Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Delicious Stratford Stroll

Yesterday I had the pleasure of leading a group of over twenty food lovin' folks on a tasting tour of six of Stratford's most popular restaurants. The Delicious Stratford Debut Stroll served two main purposes: to raise money for the Community Hot Meal program [see my previous post] and to launch the Delicious Stratford fixed-price menu promotion taking place at many of the town's restaurants throughout May and June [see post of my own early preview at Down the Street]. Secondary purposes included: drinking Ontario wine and eating amazing food all afternoon with loads of fun fellow-appreciators of the Stratford food scene!

I greeted my group at City Hall and handed-out the schwag-bags that all participants received. My followers had a little extra prezzie from the Local-Come-Lately in their bags: enjoy the fiddleheads and wild leeks my friends!

Then it was time for the stroll! We sauntered over to our first destination: The Parlour. There we were each poured a blessedly-frosty glass of Buzz Red Hemp Ale from Cool Brewery in Toronto. An equally-frosty shot glass arrived containing a spicy chilled gazpacho with lime and coriander sorbet. We then had a taste of a smoky pork belly confit served over a spoonful of creamy polenta and pickled fennel. We all agreed: if the rest of the tour was to be as good as this first stop we were in for a tasty day!
Next stop: Down The Street [see menu board above]. Owner Susan Dunfield greeted the group most convivially with a glass of Malvoire Guilty Men, accompanied by one of the culinary highlights of the tour: five spice Berkshire Pork from nearby deMartines' farm served over a crispy thyme potato rosti with apple cider cream sauce. The group concurred: Wow!

Pazzo Ristorante Bar and Pizzeria next: Owner Larry McCabe treated us to a glass of Cave Springs Dolomite Riesling (available only in restaurants) paired nicely with an artichoke-riccotta puff pastry and a pork rillette. We're coming back for jazz during Stratford Summer Music!
Next, over to the Church Restaurant and Belfry (for my first time!). Here we received the dish that was the unanimous standout of the tour: a dessert interpretation of "Stratford in Springtime" [see photo above], in the form of an edible garden composed of sorrel ice cream, coconut snow, and salted caramel 'stones' that crackled with pop-rocks when you put them in your mouth! As a gardening freak, I loved that one before I even tasted it!

It was to Foster's Inn next for my group (who were all getting slightly tipsy after four or five drink samples!). Here we were treated with an absolutely delicious baked potato, along with a fruit smoothie that they serve as part of their popular breakfasts. And more wine of course, this time from Harbour Estates, which we took along as we toured the  beautiful, high-ceiling rooms upstairs!

Finally, our experience culminated at The Sun Room Restaurant where owner Carly Flanagan showed off her hip new decor while presenting us with a really nice sweet potato crepe filled with smoked local trout accompanied by a glass of Flat Rock Twisted Chardonnay. What a great way to end a day of eating seasonal, local food, drinking outstanding Ontario wines, and making new friends!

The event couldn't have been more of a success. Everyone was a winner yesterday: the tickets sold out completely, which means we raised enough funds for the Community Hot Meals program to operate for two years! The six participating restaurants - who need to be thanked for donating all of the food and beverages for the event! - were able to showcase their Delicious Stratford menus to the foodie community. And the participants... we all had an amazing afternoon sampling the exceptional dishes that will be on offer at incredible values for the next two months during Delicious Stratford. 

What a day!

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely loved this event, the wine, the company and the samples...!So well done!