860 and 1900, this region of Cincinnati is a prime example of an urban 19th century community.  The Findlay market website does a much better job telling the market's history than I can do in one blog post.  But if you have any interest in outdoor markets, you should read up on this gem.

renovation of the market includes new logos and signage, featured above one entrance to the market

Findlay Market is the oldest municipal market house in the state of Ohio and in the early 1980's it found its place on the National Register of Historic Places.  Physically speaking, the Market has undergone many transformations since its original construction as an open air pavilion.  Today the market is roughly 25% open air, and 75% covered iron frame structure.  But many things about Findlay Market remain unchanged.  It has been, and remains, a mecca for fresh, local foods, with many German specialties.  In recent years, the surge in farmer's market shopping has created a buzz around Findlay Market drawing a younger, more hip crowd to Over the Rhine on Saturday mornings.  But many families have created multi-generational traditions here, and will continue to do so for years to come.

above many stands are featured products (Krause's)

Personally, I am the biggest fan of the CHEESE from Silverglade and Sons.  And my cousin's girlfriend is the resident cheese monger for the stand - so we receive great recommendations and friendly service.  Our family has at least four cheeses out before every holiday meal.  This year we went with the traditional Christmas Cheddar Spread, an English Blue Stilton, Bucheron drizzled with warmed honey and another french goat cheese called Couronne Lochoise, which has a flaky, buttery texture.  We also purchased smoked, cajun bacon with an amazing peppery rind for Christmas breakfast, and our standing roast for Christmas Dinner. 

perfect snack

In more recent years, the Market has become home to small business owners selling prepared foods, drinks, handmade soaps and small goods.  One of my favorites is Taste of Belgium, which serves Belgium Waffles, made to order.  Since I hadn't been to the market since last year, I was pleasantly surprised to see the addition of Dojo, a gealteria and coffee stand.  But if you aren't looking for anything serious, you can always choose to snack on a German Style Landjaeger.  This is, to put it simply, a really fancy German Slim Jim type snack.  And although I haven't had the pleasure of eating a Slim Jim, I would imagine the hand-cased, small batches of these dried meats might be a LITTLE bit better.  Maybe. 

jeff on the left, john on the right

The market is such a tradition in our family, that we often run into our own family there.  On this particular Saturday, we happened to run into our Uncle John, my dad's twin brother at the market.  He was picking up an additional standing roast, to be served for Christmas Eve.  John and Jeff (my dad), are often caught planning similar menus and wearing the same clothing (see above). 

jocelyn and i with our new market baskets

you really can find ANYTHING here

Findlay Market to me is a place for family, food and fun.  It is a tradition I hold very close to my heart, and it plays a huge role in my passion for food.  

If you can get your hands on a Landjaeger, you will not regret it.