Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Report from ... Chateau des Charmes Farm-to-Table Experience with Chef Tony DeLuca – July 20, 2008

With the notion of the 100-mile menu (know-where-your-food comes-from) firmly entrenched in our consciousness, Chateau-des-Charmes brings us the Farm to Table series with celebrity chefs from around Niagara (Stephen Treadwell, Tony DeLuca and Michael & Anna Olson). Tonight, Tony DeLuca took center stage with farm partner for the evening Beth Smith, from Ridge Meadow Farms. Tony talked about his food creations, using Beth’s freshly grown and very recently picked (like that morning) ingredients … Beth introduced us to her farm, her family history, and the organic veggies she and her husband are growing at Ridege Meadow. Their talks centered on the diversity of flavours in the region and warned against “monoculture” as it pertains to food; Tony referenced the Irish potato famine, as it pertained to the issue, Beth nodded her ascent. Heirloom tomatoes, coloured carrots, arugula and more were on the menu for out tastebuds to try this evening.

The event started with Michele Bosc taking us on a vineyard tour of our celebrity grape of the evening: Gewurztraminer. Then it was back to our starting point, the VIP lounge upstairs, where Tony and Beth gave their between course talks, before the food was served – they talked about the food and magically the food arrived. Tony spoke about an “embarrassment of riches” from which he got to pick his ingredients on a regular basis; Beth talked about all the farms in the area (with specific reference to her own of course) and how the demand from the area is so great that they have not had enough produce to start up their store, though it is in the works. Tony made the most interesting comment of the evening when he said “what we are experiencing tonight is the new fast food – from the ground to the table as fast as possible.” What a great way to describe these delicacies he had prepared.

First course consisted of: tomatoes, arugula, scallops and cheese.
Second course: zucchini blossoms, goat cheese and lamb
All paired with the 2006 Gewurztraminer.

The next farm to table is with Michael & Anna Olson on August 10 and is sold out; but there are still tickets for the 3-in-1 evening, where all three (four really) chefs put their collective expertise together to create the Harvest Feast, September 21. See the Chateau des Charmes website for details.

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