Chuck Kuepfer, Spin Cycle
You know you’re in for the eating experience of a lifetime when lunch begins with a melon sorbet topped with a strip of bacon.
It’s a quirky combination, but in the kitchen of unlimited imagination it works.
And creativity is definitely what Taste Local! Taste Fresh! is all about.
The eating extravaganza takes local food to new and exotic heights thanks to the expertise of adventurous chefs.
Who knew grilled cheese sandwiches taste twice as good when made with Brie and dipped in squash ketchup?
That apple fritters can be served with salted caramel and maple candied bacon?
That roasted carrot stuffed rabbit “pops” served on a stick taste, with apologies to our family’s pet rabbit Nacho, delightful?
The event is a day when gourmet food and gluttony go hand and hand, but it’s much more about spreading the gospel of local food than expanding our waistlines. It is a salacious, savoury celebration of products grown and raised close to home, of the quality and diversity of food available in the area.
There was locally raised, hormone-free beef served on homemade rolls with crisp cabbage slaw. Locally tapped maple syrup drizzled over a smoked turkey pancake. And slow-roasted pork belly on Lefse (Scandinavian flat bread) with local yogurt golden beets, fresh herbs and chicharron (crispy pig skin). Pure ecstasy as far as stomachs are concerned.
For such celebratory fare, perhaps over indulgence can be tolerated for a single day, as it is on other special occasions throughout the year.
For sure, when it comes to buying local and buying fresh, we have plenty of reasons to celebrate and a cornucopia of options.
Sure, if you want bananas, oranges and coffee, 100-mile diet fundamentalists are out of luck. But for everyone else, our plates and palates can benefit from the complement local food brings our meal plans.
Thankfully, Foodlink Waterloo Region has done a bang-up job making the connection between consumers and farmers, also bringing local chefs, caterers and restaurants to the table in an effort to educate the public and promote a healthy food system.
And we can all eat to that.