I spent three years as the principal photographer of the Savour Food and Wine show, hosted by the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which takes place this time each year in Halifax. I was invited to attend last night's Savour 2014 on a media pass and I had an absolute BLAST!! Everything was fantastic - the company, the selection of food and liquor, the venue - I had SUCH A GREAT TIME!!
Everyone with a media pass was invited to arrive at 6pm - an hour ahead of the general public - for a guided tour. Here's Joe McGuinness, Chair of the Savour Food and Wine Show, giving us a welcome speech with one of my favourite people, the lovely Beatrice Stutz of Grand Pré Winery and Le Caveau restaurant, in the background.
My group was led by Beatrice and our first stop was to see Simon Rafuse, winemaker at Blomidon Estate Winery.
We tasted the Blomidon BMD (Blow Me Down) a complex, sparkling red that kind of reminded me of a Italian Recioto but not as sweet. I found myself really really wanting a chunk of Parmigiano with some Balsamic syrup drizzled on top to pair with the BMD.
Luckily, Estia Restaurant was next door and they were our second stop. They made these incredible little Feta and Leek Croquettes that were a perfect match for Blomidon's BMD. I only ate one, but I could have eaten ten. They were one of my favourite things of the whole night!
Estia also had other items on offer including these pretty little custard cups. I didn't eat one (at Savour you have to be careful - you want to try everything but you will up so fast if you do!) but I told Sean this morning we are making it a POINT to visit Estia SOON!
Here's a shot of me and my homegirl Gabby aka The Food Girl In Town. We landed in the same media group and Beatrice suggested we have a photo together.
Mark Gabrieau from Gabrieau's Bistro in Antigonish made Chocolate Salted Caramel Cashew Clusters which were terrific, but I was more impressed that he was baking Chocolate Soufflés ON SITE and they were pretty much perfect. Here's my girl Jill Chappell looking damn excited about her Chocolate Soufflé.
Chef Jason Lynch was at my house this past Tuesday making his dish for the Taste of Nova Scotia 2014 Culinary Guide (which I am shooting) so after our tour was over, I suggested Le Caveau's booth as the place to start the rest of our evening. Here's Kayla from Short Presents and Gabby doing the whole blogger thing.
Jason made Scallop Hot Dogs with Charred Tomato Ketchup and House-made Kraut. Sadly, I have a severe intolerance to scallops so I had to stand by and watch as Gabby and Kayla ate theirs and then proceeded to tell me how amazeballs it was.
Oh Scallop Dog, I wish we could be friends.
Holy freakin' shit. Morris East's Wild Mushroom and Herb Spaetzle drizzled with White Truffle Oil was UN-BEE-LEIVABLE. Getting to chat with my old pal Amber MacLean, who is currently the manager of Morris East's Larry Uteck location, and also Tim Andresen, the best bread baker I ever worked with, was such an awesome treat!
Chef Jeff McInnis, of The Five Fishermen, served another of my favourite dishes of the whole night - Vanilla-poached Lobster Tail on Beef Tenderloin with Asparagus Purée. I never would have thought of vanilla with lobster but I'm telling you - it was heavenly.
Don't be afraid.
It's just Habaneros' Gecko Bus! Pulled right inside the building. Amazing!
We got to go in through the bus...
and then out through the back for a delicious Mini Pulled Pork Taco. SO GOOD.
SO happy to see that MY FAVOURITE DISH OF THE NIGHT, Chef Live!'s Crispy Cider-braised Pork Belly with Smoked Parsnip Mash and Brussels Sprouts was in part supplied by the most awesome Getaway Butcher Shop!
JVH's reputation as a master cocktail crafter is ACCURATE. He made a Disaronno Amaretto Mule with fresh lemon juice, ginger beer and bitters. I've never tasted anything like it - it was ridiculously good.
Chef Geir Simensen with a St. Paddy's Day tricked-out goat lurking in the background. The Stubborn Goat made what was probably my second favourite dish of the night - SMOKED MEATLOAF. Are you friggin' kidding me?!? It's on their menu - GO. GO NOW.
It was pretty cool to see some of the shots I did for The Stubborn Goat a couple of weeks ago on their Savour signage.
Savour 2014 was a WICKED TIME!!! Well organized, lovely people, amazing food, fantastic wines and spirits on offer and The Cunard Centre was the perfect location. RANS hit it out of the park last night and I cannot WAIT for next year!!!!