Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Perfect Slow Food Kind of Day

Yesterday was perfect...sunny and warm.  A perfect day for a Mother -Daughter date.  And a perfect day for a special hike along the Gaspereau River at White Rock in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia.  For the longest time, my daughter Joanna has been talking about foraging for food in the wild.  I, of course, see poison and death at every corner.  So how could I not suggest a fabulous Slow Food NS event like this one - Foraging for wild edibles led by awesome and very knowledgeable botanists Ruth Newell and her husband Reg, followed by a heavenly lunch on the grape vine covered terrace at Le Caveau Restaurant at Grand Pre Winery.

First just a word or two...okay...MY version of "a word or two" about Slow Food NS and why I joined. I'm not a farmer, or even a gardener... I leave that to my daughter.  I'm not a political activitist, but am glad others are.  I'm not a restauranteur or chef, so why join Slow Food NS you might ask?  It's quite simple, actually... I love supporting local producers and purveyors of local deliciousness. When we moved to Halifax and first went to the awesome farmers market (one of my first posts about it) and I was so impressed by everything - not just the fantastic food, but the social aspect.  Everywhere were musicians, farmers chatting with other farmers and customers, passionate about their produce.  And more important to me, they were welcoming and eager to share their stories and recipes for some ingredient one never saw before.  In other words... this wasn't like any other market I'd been to.

Then I started noticing events sponsored by Slow Food NS and decided to find out more about them.  And since I really can't say it any better than this... here's a quote from their website:
Slow Food Nova Scotia exists to honour the tradition of experiencing the taste of local food in a social and convivial atmosphere through excursions to farms, special dinners, tastings and public projects.
I thought I'd share our day just to entice you to find out more about the local foods and Slow Food Convivia in your areas.

8 AM: one hour drive with my daughter to Wolfville NS in the heart of the Annapolis Valley - picture perfect drive with views of rolling hills and fertile farmlands.  Fields of vegetables, vineyards, orchards, lakes, streams, rivers.
9:15 AM: meet up with 18 other eager folks ready to learn all about which wild plants are edible and which are poisonous under the tutelage of botanist Ruth Newell
and her equally knowledgeable husband and fellow botanist, Reg.
We hiked along the Gaspereau River at White Rock (in case you're ever in the area) which was idyllic and learned many things.
Like that this plant, which naturally I don't remember the name of, is poisonous to eat, but the leaves will turn silvery when you dip them in water.  Given that I personally will never actually forage in the woods, I just took in the beauty of the flora.
More images (that's my Princess Forager on the left above ) and below is some coral fungus - cute... but we think poisonous.
And while the walk was terrific, I must admit, my favorite part was lunch at Le Caveau Restaurant at Grand Pre Winery...
on the terrace under a bower of grape vines....
eating sustainably line caught haddock encrusted in local Dutchman Gouda on a bed of risotto and lots of local vegetables
and gnocchi cakes and veg.  (Joanna and I shared since neither of us could decide on a single choice.)
with other Slow Food members from chefs to grape growers, mussel farmers, young & young at heart people eager to learn more about local fare and a desire to grow their own.

All in all, a heavenly day that I hope will inspire you to find your own way to learn about and support your local producers, purveyors and chefs.

1 comment:

angela said...

oh what fun! and those dishes look SO yummy!! glad you and dear daughter enjoyed!