Friday, May 8, 2015

Mary Ann Wrona’s Café Bourgeois at Western Fair Farmers' and Artisans' Market

Mary Ann Wrona’s Café Bourgeois at Western Fair Farmers' and Artisan's Market


Mary Ann Wrona with chef Michael Smith

The kitschy charm of this boutique operation would give it credence, even if its rasion d'etre weren’t suggested in its name. This is healthy catering and gourmet-to-go from a repertoire of the Polish-French culinary tradition.

 Mary Ann Wrona is one of the original market vendors at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. Originally known to market-goers as “The Cabbage Roll Lady,” Wrona grew up eating from the family garden. Wrona`s mother had a vast repertoire of braised and steamed vegetables. It has been said that Belgium serves food of French quality in German quantities. She personifies this claim selling many of her specialties by the pound. Wrona has made a name for herself by preparing classic vegetarian specialities and traditional European cuisine with a modern twist.

Wrona’s cuisine is hearty, using lots of seasonal ingredients and offering iconic dishes that share similarities with other European traditions, as well as French and Italian cookery. Hearty vegetables are a mainstay with classic potatoes dishes, beets in borsch, cabbage in the dish bigos, and lots of spice. Wrona’s cuisine is rich in flavour and owes its flavour profile to: dill, caraway, paprika, poppy seed, turmeric, garlic and pepper.

Wrona has the intelligence and comedy chops to do stand-up. She greets the market crowds in nine different languages, promising their tastebuds, “a high-speed ride on the bus to downtown flavour town” and she delivers.

Signature dishes include: peppers stuffed with a variety of fillings, traditional and vegetarian cabbage rolls, silky crepes, pottage and a variation of surprising slaws and seasonal salads. She is known for her queen-sized potato stuffed perogies, made with a thicker dairy-free dough that gives it more of a ``chew`` and fries to a golden brown.

 Wrona’s signature Pig and Whistle (whose implication remains somewhat speculative) is her take on a “larger than life” spring roll with lean ground pork, sauerkraut-cabbage combo, chili and garlic. All her meat is local butcher products. A proponent of farm-to-table cuisine, in season, Wrona handpicks many of her own vegetables from the farms that surround her Elgin County home. In season, Wrona refers rightly, to Elgin County as the Tuscany of Ontario.

From cabbage rolls to crepes, sauerkraut to Stromboli, Wrona’s Café Bourgeois reflects her culinary passion and her European heritage.

 WFFM Saturdays 8 -3pm  519 775 9917

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