I was drawn to Byward Market with the promise of french pastries. Having lived in France for a year, I miss the pastries, and search for them in all of my travels. Though it feels a bit like betrayal, I have to admit that I have not found an authentic éclair in the states. Which is a shame because as we become more cosmopolitan, it is just expected that any large city would offer good eclairs.
Anyway, so Ottawa, with a more French influence than British Columbia, would seem like a logical place to search for eclairs. And I have to admit it did not disappoint. A concierge at Chateau Laurier pointed me in the direction of Byward market, promising that I will be able to find anything. And that was true--even on the weekdays, the stalls at the middle of Byward offered up excellent fresh produce and maple products that you can take home for souvenirs. Surrounding Byward are permanent specialty food shops, as well as cafes and boutiques. It is among these that I found a French café where I gobbled up on éclair, napoleons, choux crème, and fruit tarts, all in the space of two hours. And I even bought more to go. But what is even more attractive about Byward is its restaurant offerings--all within several blocks, you have choices of any type of food you are in the mood for, from Canadian to Chinese to Thai to Mexican, Brazilian, and other African choices. And that's not all. Byward is also home of other retail goods--you can find Cuban cigars, designer clothing, and unique art works in the market as well.