I had been ogling this event and daydreaming this past week, trying to figure out whether I could make it, when the foodie gods shone their light upon me or something, because I ended up winning two tickets to go. My little food nerd heart grew three sizes that day !
The dinner itself was part of a greater Slow Food Canada conference that took place between May 1-4 in Tatamagouche. For the uninitiated, the slow food movement was founded to counteract the whole fast-food lifestyle and disappearance of local food traditions and is based on three principles (to quote Slow Food NS):
- Good food that’s a pleasure to eat, produced in a framework that builds community, and is part of local culture
- Clean food that’s safe and nutritious, sustainably derived from healthy soil, plants and animals closer to home
- Fair food, accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for small-scale producers.
Now what’s not to love about that? If you are interested in learning more, check out www.slowfood.com or Slow Food NS. Become a member!
This event also marked the formal introduction of the East Coast Chef’s Collaborative. That would be this wonderful group of people in this blurry photo:
Now how often do you get to have your dinner cooked for you by not one, but SIX chefs??! I had only eaten at one of the featured restaurants (Wild Caraway down in Advocate, highly recommended), so I was really excited about trying out all the others, and all the wonderful food that this night no doubt had in store as well. I was not disappointed! And in general, the evening was really enjoyable. There were lots of interesting presentations and great conversation with some of the other folks involved in producing great food across this country. We had lots of laughs at our table and shared lots of stories. There was also a silent auction (my friend took home some wine) and a small sales table, where I purchased a new favorite t-shirt.
On to the food and wine! The opening reception featured three tables offering fresh oysters provided by ShanDaph Aquaculture, Sober Island and Bay Enterprises. Sadly, by the time I got there, all the oysters from Sober Island were gone, so I did not even get to see them. But I heard from others that they were very tasty, and the smallest oysters of the grouping (which is usually what I’ll go for). All very fresh and tasty.
The oysters were featured along with the 2013 Nova 7 by Benjamin Bridge. I’d heard a lot of buzz about this wine on twitter and so forth, but hadn’t tasted it before the slow food dinner. I will definitely buy this wine again. Delicious, light and bubbly, it paired really well with the oysters, but I can also see it going very well with dessert. All of the wine pairings through the night were Nova Scotia wines/stout. I have been to most of these vineyards, check them out!
On to dinner!
1st Course; Mark Gray – The Brooklyn Warehouse
striped bass, rhubarb, buttermilk, peas, ginger, cucumber and camelina oil
The dish was served with 2011 Black Dog Riesling, Gaspareau Vineyards
2nd Course; Bryan Picard – The Bite House
sunflower seed soup, turnip, cress, smoked grains
This dish was served with the 2013 Tidal Bay from Benjamin Bridge
3rd Course; Andrew Aitken – Wild Caraway Restaurant & Cafe
arctic char, lobster & scallop terrine, dulse and laver, salad of sprouts and foraged greens
This was served with the 2013 Tidal Bay from Blomidon Estate Winery
4th Course; Dave Smart – Front and Central
root vegetable “pot au feu”, smoked mushrooms, spring greens, dumplings
Served with 2012 Stubborn Head, Avondale Sky Winery
5th Course; Andrew Farrell – 2 Doors Down
hay smoked lamb belly and shoulder, toasted barley, early season vegetables
Served with 4 Skins, Jost Vineyards
6th Course; Sarah Griebel – Wild Caraway Restaurant and Cafe
knotweed and rhubarb, blueberry friand, toasted oat and maple ice cream
Served with Rare Bird Full Steam Stout, Authentic Seacoast Brewing Company
Everything was SO good (although I admit I did not eat the lamb, I did taste the barley and veg). So many bright, fresh and beautiful flavors and textures. And the dinner further enforced for me how important it is to suss out local producers and support local businesses. There was an intro for every dish, describing where the items were sourced. It’s a wonderful thing to know where your food comes from, to be able to take a little walk or drive and meet the people who produce the items that end up on your dinner plate.
If you want to check out the restaurants featured above to see what else these fine chefs have to offer, find them here:
And last, but not least, a big thanks to the volunteers and organizers of this event !