Sunday, September 17, 2006

Feasting in Fields

By some miracle I was in a conscious state and near my radio on Friday morning when Paul Vasey offered a chance to win tickets to the sold-out foodie event of the season, Feast of Fields; and by some further miracle I was the lucky, the very very very lucky recipient of a pair of these. Thank you CBC!

So this afternoon Aurelie and I hustled over to join the shockingly long and surprisingly patient queue that had gathered at the Glendale Gardens and Woodland by 1:59 for the 2pm opening, accompanied by our finely honed appetites and a steady sprinkle of rain. But being rookies at this event, we had failed to accessorize with clever little plastic cocktail plates to hold our booty and wineglass and were thus obliged to consume our morsels on the run, one mouthful at a time, as we sprinted and then trailed and then wallowed from tent to tent, running out of adjectives and resorting to whimpering pleasure. How these stall-holders managed to cater for and be delightful to a mob of 700 starved gastronomes is food for thought indeed.

Interesting to see what was being presented (and it was all pretty amazing, and beautiful, and local). Not a huge amount on offer for vegetarians, but we omnivores were well served. Beef and chicken are out; duck, venison and the odd rabbit are in. Salmon never left; ostrich made an appearance, or five. Goat cheese is very big for sweets and savouries.

Some thank yous to... our municipal treasure Zambri's, for the amazing risotto balls spiked with water buffalo meat; Smoken Bones Cookshack for proving we can find real ol' barbecue way up here in the north; Butchart Gardens for providing mini cedar planks and edible flowers with their yummies; 2% Jazz Coffee for the life-affirming honey macchiato. And Dock 503, I worshipped all your offerings: the chanterelle mushroom cannelloni with tomato confiture was to die for, and the sparkling caesar soup with manila clams and spicy yellow beans had me weeping with gratitude. My big regret is being too full to try your smoked sable fish and soybean steamed bun with yuzu sauce. Next lifetime, eh?

A few of the tents sheltering 60 restaurants, wineries and other food producers: the view from the Glendale's heather garden.

Choux Choux Charcuterie: Rhona recommends the rabbit rillettes.

Part of the Aerie's offerings: duck liver lollipops in chopped hazelnuts -- strange, silky and delicious.

Dock 503: Ohhhh that sparkling caesar soup... Hey look, that clam just dived right in!

Butchart's pretty li'l planks. The round green items are spot prawn and smoked salmon purses: too cute!

My favourite flavour-fusion duck dish: duck leg confit with Tiger Blue cheese and bosc pear, from Lure seafood restaurant.



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