I'm still savouring the incredible dishes prepared by some of the finest chefs in Nova Scotia at the recent Savour Food & Wine Show organized by the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia. This year it was superbly hosted at the Westin Nova Scotian. I'll be meeting with Executive Chef Rob Bidinost for a tour of his kitchens soon... but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
February, being a brutally "wintery" month here in Nova Scotia, needs some delicious incentives for locals, who typically hibernate. So eight years ago, began the first of a remarkable annual tradition... The Savour Food & Wine Festival - with only one event at the time. Today, it's a month long gastronomic extravaganza.
One of the things I love best about this event is how it showcases local talent...and I don't just mean the chefs, I mean that they take up Local Food Challenge in their dishes. Which means, that just about everything the chefs use is locally sourced.
February started off with the Decadence - Chocolate/Wine/Cheese Evening that was awesome, and was followed by a month of great restaurant adventures. With 28 restaurants and as many beverage providers present, giving tastes of their wares, it's no wonder I'm having a hard time figuring out where to begin. Last year was my first Savour experience and it took me a couple of weeks to 'digest' it... pardon the pun. I didn't think I could top the culinary adventure ... little did I know!
The food stations, in particular always attract me first... don't get me wrong, I love wine, but I'm not a connoisseur and usually leave the pairing to the experts. I did manage to taste quite a number of delicious options of wines, beers and spirits. Java Blend was giving samples of their home roasted coffee (I buy their coffee beans often - they are delicious) and Coca Cola was there with soft drinks and their latest - SmartWater.
Even some chefs decided to get in the action and prepare some shooters. Chef Dennis Johnston of fid resto created these carrot shooters with slow soaked tapioca (eight days) and a sweet potato crisp, while Chef Luis Clavel of Seasons by Atlantica, used some molecular gastronomy in the form of liquid nitrogen to create "Precious", a divine shooter of Local wild blueberry juice from Van Dyk"s and some of the juice "cooked" with liquid nitrogen to form "caviar" plus a little peach schnapps and a splash of gingerale.
So let's talk about the food. As you can see from the photo at the top... the show was packed and the chefs took up the challenge of feeding everyone with delicious, eye catching dishes. Frankly, I can't possibly mention them all here. You'll just have to come out next year and sample them all for yourself. Suffice to say, there was more than "something" for everyone.
From cold finger foods like the Sushi platters from Hamachi that take first prize for cold food every year to
over the top roast lamb dinner with rice from Opa Greek Taverna!
Dessert lovers were not forgotten, either. Just check out these stunning cakes from Scanway...
and this tower of chocolate dipped strawberries and Florentines.
Every year, guests are asked to vote for their favorites. Check here for the complete list. And, for your pleasure, here are some that particularly caught my fancy, in no particular order ...
The lobster stuffed scallop and another seared scallop dish from The Five Fishermen (they took first place in the Best of Show Hot food category). I'm still dreaming about it.
These Pulled Pork Sandwiches on Brioche & served with coleslaw from Chives - Canadian Bistro, had me rush home to see if the recipes were in any of Chef Craig Flinn's cookbooks). They took second prize. Is it any wonder?
I could go on forever, but like I said... you should really plan to join the fun at next year's Savour Food & Wine Show. I know I will.