Tuesday, March 27, 2012

community of food

In the past few months, I've had the pleasure to attend several food related community events. We really do have mad love for all things food here in Hali and I revel in it. What a perfect environment to open a lil' resto-cafe.

Back in the winter I  joined twitter and I can't say enough about how great it is for staying in the loop - whatever that loop is for you- and for me it's all food all the time. Without the twitter (which I have come to affectionately call it) there is no way I would have, first of all, followed the blog Food Je T'aimme and then, found out about the EatWild Project community potluck back in January. The EatWild Project formed by Noah Markson and Bronwen Vienna organizes social food events internationally. Their most recent endeavor was to recreate the path of Samuel de Champlain from Nova Scotia to Ontario as Culinary Explorers, discovering local food along the way. For someone new to the Hali food scene (yes, I did have my blog already but leaving for the bush every spring meant I was never able to really immerse myself in it) this was exactly the kind of potluck I wanted to be in on. Not only were we excited to meet Noah, Bronwen, and Aimee, but we were stoked for the food. Somehow potlucks always make me feel like I'm getting a free dinner despite contributing a dish. Because this was an adventure in local eating, we surveyed the fridge for some local goodies that could really showcase our community. I decided on a gratin of PEI organic Yukon gold potatoes, wild mushrooms, and smoked Gruyere while Brent whipped up a crisp with local apples and pears accompanied by a whiskey sauce. I swear he would add whiskey to anything! And man, were we right to be excited: potato scallop, fresh oatmeal molasses brown bread, salt cod fishcakes, beef stew, biscuits, marrow butter, and some duck and rabbit rilette. Plus, we didn't even realize we'd be meeting so many other food bloggers and local business owners: Asheley Ramey of asheleyeats, Kim Stacey owner and chef at Emma's Eatery in Eastern Passage, Frederic Tandy owner and charcuterie master at Ratinaud French Cuisine, and Jessi Gillis owner and chef at Highland Drive Catering and the soon to open Storehouse Butchery in the Hydrostone. Successful night, yes indeed. We were having so much fun, we even continued the conversation at a local pub over some pints. You can check out this video by the EatWild Project about the potluck in which-as a total surprise to me-Brent speaks of our business plans. I didn't even know there was a camera rolling! A big, big thank you to Noah and Bronwen for the fantastic time and the most perfect start to our own culinary adventure.

A few weeks later, Aimee invited a bunch of ladies, mostly food bloggers, over for tea. Aimee's goal was simple: to build community through online connections. And man, were connections had! There I met many of the other food bloggers I had recently followed on the twitter namely: Sheena Clark of Butter Versus Burpees, Kelly Neil of kellyneil.com or the amazing handle baconandbaileys, and Allie Kincade of Allie's Changing Kitchen. I also had the pleasure of meeting some other inspiring women: Shelagh Duffet, an artist and blogger at aliceinparislovesartandtea, Chara Kingston owner of Love, Me Boutique, Nancy Stapleton from Adsum for Women and Children, and once again the wonderful Kim Stacey. Tea, a buttload of sweets, and great conversation with some amazing women; the perfect Sunday afternoon and the beginning of something special (but more to come on that later!). Check out Aimee's post to see some incredible pics from that day but prepare to do some drooling. (Kathy, perhaps a bright green tupperware was not the best way to go. Note to self! And those dark chocolate almond cookies were both vegan and sugar free. Booyah!) 

Then, in celebration of International Women's Day, Brent and I along with the ever lovely Aimee attended a community potluck at Emma's Eatery in Eastern Passage. We wanted to finally check out Kim's place and show our support for her community focused resto. With loads of homecookin' lining a long table, it wasn't hard going back for seconds. Baked beans, meatballs, mac n' cheese, taco salad, Irish lamb stew, lemon thyme chicken, fried rice, and salmon artichoke dip (a la Aimee) were only some of the offerings. And then there was the dessert table. Apparently, everyone had chocolate on the brain so the dessert table was a chocolaty wonderland. There were two varieties of oatmeal cranberry chocolate chip cookies, a heavenly orange chocolate mouse made by the youngest guest, a chocolate trifle, an incredible flour less chocolate cake, and of course I added fuel to the fire by bringing a gluten free brownie covered in a chocolate ganache. I can't believe I'm saying this but it was chocolate overload. I didn't even make it through half of the items. As if. Besides the food, the best part of the evening was meeting everyone and sharing stories of our relationship with food. It was interesting to hear how so many women learned their skill from their mothers and how the most cherished recipes were those handed down by mothers and grandmothers. Us women are all about food. We always have been. It was certainly the perfect way to celebrate the occasion.

And now-in case you are not on the twitter-some foodie folks and I are trying to get a community potluck together. But this ain't your ordinary potluck. We're talkin' the bringing your best local dish to a room full of others-chefs, food bloggers, foodies-who love food as much as you do kind of potluck. There's even a risotto throwdown. Sounds awesome doesn't it. Well, if you want in, go to the fb event page for all the deets. And the events don't stop there. Everyday I find out about special dinners or other food related community events happening around the city. But alas time and the ol' budget just don't allow for everything. It has certainly been a pretty amazing start to our lives as aspiring resto owners and members of the local food community and I am thrilled to see where the road takes us.

If you are interested in finding out more about local food events check out the listings at Food Bloggers of Canada, compiled by none other than the beautiful Aimee. Or follow me on the twitter cuz I'm a mad retweeter when it comes to food. What can I say.