I assumed the event would revolve around some discussions about chicken. Not so. These guys did not toot their horn once. Even though they have so much to be proud of and so much to discuss. Their website alone is filled with valuable information regarding safe food handling, health and nutrition, food safety and animal care, not to mention a ton of great recipes! I also find it fun to read the profiles of the chicken farmers. It's a nice reminder of where the chicken is coming from.
Although I would have liked to learn more about them, I did enjoy chatting with them under informal circumstances. Thanks so much for setting this up and inviting us Ryan! Bringing us all together was a real treat!
This event was held at the beautiful Urban Element. As soon as I read this is where it would be, there was no doubt in my mind that I was in for a fabulous evening. I've yet to have a bad time under this roof and I doubt I ever will. Not as long as their resident chef Candice Butler is there anyway. She prepared a ton of crowd pleasing hors d'oeuvres that would have anyone peering in the window green with envy.
The first one to land between my fingers was the sun dried tomato strata with C'est Bon goat cheese. I love anything with sun dried tomatoes in it, the flavour is so powerful and absolutely perfect with goat cheese.
I would love to say which of the hors d'oeuvres was my favourite but I'd be repeating myself with each photo. Like these caramelized onion and pear tarts with Bleu Bénédictine (best blue cheese ever!).
Mini chicken pot pies – mmmmm. So yummy.
In-house pork rillette with Rochon farm zucchini relish. Pinch me quick! Seriously.
Ok maybe this one was almost my favourite! Chicken dumplings with peanut sauce. Dumpling + peanut sauce = very happy Rachelle.
Cod cakes – oh yeah wait, I LOVE fishcakes!
Pulled pork with smoked tomato jam. The perfect comfort food!
And well what would the evening be like without some chicken!? A trio of velvety chicken pâtés were neatly placed along the main table for everyone to savour. Brandy chicken liver pâté with Hall's apple and thyme, bourbon and rosemary chicken liver pâté with a bit of duck, and sherry chicken liver pâté with Pic Bois maple vinegar – simply divine. And to top it off, Candice offered a demonstration on how to make it at home.
After about an hour of mingling and stuffing my face, we sat down to listen to the esteemed Ron Eade of Omnivore's Ottawa. I listened intently sipping my wine as he chatted about blogging and home cooking. What was meant to be a discussion was more of a one-sided conversation at times, but I'm sure behind the scenes, when not all blogger eyes were on you, the questions came out.
The one thing that stuck the most was his comment on the dissociation of animal from meal and how we buy things prepackaged all the time. Like chicken for example – rows of chicken thighs all ready to be eaten up. Do we ever even think about the animal who gave his life to be on our plate? If you bought a whole chicken, you'd appreciate every morsel even more. And it would last you more than that one meal. A great blog on not buying anything prepackaged and using every ingredient to the last drop is the She Eats Bears blog. I could only dream to be able to cook that well!
What a wonderful evening. Looking forward to the next blog-related event, or blog worthy-event – whichever comes first!