Slow Food Edmonton’s Event Spectacular!
I just got home from the best food tasting extravaganza I have ever been to anywhere! Imagine yourself walking into a large spacious ballroom (Delta Hotel Edmonton South) and finding the best restaurants in the city showcasing the best produce in the province thoughtfully pared with Canadian wines and local beer all for just $60.00!
I know! And, then know that the entire $60.00 goes to the Junior League of Edmonton. All of the farms and ranches donated their goods. All of the restaurants, or chefs, donated their time and expertise. The libations were donated, as well. Indulgence 2009 is absolutely Edmonton’s best kept secret! (Above is one of the owners of Culina who was passing the yummy lamb koftas and enjoying the crowd.)
Take a look at the generous and delectable platings. There were seventeen samplings, and yes, we sampled every one of them! YUMMERS!
First, the Waskwei Venison Cassoulet and the Shepherd’s Pie with Wagyu Beef by the Red Ox Inn and Lux Steakhouse and Bar, respectively. I usually do not care for venison, but this is farm raised, and very special. (“¦so was the polenta!) The Shepherd’s Pie was innovative, and very flavourful.
To say that I did not care for the beautifully plated lamb would be an understatement. I didn’t take notes, and the information about the producer of the meat was confusing, but I did ask her for a card, as she was there. She told me she didn’t bring any because she only sold her lamb to restaurants so I need not bother to gather it up. I have since found out sheÂ was Lori Menshik from Full Course Strategies. Whatever she feeds her lamb is what I do not like. It was exceptionally strong and bit me back when I took a taste. Fortunately, the butternut squash puree, and the Beluga lentils were not only eye appealing, but delish! Where do I buy Beluga lentils in Edmonton? That will be my next little project.Â Characters Fine Dining didÂ the beautifulÂ plate, and accompaniment. The Amberlane Farm Naturally-raised Elk was a stand-out. Flavours Modern Bistro prepared it butter-tender and pared it with Saskatoon berries. It was a generous portion, but still not enough as it was so succulent and full of what I call “œprairie flavour”. We all agreed that it was in the running for first place.
Fairwinds Farm Goat Cheese Lobster Mushroom and Leek Tart was made by Cafe de Ville. I do enjoy the Cafe de Ville, but there was not any lobster, mushrooms or leeks in my tart, or Cathy’s (my guest for the evening). The goat cheese was very velvety, rich and lovely, but as my expectations were built up, it was a “œlittle” disappointing. I must be the last person in Edmonton to discover this cheese! It is a keeper. I have to find out where to buy it in Edmonton. I see from their card that they are from Ft. MacLeod. Another piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance was Spring Creek Ranch’s Natural Beef Flank Steak with a Blistered Gull Valley Tomato and Olive Relish, Heritage Greens, Fourwinds Farms Goat Cheese all on a Corn Tuile. Only Madison’s Grill at The Union Bank Inn could fit all of that into one (supposedly small) serving. It was masterful, hearty and just plain yummy. The flank steak was TEN-DER! Loved the corn tuile. YUM! Another in the running for first place.
Irving’s Farm Berkshire Pork Belly with Truffled Apple Salad by The Bothy Wine and Whiskey Bar was stellar! Is there anything better than pork belly, really? “¦and nothing is better than the pork belly from the rare and succulent Berkshire Boar. I understand the chef cooked the pork belly for over nine hours. However long, it was definitely full of tender loving care! The Turkey Tonnato by The Blue Pear was made with Arianna’s Farm Fresh Turkey with Tuna Anchovy Mayonnaise, Capers and Parsley. Arianna’s Farm Fresh Turkey are the only turkey I buy now. I have seen Andreas, her father, Â talk to them, and watched them talk back to him! She is a young student with a business. This turkey was poached to perfection and velvet to the tongue.
Greens Eggs and Ham Duck Leg Confit with Baby White Almond Potatoes on Micro Sprouts in a Basil Aioli was by the Hotel MacDonald. Every bit of that is from Greens Eggs and Ham! This was, for me, the quintessential “œTaste of Alberta” all in one perfect bite. Another one in the running for first place. Everything GH&H has is sold every Saturday morning at the City Market. Carmen Creek Bison Sliders with Red Onion Confit and Gorgonzola Cheese by Botanical, Delta Edmonton South were really, really tasty. The flavour combination was a happy surprise! This little appy was a meal unto itself.
