Terra Madre Day 2013 – Slow Food Thompson Okanagan

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Mother Earth was smiling last evening. Since 2009, Terra Madre Day is held on December 10 to mark Slow Food’s anniversary. Food communities around the world highlight eating locally and sustainable local food production and honour that through a dedicated event or action. For Slow Food Thompson Okanagan it was an opportunity to do a little fundraising for the Convivium and celebrate the principles of Slow Food.

Talented chefs and their affiliated companies stepped up to the plate and volunteered extensive hours in sweat equity and creativity to draw like-minded diners to snag a place at the long communal table at Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek for an amazing feast.

It was hosted by Chef Jeff Van Geest, sharing the kitchen and volunteer duties with a group of gifted chefs, and all seven pillars of the Terra Madre initiative were achieved, including:

  • · Access to good, clean and fair food
  • · Agricultural and food biodiversity
  • · Small-scale food production
  • · Food sovereignty
  • · Language, culture and traditional knowledge
  • · Environmentally responsible food production
  • · Fair and sustainable trade

The joy that comes from working together and spending time with inspired individuals poured forth from the kitchen and on to our plates. The camaraderie at the long table reverberated to those stunning rafters and added another challenge for the chefs – being heard when they were asked to come out and tell us about the dish. Even some of the heartfelt passages from Alice Waters’ book The Art of Simple Food had to be imagined rather than read. No worries though: Alice is smiling along with Mother Earth.

IMG_5051Ingrid Jarrett, Convivium leader of Slow Food Thompson Okanagan and Chef Jeff Van Geest lay the context for the special Terra Madre Day celebration.

Terra Madre Day Slow Food Dinner

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IMG_5050Oh, yes, we broke beautiful bread together as well!

IMG_5057Covert Farms red and yellow beets, BC Farmstead Parmesan, hazelnut, mustard greens, petit Clos Farms black currents & basil: Brock BowesSonora Room at Burrowing Owl Winery

I haven’t been to the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Winery Estate Winery since Chef Bowes arrived spring 2013. This elegant dish was a symphony of intense and distinct flavours so when the restaurant reopens for the 2014 season, count me in! It’ll also be a good chance to check how Tom Di Bello is settling in as new winemaker. By the way, if you haven’t tasted Tom and Tari’s own line Di Bello Wines put that on your list, too.

IMG_5063Okanagan’s Finest Angus beef neck tortellini, smoked parsnip and apple puree, foraged mushrooms: Chris VanhooydonkArtisan Culinary Concepts

If this dish looks a bit erotic to you, let me tell you it was as satisfying as it looks! If this dish was around in time for Kim Bassinger’s big scene in 9 ½ Weeks, it might have been used instead of strawberries.

IMG_5070Spit roasted Okanagan Falls heritage breed goat, Roasted fennel with saffron & dried grapes: Dana Ewart & Cameron SmithJoy Road Catering

What more can I say about Cam and Dana’s cuisine? If you haven’t tasted their fare at the Penticton Farmers Market nor at one of their legendary dinners, you’re reading the wrong blog! Call me a groupie, I’ll carry their road gear any day for a chance to partake again and again. Who but our beloved Dana would slam on the brakes at a sign saying “goat for sale” and work through the entire process to share the whole beast? The roasted goat proved a tad tough – I guess that’s why I’ve usually found it in stews. That said, it didn’t get in the way of the artful seasoning or accompaniments. As for the fennel, the best ever!

IMG_5071With Sides including goat sausage, goat crepinette and old-fashioned cabbage with Covert Farms vegetables: Derek UhlemannCovert Farms

Farm Chef extraordinaire, Derek works with Dana to transform goat into melting morsels. He elevates the most humble of vegetables to heavenly status. I’m a professional when it comes to eating capacity but did I just see Mark dig in for another sausage and more vegetables this deep into the meal?

IMG_5072Local heirloom squash risotto, sage roasted acorn squash cubes, crispy garden sage, 10 year old aged balsamic, asiago petals: Natasha SchootenTerrafina at Hester Creek Winery

There’s risotto and then there’s Natasha’s risotto. Why did I not get the memo doggie bags were allowed? The devil is in the detail and I’d have even raided the plates for that crispy sage.

IMG_5087Fresh cheese made with Gort’s grass fed cow’s milk, Quince poached in Okanagan Spirits’ Sea Buckthorn Liqueur, chestnuts & Similkameen honey: Jeff Van GeestMiradoro at Tinhorn Creek Winery

Even as a professional eater, I’m stuffed at this stage. Then Jeff presents this delicate aria lifting simple elements to an elaborate elixir. He does so paying homage to a B.C. cheese farm that could use a boost after a tough autumn. Did I mention the seven pillars of Terra Madre?

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With a long drive home, we hit the road quickly. As you can see, the enchantment of this room was hard to leave!

While a complete wine pairing was available we choose the delectable Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc to enjoy with the meal. Smart move.

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Postscript: Ever wonder how chefs feed themselves when they’ve been slaving for days preparing a feast for the community?

These chefs let their food speak first so I left some of the photographs of them until last. You can see it’s not just Mother Earth and Alice Waters smiling.

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About rozsmallfry

Live. Learn. Write. I’m the behind the lenses, author of the words kind of person. In classic drama or opera or the Robertson Davies’ book of the same title, I’d be the player called Fifth Business. Fifth Business is neither heroine nor villain yet instrumental in making the plot happen. I’d far rather learn about you than talk about myself and building relationships is at the core of who I am. The more I learn, the more I realize I have lots to learn. When I was a child one of my nicknames was Small Fry. Now I understand. I really am a small fry in a great big world of learning.
This entry was posted in BC Wineries, Culinary supplies, Food, Joy, Learning, Lifestyle, Restaurants and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Terra Madre Day 2013 – Slow Food Thompson Okanagan

  1. bellini says:

    This was a not to be missed event Roz, but sadly I did miss it. There is always next year! In the meantime your commentary had me salivating until then.

    • rozsmallfry says:

      And what would you think an outstanding meal like this would set you back? What I failed to mention that this was offered for $30 with $5 of it going to the Slow Food Thompson Okanagan Convivium! Such an amazing deal was only possible through all of the chefs, their teams and home organizations. So gracious for Manny Ferreira, restaurateur of Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek to welcome us. He and the team serving us were amazing! Oh, yes, when our Slow Food Thompson Okanagan Convivium members put on another of these I will be first in line!

  2. Hi Roz, I have just started a Okanagan bloggers community on Google + if you are interested in joining in, and if you know of any other OK bloggers please pass the word on.

    Thanks Jen

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