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County’s bounty overflows at Taste 2012

Photos and story by Amanda Stanley
The plentiful bounty of the County was evident in a packed Crystal Palace Saturday where locals and locals-at-heart assembled to ‘Taste Community Grown’ offerings of food, drink, music and culture.
The Crystal Palace was decorated to celebrate the season with soft burlap tablecloths, bright flower and gourd arrangements, and with eccentric fabric pattern swatch flags hanging from the rafters. Enthusiastic Taste-goers lined up at vendor stands for a sip or nibble of the community grown offerings.
At a charity pie auction, bidders brought up pie prices as high as $400 and more than $1,600 was raised for the Edith Fox Life and Loss centre.
Outside the palace, vendors offered attendees a wide variety of flavours, colours, and local knowledge at the Farmer’s Market and the background music was provided by several roots, country, and folk acts in a tent with hay bale seating. Baskets of blankets were set out, encouraging people to have a picnic to remember in the warm autumn sun.
Tasters not only had multiple savouring opportunities, but were treated to seminars on gluten-free baking, the attention that goes into each bottle of wine, and DIY sausage making. (Helpful hint: Owning a stand mixer is half the battle! Meat grinding and sausage stuffing attachments are available to reduce frustration and labour.) Seminars discussed the uniqueness and taste that terroir brings to a food and the je-ne-sais-quoi that the land infuses into the product it grew. While Taste’s food educators were too humble to admit it, their passion and love for their craft added a detectible zest to their dishes.
Nowhere was this more apparent than at the County Chopped competition where three local chefs were given identical ingredients, time constraints, and shiny new barbecues and competed to impress the judges. The barbeques were auctioned off during the competition benefiting the Jumpstart Program that helps out local children’s participation in sports. The chefs regularly goaded the audience into hooting, hollering, and even encouraged The Wave! Chefs Scott Royce, Matt Demille, and Steve Chaves displayed excellent sportsmanship despite the playful banter and cheeky tastes of whisky. Winner Matt Demille impressed judges with his take on the mystery ingredients (all locally sourced meat and vegetables).
And while the endless inspiration of Taste could have left some aspiring foodies a tad overwhelmed, they learned the best method of creating a family dinner from local ingredients, is to keep it simple. Continue to take inspiration from a drive through the County’s orchards, farm lands, and vineyards. Though the annual Taste event is celebrating its 11th year, the County has been inspiring bountiful tastes in locally produced meat and produce as long as it’s been growing here.

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