Guess What Was Missing? (A Tomato Tasting!)
After Slow Food Edmonton’s amazing Canning Bee, Maria and I zoomed over to The Tomato Fare at Salisbury Greenhouse. Yes, we missed the incredible pygogie dinner celebrating the end of a great day of canning at St. Josephat’s, but I believe the tomato is the perfect food. I am a tomato fan: a tomato afficianado. I adore tomatoes and if I had to pick only one food to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it! So, The Tomato Fare, it was.
I heard about it first, last year, through Twyla’s blog, and she tweeted a reminder this year.
Let it be said: I was really looking forward to this event. What would you think one of the most basic elements of a Tomato Fare would be?
Food, yes. But, I mean even more basic. Fundamental. What do you think it would be? Think about it a bit.
We arrived to warm welcomes and friendly faces at Salisbury and walked into a sauna teeming with people.
A Blue Flame Kitchen cooking demonstration was happening on the stage that was filled to capacity. It looked like a great demonstration… but the heat was almost incapacitating. The room was a square, with the stage at one end, two other sides lined with food booths, the middle with tables and chairs, and the entrance side had the wine and beer booths.
There was one booth selling lovely fresh tomatoes.
Can you think of what else you might have expected? That fundamental happening at a tomato fare? What would you expect to be at a celebration of summer harvest tomatoes?
Last year, participants were handed a menu. This year, food items were posted on huge (not very attractive or “tomatoey”) posters atop each booth. It was nice to see a variety of our local brews. That is definitely something Edmonton is very good at!
The Blue Fame Kitchen Stage and Display Tables were great. They are a consumer oriented group: great timely handouts and very eager and engaging people.
We could eat or watch the Blue Flame demonstration. It was full. All of the eating tables were full. The room was jam packed. It was 4:30. The event started at 4.Clearly, organizers had underestimated the interest in this event. It was packed!
People were walking by with this amazing looking salad so we followed our nose…
What a lovely booth with lovely produce for sale, and a very tasty salad. So tasty, that I asked for the recipe. The dressing was unforgettable and “new”. The flavours in the salad were so fresh and so perfect for this time of year. Not only a bow to our lovely tomato harverst,Â but lmost every garden vegetable made an appearance, finely chopped and piled on a gorgeous flavourful tomato slice. What was in the dressing? Hmmm? The gal told me she would send me the recipe if I wrote her for it. I did. She did. It was the black currant juice in the dressing! Really, really yummy! Tomorrow I am posting the salad and the recipe!
I was completely enamoured with Cafe Haven’s gusto! Their retro Tomato Soup Cupcake was scrump=dilly-ishious and definitely gave way to many more fresh tomato cupcake and muffiny ideas! I love savoury and sweet.
The savoury tomato bread pudding was really creative, a variety of textures and flavours all bathed in deep rich tomato flavours. I cannot wait to try this at home.
D’lish served up a wonderful soup. Swimming though the humidity to get there, I still ordered a bowl knowing I had to experience the wonders of the dish I heard everyone raving about. “The tomato soup is the best thing here!” Very worth it. Not a great experience in the suffocating heat, but definitely one of the best tomato soups I have ever eaten, and I make a pretty mean one, myself!
I can still lick my lips recalling the flavour of this soup.
There were other venues and more food. Nothing that was very appealing or innovative to me, except for the lovely ladies serving up Fried Green Tomatoes! That would be a dish to hope for at an event celebrating tomatoes! And the gals were charming! I will definitely make these, but hot!
They were rightfully proud of the tasty creamy sauce to accompany the fried green tomatoes, and their tomato tree!
It was fun to see herbs being sold for two food tickets: a great midsummer price!
And finally, Barr Estate Winery joined the fray.
After tasting a few “tomatoey” dishes, Maria and I sat down to take in the Blue Flame Kitchen demonstration (mainly to get a sample of what they were making).
I sat uncomfortably for a minute. The gal presenting was delightful! Maria was sweltering. I was more clammy than a clam.
I looked at her. She looked at me. We raised our brows together, got up in unison and left.
Ah!!! Fresh air! Whoo-hoo! What a feeling!
We had been inside for less than an hour. The Edmonton Regional Tourism Group made a huge effort with mega money invested in gorgeous print material. It is a great concept and was clearly market very well to have such a crowd just 30 minutes after opening. But, somebody erred on two fronts.
First: why was this inside without any air ventilation on such a hot day? Why was it inside at all?
Second: There was a fundamental aspect of what should be the focus of any tomato fair missing. Can you now figure out what it was? I will be back in 48 hours with my answer to this idea and we will see if you agree with me. I would definitely like to hear your ideas, first, and I believe the Edmonton Regional Tourism Group would, too.
This is a brilliant concept. Let’s celebrate the tomato and our beautiful country mid-summertime harvest! Let’s have a summer event outdoors with an indoor back up plan… and, you absolutely must…. (what is it?)
This time there is a prize to a local participant: One jar of my homemade tomato sauce hand delivered to your door! To non-local participants, I will mail you a jar. Yest, I will. But, I am a blogger and a home cook. So, you are winning a homemade product.
You don’t have to agree with my idea, or share it. You just have to guess what it is.
Closed 5 pm Mountain Standard time Wednesday, August 24, 2011.
Prize Disclaimer: I have to make the sauce, first. It will be posted or delivered before September 29, 2011.