Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dressed to Impress at Turnbull & Stewart

Last Saturday afternoon I experienced the latest Savour Stratford tasting session: Wine and Winter Dressings.

The venue was the brand new demonstration kitchen at Turnbull & Stewart (located at 439 Erie Street in Stratford). Some readers may recall the last fateful blog mission I undertook at this paradise for kitchen supply - I met a food-loving cousin I never even knew I had when I attended Angelo Tramonti's olive oil information session. Ever since I have religiously returned to T&S to reload on his Sarafino Foods' extra virgin L'Ottobratico,  produced by the olive oil company that's run by our shared relatives in San Giorgio, Italy.

This time, I was attending a tasting session being led by another entrepreneur specializing in oils. But this stuff wasn't bottled in Italy - it was bottled in Listowel!

Chef Mark Filman of Feige's Fine Dining in Listowel always knew his family's homemade salad dressings were world class. They probably heard it a million times at the restaurant: 

"This stuff's so good, you should bottle it and sell it in stores!" 

So, they did.

Chef Mark came to break-in Turnbull & Stewart's brand new demonstration kitchen (featuring a state-of-the-art Thermidor induction cook-top) by expertly cooking a series of three meat dishes using his Feige's Gourmet Salad Dressings (above) as marinades.

While we were tasting Chef Mark's well-dressed creations everyone also got to sip samples of four different types of VQA wine from 13th Street Winery in the Niagara region of Ontario (above). Two of the bottles - the 'Noirs' and the 'Gamay' - were so good I think I may just have discovered my new favourite local source for gorgeous red wine.

Chef Filman used the induction burner and magnetically-charged pans to sear all of the meats at a high heat, then sent them all into the oven for varying lengths of time.

They all came out perfectly, and the flavour combinations that emerged from his pairings of meat and Feige's dressings were creative and unique, but also very right. Pork loin was marinaded in Feige's Raspberry Dressing, and the fruity complement to the perfectly cooked pork was reminiscent (but better) than pork chops and apple sauce. Chef cooked and served up some tender, moist chicken breasts marinaded in his Honey Mustard & Poppy Seed Dressing. And the medium rare rack of lamb? Marinaded in the simple but superb Oil & Vinegar Dressing.

We even got to try a Caesar salad prepared using Feige's German Caesar Dressing. When I asked Chef Mark what made this sweet, creamy dressing "German", he immediately admitted, "My wife!"

Last time I came to Turnbull & Stewart's I met my cousin. This time I met a talented local photographer who enjoys taking pictures of food and people as much as I enjoy writing about them. Sean from Lucid Musings Photo is a really talented person who is even better at shooting family and personal portraits than he is taking pics of food (check out his Facebook page to see even more of his stuff). Which you know is saying a lot after you check out the photo-montage he put together from the shots he took at Turnbull & Stewart during that delicious afternoon of wines and winter dressings:

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