On the first day of fall – right in the midst of Ontario’s delicious harvest season -A� taste ? real threw their annual Field Dinner in support of local food organizations in the Guelph-Wellington area.
Currently in its 4th year, taste ? real‘s field dinner was hosted at the stunning Nassagaweya Retreat in Moffat, Ontario. Julia and Chloe from OCTA’s team were overwhelmed by the amazing scene set at this year’s dinner. Farmland, apple trees, a bounty of local food and beverage, and – at the centre – the most amazing long-table, with flowers designed by A Petal or Two. With over 200 people in attendance, it was one long table! No seat was left unfilled as guests got ready to enjoy Guelph-Wellington’s best.
Hosted by Food Network star, Chef Lynn Crawford, the afternoon started off with books (At Home with Lynn Crawford) and bubbles. Prince Edward County’s Hinterland was serving up their sparkling wine, while Perrier served up mocktails at the pre-dinner cocktail reception. There were no shortage of local drinks with some of our favourites manning the reception, like F&M Brewery, Inniskillin Winery, Pommies Dry Cider, Pondview Winery, and Wellington Brewery. After grabbing a drink (or two), we decided to try some of the tasty apps. From smoked chicken waffles (Terra et Silva) to kimchi-crostinis (Green Table Foods), everyone’s appetite got more-than-ready for the dinner ahead.
After finding our seats (right next to the folks fromA�Woolwich Dairy and the Guelph Mercury!), the procession of enticing aromas and eye-catching plates began. Each of the five decadent courses featured collaborations between local chefs and producers, along with homemade sourdough from Appetizingly Yours. The first course featured grilled polenta with Top Market Meats Pulled Rabbit and Woolwich Dairy Chevre, done by Chef Scott Yates & Chef Bobbi Miner-Neal of The Joint CafA�/Bite on Cork Street. Chef Ryan Mackay from Fifty West Restaurant & Bar Delta Guelph Hotel served arctic char with a beet pesto on a bed of arugula. Drooling yet?
Next up, The Breadalbane‘s Chef Mark Brown presented a perfectly grilled Connell Farms ribeye with Drumlin Farms vegetable bruschetta, and Chef Ken Hodgins of Enver�s of Morriston prepared a Thatcher Farms & Top Market Meats Lamb bastilla in phyllo with Strom Farms squash puree. Finally, a delight to the eyes and the mouth, was Appetizingly Yours’ olive oil cake with a tapenade of dark chocolate ganache. As you can see, it was pretty easy to ‘dig in’ to this garden of a dessert.
Throughout the dinner, Chef Lynn entertained the masses with her clever banter and passion for what Ontario – her home – has to offer. The whole night was saturated with a love of community and a love of food, with each chef and farmer highlighting their passion for our province’s terroir. It was a celebration of local flavours, where everyone involved could rediscover their relationship with food. taste ? real truly puts local food – and the people who make it – first.
This year, all proceeds from the dinner went to two amazing local programs,A�The Seed Community Food Hub Committee and Farm to Fork. The Seed Community Food Hub CommitteeA�is a collaborative initiative, supported by the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination. Its main goal is to create a community food hub to serve the people of Guelph-Wellington. The Farm To Fork project began with a simple question: in a culture that wastes nearly 40% of all food produced, how do we connect the people who have quality food to give, to those who need it most? The Farm To Fork website is part of the solution. Designed to facilitate communication between donors and emergency food service providers, the website aims to increase the quality and quantity of fresh food donated to local food banks and food pantries.
Dig in next year, and experience a real taste of community, with taste ? real
About taste ? real
taste ? real is a multi-award-winning collaborative effort between over 120 local businesses and supporters to put more local food on your plate. Launched in 2011, taste ? real began as the new branding initiative of Guelph Wellington Local Food developed to support local businesses, farms and producers who areA�passionate about the way local food is grown, prepared, presented and enjoyed, and how real it tastes!