August 9th, 2010
I've been raving about Ontario food and wine all summer so was thrilled to get an invite to a four-course liquid lunch from the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers (www.ontariotenderfruit.com). Wine before noon? I'm always in.
A bunch of hungry editors gathered at La Guilde Culinaire to eat a four-course meal cooked by Chef Mark Picone (www.chefmarkpicone.com) who runs a culinary studio in Vineland, Ont. Besides the amazing nosh, we were all impressed by his flawless français (not that I would notice if there was a flaw).
To start, spicy-sweet Nectarine salad with chilies:
Next, to-die-for risotto with lemon-infused scallops and morcels of fresh peaches paired with Riesling from Tawse winery (Chef Picone Tip: When cooking Risotto leave some liquid in the pan so that by the time it reaches your table, perfecto!)
Breast of chicken with peaches and brie wrapped in basil, paired with Tawse's 2007 Pinot Noir (a great year for Niagara wines!)
Finally, buttery crepes with caramelized peaches and 2008 Stratus Riesling Icewine:
One nameless guest asked me to delete any photo in which he appeared. International spy or critic on the lam? I never found out. Nonetheless it's lovely being surrounded by smart foodies - To my left was Lonely Planet Editor Tim Hornyak, and across was La Presse food critic Robert Beauchemin who considers Montreal "the best food destination in all of the North America". His top resto picks are Vinizza for pizza, lunch at Auberge Le St. Gabriel and Graziella for dinner.
Me (a little less light on my feet) and Chef Picone in the massive Guilde kitchen
Swag bags filled with Niagara goodies like peach jam, Megalomaniac rosé wine and Niagara Gold Cheese