Monday, February 6, 2012

Flavourful Saskatoon, February 6, 2012

Foodie news and events in and around Saskatoon – fine dining opportunities, Taste Legend, Farmers’ Market membership, and pioneer family life

Valentine’s Day Candlelight Buffet, Wanuskewin
Wanuskewin Heritage Park is holding a Gourmet Candlelight Buffet at 6:30 pm on February 14.

The menu, prepared by Executive Chef Kevin Merasty, includes Northern Saskatchewan Wild Rice Salad with Sun-Dried Cranberries and Almonds, Peppercorn Bison Wellington, Seven Grain Cherokee Rice Pilaf, Flambéed Shrimp in Chili Lime Butter, and Chocolate Fondue.

There will be a First Nations dance performance following the dinner.

Executive Chef Dinner, February 16
The next Saskatoon Farmers’ Market Executive Chef Dinner is on Thursday, February 16 and will be prepared by Chef Brent Lloyd. The menu includes Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey Caviar, Roasted Apple and Parsnip Soup finished with Apple Cider Foam, Wild Boar Pot Stickers, Lingonberry Braised Beef Short Ribs on Truffled Polenta, and Warm Dark Chocolate Cake with Honey/Green Tea Ice Cream.

Eat Well – Year Round – at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market provides an account of the January dinner.

Open House, Marr Residence, February 20 1-4 pm
Celebrate Family Day from 1-4 pm on February 20 with a visit to the Marr Residence (326 – 11th Street East), the historic home of the Alexander Marr family and discover what family life was like in pioneer times.

Make an old-fashioned toy, tour the house and displays, and sample an old-fashioned cookie recipe.

Spadina Freehouse, February 28
Spadina Freehouse is holding a 7-course wine and food pairing. Robyn of Cellar Stock will guide participants through the pairing. There are only 12 spots, so book quickly.

Taste Legend Restaurant
I had lunch at Taste Legend restaurant at 423 20th Street West last week. It’s a large, pleasantly decorated restaurant with an extensive menu. The vegetarian options weren’t obvious, so we asked the server to recommend some dishes.

My favourite was the eggplant and potato dish, which had been cooked to perfection. The greens in onion oil were also excellent. I’ll definitely be visiting Taste Legend again.

Farmers’ Market Membership
I was disappointed to learn that Prairie Harvest Café will not be selling ready-made meals at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market after the end of February.

The Farmers’ Market website states that “each individual selling at the market must be a qualified member and must be personally present to operate their stall. This provides the customer the opportunity to deal directly with the producer, which allows a personalized touch with the products that are being purchased.”

That is a laudable policy as it is important for me to purchase products directly from the producer; however, I feel it’s being interpreted too rigidly. Prairie Harvest Café has been represented at the Market for the last month by Aaron Wignes who is one of the co-owners of Prairie Harvest Café. He may not be the person in the kitchen, but he is certainly fully involved and fully aware of all aspects of the business.

Similarly, a fruit cooperative can be a hands-on operation, with each member providing fruit they have grown for sale, but they would not currently be acceptable as a Market vendor because they are not a single, unique individual. In other cases, it may be extremely difficult for the person who is tending a large farm or milking cows twice a day to also be present at the Market. It may be their wife or best friend who is willing to oversee the Market stand.

I would be very disappointed if the Market started reselling produce they had obtained from a large, anonymous distributor, but I also believe that the Market’s success and long-term viability will depend on broadening its scope and becoming a little more flexible. I know that every topic has at least two points of view, so please comment if you have a different perspective.

Food Centre and Cheese
The Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. assists Saskatchewan food producers in developing and manufacturing their products. Producers use their fully-certified facility to prepare everything from noodles to chutney.

The Centre recently hosted a cheese-making course, and I was delighted to learn how eager people were to start making artisan cheese in Saskatchewan.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post regular profiles of culinary entrepreneurs, new restaurants and new food products.

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