Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Perth County Represents at the Slow Food Toronto Brickworks Picnic

It took me all week to come down from my first ever Culinary Week & Savour Stratford experience. But I fired up the blogmobile again on Sunday, October 3rd and headed on down to the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto to volunteer at the Toronto Slow Food Picnic. If you want to come next year I have a hint: by volunteering a few hours for morning set-up (during which time you meet all sorts of interesting food-minded folks), you get free entry to the picnic (which is pretty sweet considering admission was over a hundred dollars for Slow Food members!).

How fortunate that my volunteer shift ended exactly when this Ontario mega-tasting began! I was like a kid in a candy store - all of the Ontario counties within the vicinity of Toronto were represented by sustainable producers who were often matched with many of the best Toronto chefs and restaurants. 

It was difficult to keep track of so many amazing offerings (especially with all the VQA wine and craft brewed beer), but I distinctly recall the sumptuous wild boar risotto served in seasonably-clever mini gourds (photo above).

For the whole afternoon, the Perth/Stratford section was one of the busiest areas in the vast Brickworks.

My Perth County Slow Food sister-in-food Yva Santini (of Pazzo's Ristorante & Pizzeria) wowed the crowd with some dazzling Soiled Reputations romanesco and a blue potato gnocchi.
Ingrid deMartines of Perth Pork Products approved of the Berkshire & pork liver charcuterie put together by the team from Quince Restaurant in Toronto.
Paul Finkelstein (the Culinary Arts teacher whose work with Stratford Northwestern Secondary School's Screaming Avocado Cafe was the subject of the Food Network Show Fink), is the National Slow Food Youth Chairperson. He was working with one of the most unique ingredients on-hand at this celebration of good, clean and fair food - Saskatoon berries from August's Harvest farm. He hand-torched some creamy ricotta-stuffed crepes (photo above) with Saskatoon berry pinnacles, which were quickly gobbled up by the impressed urbanites.

Ruth Klahsen, the owner operator of Monforte Dairy, was also in the house. She had been paired with Toronto hot spot Table 17, whose chef challenged our idea of cheesecake with a creative pound cake with grated Monforte Toscano topped with a ground cherry (photo above).
I am a proud, card-carrying member of Slow Food, and it was really great to see how the  Toronto organization linked the big city folk with the sustainable producers that surround Canada's largest urban centre.
The Slow Food Perth County Sunday market is continuing at its Monforte Dairy location until October 24th, 2010.  Based on the fundraising success achieved at our inaugural market season, our Slow Food convivium is sending a few of our members this month to the mother of all Slow Food events - the Terra Madre convention in Italy! When our delegates return, it will be right in time for the November 7th kick-off of our Sunday market's new winter location in the hip basement space below Anything Grows - our own little version of the Brickworks!

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