Ontario is home to two of the three largest wine-producing regions in Canada, those being the Niagara Peninsula and Essex County (including Pelee Island). On September 24, 2015, Torontonicity was invited to enjoy a Thanksgiving menu prepared by celebrity chef Lynn Crawford, paired with local wines from Ontario winemakers and food sampling from Ontario food artisans. The LCBO event at The Burroughes on Queen Street West, was also hosted by Wine Country Ontario.
Ontarians are truly blessed to have these fertile regions within their boundaries and Chef Lynn Crawford enthusiastically promotes Ontario’s bounty.
We began the afternoon with an introduction by Lynn Crawford of the many types of fruits and vegetables that have recently been harvested in Ontario, and a preview of the dishes and wines we were going to be tasting.
Crawford raved about salt-baked pears. She advised that baking pears in salt helps to keep the moisture and flavour in. We tried her Salt-Baked Pear Salad with Aged Cheddar and British Pickle. What a delight for the taste buds! The sweetness of the pears complemented the tartness of the cheddar and dried cranberries while the blend of crunchy, crispy and soft textures was exciting. The pear salad was paired with Sandbanks Winery’s Summer White, an off-dry and fruity white available at the LCBO for $14.95 (LCBO #414748).
Catherine Langlois, co-owner of Sandbanks Winery in Prince Edward County, discusses her Summer White wine.
Chef Lynn Crawford’s Pork Rib Roast with Prosciutto and Apricot-Vanilla Jam was a wonderful option for those not having turkey on Thanksgiving. Her roast was accompanied by a melt-in-your-mouth Ham Hock, Apple & Sauerkraut Bread Pudding that I couldn’t get enough of. Salty and sweet, chewy and soft, this dish was a definite star of Lynn Crawford’s menu.
The pork rib roast was paired with Cave Spring Riesling Dry VQA, a light and crisp Riesling, which is $14.95 at the LCBO (LCBO #233635).
Chateau des Charmes’ ice wine, which is available at the LCBO in November for $23.99 (200 ml) was paired with Chef Crawford’s Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Orange Topping. Crawford’s pumpkin cheesecake was smooth-textured and not too sweet and tantalized the taste buds with the sweet cranberry-orange sauce. The cheesecake was placed in cute take-home jars, but from what I could see, nobody was saving this magnificent cheesecake for later.
Before and after the sit-down media tasting, we were able to visit several of the wine and food artisans who had set up booths in the room.
I sampled the Pickerel Sushi prepared by Chef Sebastien Schwab of Sebastien Cuisine in Bloomfield, Prince Edward County. The fish was so fresh and the flavours blended fragrantly, resulting in a satisfying hors d’oeuvre.
The winemaker from Pelee Island Winery was on hand to showcase Traminer Muscat VQA, an aromatic and flavourful white, $13.95 at the LCBO (LCBO #411744). Also displayed (but not shown) was Pelee Island Winery’s Baco Noir VQA, a full-bodied and firm red, $14.95 at the LCBO (LCBO #414508).
Chateau des Charmes showcased their light-bodied and fruity 2013 Gamay Noir, VQA, $13.95 at the LCBO (LCBO #57349).
Ever tried a squash tart? This pastry was prepared by Vintage Hotels, Niagara-on-the-Lake. I’ve discovered a new way to use squash and I love it.
Inniskillin Wines presented their Riesling-Pinot Grigio VQA, a light and crisp white, which is $13.95 at the LCBO (LCBO #145458).
What a fabulous afternoon tasting Chef Lynn Crawford’s creations from the fall harvest of Ontario, paired with some of the finest offerings from local wineries. Thank you to all of ht wine and food vendors who were on hand to share their products. The event really made me appreciate the rich bounty of agriculture and wine that we have available to us in Ontario.