Feast Your Eyes and More at the Gladstone's Harvest Wednesdays
As September rolls in, the produce section at my local supermarket is looking more colourful than ever. As usual, I skirt around the gen modified big-as-a-melon U.S.A. peaches and find row after row of wonderful locally grown fruit and veggies.
A part of me wants to buy two of everything, but I haven't time to make it all, let alone eat it all while it's fresh. I pick up a few things for dinner and on my way out, notice a colourful flyer for the Gladstone's Harvest Wednesdays at the door.
Harvest Wednesdays started in July and runs through til the end of the harvest season in late September, with different types of events and seasonal foods making up each evening.
Some Wednesdays are cocktail style 'tasting' parties, others bigger 'bounty buffet' meals and then there are mid and late summer communal table dinners. The latter is what I attended, and it was certainly a meal to remember.
Right off the bat, I've got to say that having long communal tables is definitely a act of simple brilliance. I loved the setup as I wound up dining with some old friends and making some new ones as we passed the dishes around.
After an "Amuse" dish, we began passing around the first course. Roast beet and orange salad drizzled with olive oil and pomegranate molasses, followed closely by Grilled Leeks Mimosa. It's all as gorgeous as it is delicious.
The 2nd and 3rd courses brought a mixed salad and 3 different mains to the table: Cabbage Rolls stuffed with bulgur, wild rice, yam, currants and dill (so incredibly delicious), Stuffed Zucchini filled with "zesty summer ratatouille and topped with Gremolata crumbs, and Chicken 'Fricasse' - free range chicken braised with vegetable brunoise in a white wine sauce.
No crumb went left behind as we washed it down with Ontario wines.
Throughout the meal, a slideshow showed photos of "Chick A Biddy Acres", the farm where all the local produce before our eyes was grown, and before dessert, organizer Christina Zeidler took to the podium to explain a little more about the process and inspiration behind Harvest Wednesdays. She also introduced Chef, Marc Breton who came around to chat with all about the meal they'd just shared in.
Throughout the evening, wonderful live music filled the room and sure enough, even the music was local... so local, in fact, that they work at the Gladstone throughout the week.
Finally, as the sun went down, dessert and more wine. Almond shortcakes with lemon cream, blueberries and rasberry sauce. Everyone claimed they couldn't possibly eat such a big dessert after that rich meal, but sure enough, one by one those plates were cleared.
Now, that was the Mid-Summer dinner. The big Late-Summer Table Dinner event is coming up tomorrow, August 29th at 7pm. Tickets are $48 for that one and can be purchased by ringing the Gladstone at (416) 531-4635.
The rest of the September schedule is available online at the Gladstone website.
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