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.
Terra Madre Day Slow Food Dinner
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.