New to the 2015 roster of the Prince Edward Island Fall Flavours Culinary Festival was the “Taste of New Glasgow” event. New Glasgow is a small rural community in the central part of the province. Despite its small size, it has a number of fine restaurants, chefs, and food producers and they brought their A-game to ensure festival goers had a fine “Taste of New Glasgow”, despite the challenges that the weather presented.
September 11th dawned with gray skies that, by late afternoon, resulted in a torrential downpour for the 2015 Festival kick-off event.
Organizers had planned to hold the event outside in the Gardens of Hope at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company in New Glasgow, PEI. However, Mother Nature had other ideas.
An alternative plan of action was implemented and a huge tent was erected in the parking lot of the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company and, instead of outdoor open firepits as originally planned, chefs improvised and used barbeques and other cooking appliances adjacent to the big tent.
While the rain certainly changed location plans, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of event goers or the participating chefs but umbrellas and rain gear were certainly the order of the day.
This event was classed as a signature festival event meaning it was hosted by a celebrity chef who in this case was PEI’s own Chef Michael Smith.
“Taste of New Glasgow” was a roaming feast which meant that several participating local restaurants/chefs/food producers each had a station where they served food to patrons who made their way, at their leisure, around the tent to sample the offerings. Participating restaurants/chefs/food producers were Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, Glasgow Glen Farm, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers, The Mill in New Glasgow, The Culinary Institute of Canada, Larkin Brothers, and Carr’s Oyster Bar. In addition, there were four Beverage Stations featuring local beers and wines – Barnone Brewery, Upstreet Craft Brewing, Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., and Matos Winery.
To give you a flavour of the feast, here’s a sampling of what was on the menu:
New Glasgow Lobster Suppers served up lobster salad on their famous homemade rolls alongside steamed PEI mussels and, for dessert, offered lemon meringue tarts reminiscent of their mile high lemon meringue pie.
Carrs Oyster Bar hosted an oyster station and also offered lots of steamed bar clams, too.
Glasgow Glen Farm had lots of breads and spreads along with a cheese fondue. They also served Florrie’s Pride Goat Cheese Cake with smoked tomato aioli, garden cherry and tomato salad, all in a small mason jar. Their dessert offering was a blackberry and honey tart with bee pollen and chokecherry syrup.
Location host, the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, served spice-encrusted smoked pork ribs and, for dessert, offered a popular ginger cookie sandwich which was filled with homemade vanilla bean ice cream.
Chef Michael had a portable wood-fired oven which he used to cook the halibut near his serving station.
The halibut was accompanied by saffron tomato broth and sea rocket slaw (and, on yes, the miniature PEI flag, of course!).
Ever personable and engaging, Chef Michael had a very long line up all evening at his station as foodie fans arrived with the chef’s cookbooks in hand ready for autographing as they picked up a sample of the halibut.
But, make no mistake about it, the master was still overseeing the preparation and presentation of the halibut.
A good PEI party includes two things: Good food and entertainment.
The event was also an occasion for a local food producer to create awareness with people about the source of some of the food they enjoyed during the evening. Florrie Sanderson from Island Hill Farm in Hampshire, PEI, raises a herd of some 60 goats and milks 10 goats.
Florrie sells her goat milk to Chef Jeff McCourt of Glasgow Glen Farm who uses it to make cheese, some of which was used in a feature dish at the Glasgow Glen Farm station.
Florrie brought along one of her goats, “Bae”, who quickly became a celebrity and photo star throughout the evening. “Bae” drew many smiles and chuckles throughout the evening and she was exceptionally well-behaved!
So, this event featured many PEI flavours – from both the rich PEI soil and the waters that surround our Island. One of the advantages of a roaming feast event is that you get to sample food prepared by different chefs, restaurants, and local food producers all in one venue. Often, it is an occasion to try foods and beverages you may not have tried before so it’s an opportunity to sample something new or, alternatively, perhaps it’s a familiar food but prepared in a new and innovative way.
For more information on the PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival and information on tickets and upcoming culinary events, visit their website.
To read stories about other Fall Flavours Culinary Events I have attended, click on these links:
Feast and Frolic Dinner (PEI Int’l Shellfish Festival) (2014)
Beef and Blues (2014)
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