It's harvest season in Ontario, and Chef Horne is featuring some incredible ingredients from all over Ontario. With many of the ingredients being very familiar for both Chef and the diner, after all this is home, I'm sure this menu was still a challenge for Chef Horne to keep interesting and new. With a few surprises and ingredients that make you think twice, Chef Horne and his team have executed another delicious meal that keeps me coming back for more. This menu showcases the best Ontario has to offer, and as the harvest season progresses, the menu will change in the next few weeks to highlight some new ingredients.
Meadow Sweet Farm & Monforte Dairy
Heirloom Tomatoes with Spiced Oil.
Paired with Hinterland 'Les Etoiles' Traditional Method, Prince Edward County, Ontario 2011.
Good start to the meal with rich cheese cutting the acidity the tomatoes bring, rounding out with the oil. That said, there was something amiss about this dish. Not sure what it was, maybe it was the lack of the edible flowers on this dish compared to one I had a few nights before? Edible flowers never really added anything in terms of flavour on the dish, mostly just there for presentation, but this time around they did add little touches of aromas throughout the dish. Especially when there's a variety of flowers like garlic, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon. Just something different that I missed.
Holland Marsh Onion Soup
Bone Marrow, Rye Croutons, and Thunder Oak Gouda.
Paired with Hidden Bench 'Buit Blance' Rosomel Vinyard, Beamsville Bench, Ontario, 2011
The soup is cooked for 8 hours, to the point where the onions have basically broken down and dissolved into the stock. The stock is cooked for 3 days, and is a combination of goose, duck, and chicken bones to make a rich and flavour packed brown stock. Easily one of my favourite dishes of evening, and one of the best soups I've had. Crazy good stuff (went back a few nights later just for the soup again!).
Vicki's Veggies & 100km Foods
Beets, Puffed Amaranth, Maple Leaf, Mulled Wine Vinaigrette.
Paired with North Shore Project Rosé, Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, 2013
Beets 3-ways, Pickled, Roasted, Puréed. The pickled beets are sliced paper thin and act as the foundation of the dish where everything else is built upon. Puffed amaranth is similar to quinoa, being packed with protein and are both seeds rather than grains, it provides a nice texture contrast to all softer beets. Crabapples are hidden between the wedges of beets and maple leaves, and contrary to the norm they were not too sour. Chef Horne said it was a good year to use them since there wans't much rain through the summer, so these provided a touch of sweetness while brightening up the dish. Last but certainly not least, maple leaves! Yes, they're the same leaves we just saw turn red during the fall season. Chef Horne experimented with using maple leaves from a Big Leaf Maple from British Columbia during Taste BC, and wanted to take it one step further for Ontario. You can read more about his development process here. Interesting component to the dish, but didn't really taste like much, just crunchy...kinda like fried kale, which isn't a bad thing.
Moose Poop and Foie Gras
Niagara Peaches, Québec Foie Gras, Strawberry BBQ Sauce, Peanut Sauce.
Story time: A little something extra inspired by our last conversation with Chef Horne. When Horne began researching suppliers for Taste 60th Parallel he mentioned to a friend and I that he came across a supplier that sold moose poop, for what I don't remember, but that whole moose poop thing stuck with my friend and I, so we decided to bring in a little bit of poop for him. My friend works at a candy factory designing and matching colours, so she made moose poop coloured candy for Horne and his team (tho we were told later that Chef horeded most of the candy in his office). I spend 2 days a week at O&B Artisan, the bakery that supplies bread to all the restaurants in the Oliver and Bonacini empire, so having the opportunity to put something extra into Canoe's bread order, we made chocolate blueberry sourdough which you can see above between the foie.
Great Lakes Walleye
Charcoal Market Vegetables, Ale Tartar Sauce, Smoked Alliston Potato Gnocchi.
Paired with 13th Street Chardonnay June's Vineyard, Creek Shores, Ontario, 2012.
The market vegetables are wrapped in foil and placed directly on the coals and allowed to slowly cook in the pouch. The result are tender and flavourful vegetables. The walleye is fried to perfection, and the gnocchi are shallow fried to give it a incredibly crispy crust and a fluffy inside. This simple dish, along with the onion soup was the winner of the evening, seriously my friend and I could have eaten this all night and been perfectly happy.
Concord Grape Soda
Grandview Farms Strip Loin
Algonquin Grits, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard, Sweetbreads.
Paired with Tawse Cabernet Franc Van Bers Vineyard, Creek Shores, Ontario, 2010.
Sweetbreads are soaked in milk then pressed and fried. The beef is apple finished, giving it a distinct taste, a little sweet if that makes any sense. Tho truth be told, I do prefer the PEI potato finished beef, there's a richness in there that's so very unique...more beefy. Garnished with corn hair.
Roasted Peaches, Candied Violets, Chamomile Ice Cream, Cream Cheese and Yoghurt Mousse
Paired with Field Dreams
Pastry Chef Robert Gonsalves did it again with another beautiful dessert! The peaches were simply roasted in vanilla, lavender candy and poprocks for a fun texture element. The vanilla white chocolate spread added a wonderful level a richness to the dish that balanced ever so well.
A couple of doughnuts to finish off the evening.
Taste Ontario runs until mid-November before we finish off the year with Taste Prairies.