Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Monday, April 26, 2010

Foraging with Slow Food Perth County

As a new foodie in Stratford, I was immediately advised to join the Perth County 'Convivium' for Slow Food. Yesterday, while taking part in the Slow Food foraging workshop, I experienced the essence of that movement: there is perhaps no food more "good, clean and fair" than that which we find in nature. In Perth County, some of the most sought after gourmet ingredients are found right under our feet!
Peter Blush [above] is an expert forager who was kind enough to show the lucky participants some of the spots where he collects morel mushrooms, the tender shoots of the ostrich fern known as 'fiddleheads', and the seasonal delicacy wild leeks. 'Lucky' because, as one forager commented, Peter didn't even make us wear blindfolds while leading us to the productive locales! It is a rare opportunity to be told exactly where to find morels. I have a feeling in a couple of weeks I might be bumping into some of my fellow foragers in the bush as we try and retrace the steps that lead to the fruitful morel and fiddlehead spots Peter pointed out to us.
The great morning we spent tromping around the countryside culminated with a stellar lunch showcasing foraged ingredients, created especially for us by none other than Chef Chris Woolf from Woolfy's at Wildwood restaurant, who was also a knowledgeable participant in the workshop. His wife Mary presented us with a wild leek and potato soup tinged slightly green by the wild leek tops. The strong flavour of the wild leeks was harnessed skillfully by Chef Woolf, who clearly knows as much about cooking with these unique ingredients as Peter knows about finding them. A gorgeous, moist fillet of arctic char followed, garnished with several whimsical fiddlehead spirals and drizzled with a splendid wild leek pesto [below] that motivated us all to find more of these ingredients ourselves. The dessert was a creamy-sweet maple mousse made from syrup that appropriately came from nearby McCully's Hill Farm, where our adventure had earlier begun.
All of us who participated in the workshop are indebted to Peter for sharing with us his secret foraging spots and to Chef Woolf for showcasing the local tastes of spring with such a dazzling array of dishes. I will see you all in the bush in the upcoming weeks, and remember: if you bring anyone else along make sure they're blindfolded!

1 comment:

  1. Makes me feel grateful to live in such a place as Stratford. It felt good to tromp in the rainy mud and get a little messy!