I love food. Food from all over the world. And I love that Salt Lake City has a burgeoning community of markets with global imports. As a matter of fact, I’ve written about some of them before: “Eat Global, Shop Local” (Salt Lake Magazine Nov/Dec 2016 issue, pages 76-83)
One of my favorite local spots has long been Black Cherry Market. They recently moved into a new location just a few blocks from their original spot. I couldn’t resist stopping by to catch up with one of the owners, Jalal Islami, and to pick up some Turkish delight. The relocation is a new build but is already scented with spices, coffee, baked goods, and tea. Jalal explained that it was time for a fresh, new place where they could grow their business.
Black Cherry has been around as a community market for almost 12 years.
The market is family-run, with locals weighing in on the products they want on the shelves. “We have Mediterranean groceries,” said Jalal, explaining what customers should expect. “We have quite a bit that you cannot get from regular grocery stores. Food imported from Greece, Iran, Bosnia, Lebanon, and Turkey. Believe it or not, about 75% of the grocery carry is all our customer’s choice; they say, ‘Can you bring this in?’ and 90% of the time we can bring it, we try to.”
If you’re a regular at Black Cherry, it is time to check out the new digs. If you haven’t been, it is time to discover this local gem.
Here are my top 10 reasons you should head over to Black Cherry Market today.
1.Hot beverages. The kind with caffeine.
You can find Turkish, Greek, and Arabic Coffee. As a Turkish coffee lover, this is where I always pick up my powder-fine, ultra-octane coffee.
You’ll also find over 70 varieties of tea—from herbal, black, green, loose leaf, the whole herb… The works. It is overwhelming (in the best way).
3. Enough baked goods for every carb-loving soul
I love Mediterranean-style baked goods. Love the cookies. Love the flatbreads. They have rolled baklava as well as the more traditional ones. They even carry locally made Bohemian Baklava, one of my faves. Having a party? Grab a few sweets, arrange them on a platter, and boom! You’ll have something totally unique. Bonus points if you serve them with Black Cherry Market’s tea or coffee.
3. Fresh Produce
Black Cherry Market doesn’t have a large produce section. What they do have is produce in season that you won’t find anywhere else. For example, when I visited this past week, they had fresh pistachios. I’ve never seen fresh pistachios, which are a beautiful pink color. Who knew?!
Other times when I’ve been by, they’ve had fresh dates. Fresh dates are a true revelation if you are obsessed with dried dates like I am. They have a caramel flavor and a hyper-sweet, floral scent.
It’s also a great place to find pomegranates during the holidays. Amazing melons during the summer. And I’ve even spotted fresh garbanzo beans there a time or two. Bright green and covered in a papery lantern, they’re delicious in summer salads.
Just remember all their produce is seasonal, so it’s worth checking back regularly to see what they have.
4. Local Meats & Halal Options
Now that we’re almost out of farmers’ market season, it’s worth mentioning that Black Cherry carries meat from Canyon Meadows Ranch. Canyon Meadows is one of my favorite local beef. Purveyors.
They also carry halal options, including lamb and beef from Robert Walton Meat Co. They have great lamb and beef stew meat. It’s the only place in town I’ve been able to find lamb shanks I needed for a lamb Oso Buco recipe. Black Cherry Market to the rescue!
5. The Ice Cream.
Persian-style ice cream is with gelato in terms of creamy mouthfeel. But the thing that makes it so special is the highly unique flavors—rose, saffron, pistachio, date, lavender, and orange blossom.
The ice cream is almost chewy in texture with a creamy finish and is less sweet than American-style ice cream. The ice cream base gets its texture from shalab, which thickens and smooths the ice cream as cornstarch would. It makes for the smoothest ice cream ever. You can even get it in ice cream sandwich form, with the sandwich part being a crispy wafer. My favorite is the rosewater-saffron.
Hold on. I have to go get some now…
6. Even More Dairy
Where are my cheese lovers? It is worth visiting the refrigerated case JUST for the cheese alone. This is a mere sampling of some of the offerings:
- Salty white cheese from Bulgaria
- Feta from Greece
- Tangy yogurts and yogurt drinks
- Organic ghee—which is my go-to for roasting veggies lately
- Halloumi—a sheep’s milk cheese from Cyprus that is delicious on the grill or pan-toasted. It’s like the Middle Eastern cheese baby of squeaky cheese curds and bread cheese.
- Mascarpone—which makes the best easy frosting when mixed with fig jam. FYI.
Did I mention that they carry double-cream Feta? I didn’t even know that was possible. Double. Cream. I highly recommend it for everyone that is geeking out on whipped Feta or baked feta recipes these days.
7. Snacks For Days
Black Cherry Market is perfect for hungry gals and guys who like to have snacks. Constantly.
Look for nuts, olives, dried fruit, pickles, fruit leathers, and even tinned sardines. You could also go in for a haul to build the perfect grazing board.
Don’t forget the Turkish delight. It’s a grown-up version of gummy candy made with fruit syrups and nuts or fruit embedded. It’s well worth buying instead of trying to make your own. My worst cooking disaster ever was trying to make a Turkish delight from scratch. But that’s a story for another day. So learn my lesson and buy your Turkish delight.
8. Pantry Gold
This is a fantastic spot to stock up if you love to cook, bake, or even putter around the kitchen.
My recent haul included the best and creamiest tahini, which I’ll use for dressings and dips. A type of smoked basmati rice that I made into a grain salad. It was complex, aromatic, and made for some exciting layers. I picked up some dried whole milk powder, perfect for adding natural richness to baked goods. And just for fun, I grabbed a jar of whole walnuts in syrup. Still figuring out what I’m going to do with them, but I’m sensing that the syrup will find its way into a cocktail sooner or later.
You can find canned goods, bags of beans, rice, so many pickles, and just about every spice you’ll ever need. One of the great things about the spice selection is that they sell many in small portions. This means you can avoid the thing we’ve all been guilty of: buying a big jar of spices that we might only use once…
Come in, wander the aisles, and stock up. You’re cooking will become so much more inspired.
9. Gifts Galore
Looking for a unique gift? I love Middle Eastern-style tea cups and Turkish coffee pots and cups. They are beautiful and unique.
They have an entire cookware section for the cook in your life.
10. Someone to Answer ALL Your Questions
What makes Black Cherry Market so unique is the willingness of the family who works there to pause and answer questions, share a cup of tea, or direct you to what you are looking for. They’ve even helped me when I have had questions about a recipe or a process. The warm service is the big reason to come back again and again.
Where to find Black Cherry Market (at their new location)
10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
4576 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84124, United States
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