Each year, for the past five years, St. Thomas has had its own food & beverage tasting event take place at the historic CASO station. What started as a one-night event pairing local producers with chefs has turned into a weekend-long event showcasing the best in culinary achievements from across the county. As the major fundraiser for the station restoration, supporting FreshFest means supporting the community. The event took place July 19-21, 2013.
Elgin Harvest served "Croughnuts" and also teamed up with Brad & Janine Lunn from Lunnvale Farms to present a locally-sourced, ingredient-packed sample for the tasting event held on the Friday evening. A little rain didn't stop us from celebrating a delicious night full of Mexican-Korean-Canadian-Elgin County love.
Lunnvale Farms is located just south of Belmont, Ontario. The farmers, Brad & Janine Lunn, raise sheep for milking and beef for slaughter. I've sampled their sheepsmilk gouda in a previous post (see Gougeres) but I felt the cheddar cheese would hold up better to the fermented power of my Mexican Kimchi. What is Mexican Kimchi? I think I made it up but I took inspiration from the local ingredients and culture around Aylmer (there is a large Mexican population which gives us fortunate access to Latin-influenced cuisines and ingredients), and mashed it up with my fascination with Korea's National Dish - kimchi - which are fermented vegetable condiment/side dishes.
The result: Mexican Kimchi Tacos with Braised Beef and Sheepsmilk Cheddar Cheese. Definitely a mouthful in more ways than one. Except for the mustard greens in the kimchi, the black pepper, and the dried chiles used when braising the beef, this dish was created with local ingredients.
Some of the other samples offered at FreshFest that evening:
On the Saturday evening of the FreshFest weekend, a Boardwalk Party and pie bake-off was held at the CASO Station. 10 bakers entered the contest, each submitting one pie for judging and one pie for auctioning. Because I had no desire to make a 'regular' pie and the only specification I read for the contest was to use local ingredients, I did what I do and made something I knew the judges had never had before.
Inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC's Blueberry Cookies with White Chocolate Crumble, my pie was made with a whole lotta local goodness that maybe wasn't apparent on the outside.
Blueberry & White Chocolate Cream Pie in a Homemade Honey Graham Cookie Crust
Yes, the whole thing is made from scratch and the flour, honey, eggs, milk, cream, and blueberries were all locally sourced. Because that's what I do.
No, I didn't win, but I had a fantastic weekend at FreshFest and I am looking forward to year six.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.