My friends keep asking how do I know about stuff happening? I now always answer: Twitter. Since I joined Twitter, I have ‘met’ some great people and one in particular I have been able to meet in person. He is Joel Solish (@foodie411).
About a year ago, Joel decided to eat more locally and I have loved following his tweets about food, sustainability and where to eat in Toronto (and am usually jealous!). Joel and partner @gilltrish want to create “a food-secure Province, County, and world, where the practices of producers and businesses we choose to support are in line with [their] personal levels of comfort, and desire to affect change”. In effect, this is about being local and making a real connection to the food and the people who make it.
The inaugural event was an “Olde Hunters Feast” at Beast Restaurant (@beastrestaurant). 7 courses, 7 wines, 6 chefs all to do with wild boar. Before I tell of the amazing experience, know this: I was still full into the next morning.
Course I: Charcuterie and Reif Estate Chenin Blanc. Each chef was asked to create an item for the plate. We had pate in bacon, spreads and overall goodness. My favourite was from Chef Jason Bangertner (Luma and Canteen, @chefbangertner). His was dark brown in colour, crunched with pistachio and mustard, while being sweet from beer.
Course II: Guinea Hen and Wild Boar face Tortière, with Elderberry house ketchup, shaved fennel salad and foie gras from our host chef Scott Vivian (Beast restaurant). To drink, Fielding Estates 2008 Jack Rabbit Flats Pinot Noir (@fieldingwinery). The rendered fat was the consistency and sweetness of sugar and WineGuyTO and I shared the pie. Great consistency in the filling and the pastry was so flaky which it should be considering it was made with fat.
Course III: Chupe de Chorizo by Chef Rossy Earle (@pancancooks). This dish is a Latin American stew, where she used wild boar chorizo with Yukon Gold potatoes and chick peas immersed in cococut, fire roasted tomatoes and charred red pepper broth. There was also sofrito criollo, salsa de fuego, wild boar chicharrón and homemade sour cream. I loved the crunchy bits on top and the subtle spice of the broth. A 2008 Lailey Vineyard Syrah went nicely with the stew. Its colour was a beautiful clear raspberry.
Course IV: A hand minced game sausage “en crepenette”, a mouseline guinea hen with smoked boar belly, braised cabbage and grain mustard from Jason Bangertner. As much as I loved his charcuterie, this was the least favourite of the courses for me. I wasn’t into the mousse, but the sausage was good. The 2027 Winery 2008 Riesling was a treat. Its colour was almost clear, with light notes and not too sweet. Will have to look for this one at the LCBO.
Course V: Steve Wilson from the Summit Golf and Country Club created Harvest Gold Mead Braised Wild Boar Shoulder “Dirty Hush Puppies” with carmalized onions and thyme infused honey drizzle, with sides of southern greens, smoked boar bits and buttermilk mashed potatoes. What was great about this was that the honey and mead used from Rosewood Winery (@rosewoodwine), which was also the paired wine, a 2008 Chardonnay Reserve. I will admit that by this point I wondered why I hadn’t worn sweatpants, because we were getting full!
Course VI: This was creative! Tom Davis of The Stockyards (@thestockyards) (which has been raved about on Twitter) made carbonara noodles out of the wild boar! This was topped by crackling crusted deep fried quail egg (which I ate! Mine was all yolk, yum!) and then on top of a buttermilk biscuit was Southern Fried Quail with wild boar and smoked apple sausage gravy. I really wanted to eat more it was so good, but I wasn’t sure if I could move. Our Rosehall Run (@rosehall_run) 2007 Cabernet Franc, with its spicyness, matched perfectly.
Course VII: Now dessert. Rachelle Vivian, the Pastry Chef at Beast, made the perfect ‘Timbet’: a doughnut rolled in wild boar bacon and sugar, filled with maple curd. I could have eaten the entire plate they were soooo sweet and rich. Unfortunately (for me) the last wine was a port, which I am not particular too. The Karlo Estates Van Alstine 2008 (port style) made the port drinkers happy and I did try it, it was light and fruity but I just wasn’t into it.
My hats off to Joel and Gill. The mix of people, the food, the venue were all superb. I can’t wait for the future events.
You can also find Living.Loving.Local on Facebook. Joel’s website is communityfoodist