Farmer's market at food festival

Epicurean Market
Where: Marina Bay Sands, Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Basement 2, Halls D and E
When: Aug 14, noon to 1am; Aug 15, 11am to 1am; Aug 16, 11am to 9pm
Price: $28 (three-day pass, includes admission to the After Party on Aug 14 and 15), food prices start from $3
Info: Call 6688-8826 or go to epicurean-market

A farmers' market offering inseason produce flown in from the United States and Canada will be one of the main draws at the Epicurean Market, the annual gastronomic festival organised by Marina Bay Sands (MBS).

Now in its third year, the festival will be held from Aug 14 to 16.

Gourmands can buy about 40 vegetables and fruits, including cherries, peaches, plums, onions, corn, heirloom tomatoes and artichokes in the market, which is styled after rustic ones in California.

This is the first time that MBS is curating the produce list in the farmers' market. Supermarket chain Cold Storage and food purveyor Fresh Trust managed the event's grocery section in previous years.

This year, the integrated resort's executive chef Christopher Christie, 53, is working directly with farms in British Columbia and Los Angeles to supply the produce.

He says: "We are taking advantage of the end of summer season over in Canada and California, when the produce is in peak condition."

Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, whose db Bistro & Oyster Bar is at MBS, will set up a pop-up booth, Epicerie Boulud, at the farmers' market.

The booth, an offshoot of his popular gourmet shop in New York, will sell its signature house-made charcuterie, breads and pastries. Visitors can buy more than 10 types of cured meats, including Jambon Persille (jellied ham with parsley), Pate Campagne (pork terrine), beef cheek and pistachio terrine and foie gras torchon. They are priced at $8 a portion. Those with a sweet tooth can go for pastries such as eclairs, rum babas and tarts, also priced at $8 each. All the products at the booth will be made here.

Other products at the farmers' market include cheeses brought in by local cheese retailer The Cheese Artisans, which will showcase VSOP Gouda from the Netherlands, which has been aged for two years, and Gorgonzola Dolce, which can be paired with acacia white truffle honey.

Other products on sale include seafood such as Kumamoto and Shigoku oysters shipped from Seattle, dim sum and premium meats. These products are from wholesalers who supply ingredients to MBS' celebrity restaurants.

Also new this year is the After Party. The market grounds will be transformed into a pulsating night spot, complete with dance tracks by DJ Deepak from Ce La Vi in MBS. The party will stretch from 9pm to 1am. Revellers can sip cocktails and tuck into light bites such as tarte flambee.

Chef Christie says: "Last year, we had a crowd which stayed on after the market closed, so we decided to come up with the After Party, which will add another dimension to the event and shift its atmosphere to an evening setting."

A highlight of the Epicurean Market has been sneak peeks of soon-to-open establishments in MBS.

Chef Tetsuya Wakuda, 56, of Japanese fine-dining restaurant Waku Ghin will set up a pastry booth selling 12 types of cakes and pastries. These include a caramel puff and cheese mousse cake.

He is opening a cake counter in MBS' Rise Lounge, offering about 10 "light and simple pastries made with seasonal ingredients" next month, in response to requests from diners. Usually, the pastries and cakes are available only as part of the degustation meals at his restaurant.

Participating in the Epicurean Market for the first time is Spago, the iconic Californian restaurant by chef Wolfgang Puck. The restaurant will give visitors a taste of the Californian cuisine that diners can expect when the restaurant opens a Singapore outpost later this year.

Its booth will serve dishes such as handmade agnolotti, spicy tuna tartare and Silver Queen sweet corn served with mascarpone, parmesan cheese and summer truffles.

Tasting portions at these booths cost between $3 and $25.

The event attracted more than 10,000 visitors last year and MBS expects the same number to turn up this year.

Besides shopping and eating, visitors can also learn more about food and drinks through more than 35 masterclasses.

One of them is led by Australian whisky expert Sean Baxter, who will talk about a range of Singleton whiskies by Glen Ord Distillery in Scotland, including the Master's Casks 40-year-old, the oldest and rarest single-malt whisky in the distillery's 170 year history. Tickets are priced at $88 each.

Other classes include a Japanese cuisine class by chef Hide Yamamoto and a pastry-making course by pastry chef Michael Hadobas of steakhouse Cut by Wolfgang Puck, who will teach participants how to whip up eclairs and cream puffs.

This article was first published on August 2, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.