A selection Elgin Harvest Preserves and Shortbread Cookies
How could you not want to eat this?
Day #15 is here and we have come to the end of our 15 Days of Elgin Christmas. As a chef who tries to make as much from scratch as possible, AND use as much locally sourced products as possible, I genuinely hope the past three weeks have inspired you to spend just 10% of your holiday budget on local, artisanal food products.
I left Elgin County after finishing high school, like many people do, in order to taste the world and explore new ideas. From bagel shops and 90 hour work weeks to French chefs and 90 cover seatings, I have had the privilege of eating and training with some incredibly passionate food & drink loving people. I have learned something from each and every one of them. One amazing quality that they all possess- they all love to share what they have created, tasted, grown, smelled, seen, touched, heard and wondered.
All over the world, rituals and dishes revolve around food and are often times regionally specific. Cheese and wine are the first things that come to mind. You can't make Champagne unless the specific grapes were grown in the Champagne region of France and true Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese must come from specific provinces in Italy. Not only is it important where the food is produced, it's also important how. Across each parcel of land in this world, the soils differ. The winds differ, the growers experiences differ, the customs differ, and the breed of animal and how it was fed and treated differs. All of these variables mean the food that was grown or produced will differ, especially in taste, aroma and quality.
In Elgin County, we have many wonderful commodities that should be celebrated and enjoyed with friends and families. Right in our very own backyards, our neighbours are producing some of the best food and drink in Southern Ontario, yet it's not enjoyed here because there isn't a demand so it gets shipped 200 km away where it is cherished and devoured under big city lights.
I came back to this area because I grew up loving the idea and practice of riding my bike a few kilometers to go pick my own strawberries. And unless my mother froze or canned some, we didn't have berries again until the following spring. I loved going to the roadside stands to get fresh peas and going to the lake to get fresh yellow perch. Not only was/am I getting treated to delicious, healthy and safe food, I'm also supporting someone's livelihood. Buying from a local farmer not only puts food on my table in the literal sense, it puts food on the farmers' table as well. We have so much to offer here in Elgin County, and I want to share it with you. Cheers!
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.