Valerie (aka A Canadian Foodie) is a valuable Slow Food Edmonton member, and is particularly outspoken when it comes to teaching children about good, clean and fair food. And as Mack and I found out on Saturday, she is also a host par excellence.
Valerie addresses the hungry masses
Valerie had the great idea of starting a series of Slow Food “solstice suppers” – informal opportunities to mingle and share a meal with other local Slow Food members – and offered to host the first event. So on Saturday, Mack and I joined about two dozen others at Valerie’s house with, of course, a dish in hand.
Gathering around the appetizers
I have made Giada de Laurentiis’s mini frittatas before, but this was my first time using duck eggs (from Greens, Eggs and Ham) and bacon (from Valbella). I also added mushrooms and the requisite Parmesan and parsley. Better served warm but fine at room temperature, they’re a great party appetizer that are both quick to assemble and bake off. And with duck instead of chicken eggs, I found them to be lighter and fluffier than usual!
Two-bite Frittatas made with Greens, Eggs and Ham duck eggs and Valbella bacon
The spread at Valerie’s was amazing – I would have been satisfied with consuming the cheese plate alone. But variety is the spice of life, and even in the dead of winter, it was fantastic to see the breadth of locally-procured goods utilized in all of the dishes. From the Gull Valley tomatoes in Valerie’s bruschetta to Sylvan Star Cheese in Maria’s potato gratin to bison sausage from First Nature Farms, it was clear that area producers still have much to offer right now.
The star of the evening was undoubtedly the roast pig. Valerie and Vanja ordered the pig from one of Vanja’s friends, who obtains the pigs from Hillview Acres Farm then roasts them in stone ovens in his garage. The meat was very tender and moist, and as you can probably see from the photos, there was plenty to go around!
Ready to eat
Though everything was delicious, I have to pay particular homage to Colleen and Vince’s bread. Two years ago, they built a wood-burning oven in their backyard, which enables them to make, among other things, crusty bread. They brought a sampling of loaves with them, and I really had to stop myself at three slices. I was lucky enough to score a small baguette to take home though – reheated this morning for breakfast, it was still superb.
And dessert? Between David and Nicole’s moist-but-not-too-rich Bavarian torte and Valerie’s gorgeous cookies, we were made.
Around the dessert table
Valerie’s cookie trays
It was a nice touch that Valerie invited everyone to write out the name of their dish, including the names of local producers utilized, on cards to display next to the dishes – she is in the process of collecting recipes and once finished, will display them on the Slow Food Edmonton website.
Good food, good company #1
Thanks again to Valerie and Vanja for hosting such a great evening!