Savour Stratford – Saturday Round-Up

Savour Stratford, Perth County’s annual culinary festival, was so chock-full of events and seminars that the Spotlight crew had to leverage a "divide and conquer" strategy to cover as many of the events as possible. Below is a round-up of some of the events we attended:

Whisky Flavours Explored & Explained – Mark Bylok
Whisky sommelier Davin de Kergommeaux hosted this seminar with the help of Stratford’s Mayor Dan Mathieson. The tasting featured three Canadian whiskies and two single malts from Scotland. Canadian whisky is made primarily of rye and corn with only some barley, unlike Scottish single malts. Of the three Canadian sips that we had, Alberta Premium 30 stood out for its fruity light nose, heavy spice, and a long, complex finish. Wiser’s Legacy also proved to be quite spicy, helped with barrels that were toasted instead of charred. These fared well against the Glenfiddich 15 and Balvenie Doublewood, though both single malts were definitely milder compared to their Canadian cousins.

Ontario vs. the World Wine Tasting – Mike Di Caro
Read about this event here. Mike also attended a couple more events, which we’ll be showcasing in greater detail in the upcoming weeks.

The Craft of Charcuterie – David Ort
This workshop was led by Top Chef Canada contestant Connie DeSousa of Calgary's Charcut Roast House and pork farmer extraordinaire Fred de Martines of Perth Pork Products. As well as learning some of the tricks of the trade, workshop attendees got to sample some excellent charcuterie including a blueberry and elk terrine and a dry-cured cacciatore sausage. The highlight for me was the prosciutto that Fred has collaborated with Dolce Lucano in Woodbridge to make. Its starkly white fat melts perfectly in the mouth to butter the just-salty-enough lean. The wine for the event was a Gamay Noir provided by Chateau des Charmes.

Ribs in the Square – Jen Bylok and Nina Popovic
While I didn’t attend any of the other events, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was the best one, because while everyone had to learn something at their events, we ladies simply had to sit back, grab a drink, and eat some of the best BBQ I’ve had in a long time. Long picnic tables were set up in the heart of Market Square, local boys and multi-award winners Boss Hoggs set up their massive BBQ truck to sling ribs, and we had our choice of beverage (Creemore Springs beer, Generation Seven wine, or Harmony Milk). The portions were massive, and Nina and I ended up splitting one portion of ribs as we listened to the southern stylings of The Blurry Pickers.  

Beerology Advanced with Mirella Amato – David Ort
For the advanced beer class, Mirella Amato of beerology.ca rolled out some of the more esoteric styles of beer like English brown ales and Scottish pale ales. Favourites of mine from the afternoon session included Neustadt Pale Ale, the Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale from Flying Monkeys and (maybe most of all) the Highballer Pumpkin from the talented folks at Grand River. Mirella's one piece of essential advice: whatever you do, pour your beer out instead of leaving it in the bottle or (even worse) can it came in.

BBQ Blues & Brews – Spotlight Staff
The Spotlight Crew wrapped up the night under the main festival tent for the BBQ Blues & Brews event – the final event of the evening. A number of local craft breweries were pouring their beer, and there were a few different food options (including local restauranteur Simple Fish and Chips, and Agave y Aguacate of Kensington Market).

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