Then there was the Mexican Chicken Pibil with a Black Bean puree accompanied by a Citrus Onion Salsa (hot, or really hot) created by Mexico Lindo and provided by Full Course Strategies. I chose the hot. The Pibil was deadly delicious. I would have liked a mild salsa, as the flavours appeared so refreshing, but I wasn’t sure as the burn took over and initiated an uninvited hot flash. Whew! Just thinking of it makes me sweat. The Suede Lounge did a spectacular plate with the Braised Alpaca with Chimichurri from the Alberta Livestock Producers Co-op.
Four Whistle Farms Lamb Koftas slathered in Eggplant with Creamy Dill Horseradish Sauce by Culina Highlands were my kind of lamb! These were TO DIE FOR. As well, they had them on platters and were serving you so you didn’t have to line up. Fun, and smart. Mo-Na Wild Mushroom Soup Shots by D’Lish Meal Assembly was a nice change of pace. The soup was intense, earthy, and luxurious; lip smacking, and I “œshot” mine back, and smacked!
Hats off to Leva with their creative floral Fresh Petal Sorbet with Black Pansy Syrup from Inspired Market Gardens. Me thinks it was an ice cream, not a sorbet, but the room had become so warm that the frozen treat was a delight. It was fun, and I think it would be one of those treats you either like, or don’t. The pansy syrup was pretty, but the flavour was lost in the cream. I need to taste that on its own! I love the idea of it.
Now I didn’t catch the name of the product that The Westin Hotel chef was showcasing. There weren’t any cards, but he showed me a bag of a flax muffin mix made by Highwood Crossing Organic Farm. The presentation, as you can see, was stunning. The muffin was dry on its own, but with the glazed apples and coulis with the sinful cream, how could it not be delish? It was. And the muffin tasted really good, and probably seemed on the dry side only because it was so dense. And, because I was parched, maybe. Thank goodness for the plentiful jugs of iced water scattered about.
Did I tell you that I am a chocoholic? Well, I am. If it is there, I must taste it. I am not the kind that has to eat, and eat, and eat, and eat chocolate. It is far too rich for that. But there is nothing better than a small amount after just about anything. Perfection. I am also quite particular about “œmy” chocolate. If I am going for the calories, they had better be worth it. Well, I have not had many of Kerstin’s Chocolates, but every one I have had is superb. This was her very generous contribution to the event, and she was also showcasing Lola Canola’s Honey. Do you see the little tongue of chocolate sticking out of the side of the dish? That was a chocolate honey concoction that was so extraordinary I found myself back at the booth asking what it was. The black current jelly under the mousse was sensational. I love cassis and chocolate.
I brought my friend Cathy to the even because I wanted to go with someone who would enjoy it as much as I, and because she does so much for me. She is in one of the candid’s below in the pretty orange top enjoying the Alley Kat Brewery Lager.
The event was so elegant, yet warm and unpretentious; I was so impressed and had such a wonderful time. As a member of Slow Food Edmonton, a ticket to Indulgence was a must. Every one of the food plates that I have pictured above was accompanied by up to three wine (or beer)Â choices to sample, as well. I don’t know how people had time to do both, but I can’t drink wine anymore. So sad. It gives me a headache, and I used to love a great glass of wine with a nice meal. I was more of a cocktail drinker in my day, anyway! I did buy some wine, though. Everything that you sampled, you could buy for 10% off that night, and also got a 10% off card for your next visit to Liquor Select!I could not resist the Pinnacle Iced Apple Cider, and the Sparkling Iced Apple Cider. I bought my first iced apple cider when I was in Montreal a couple of summers ago, and the sparking version sent me with credit card in hand to the liquor table. YUM!
Enjoy the candids that follow, and remember to buy a ticket for this event next June!
Better yet, join Slow Food Edmonton, and help plan these kind of amazing events!
Big hugs to all of the many members who worked on this committee!
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