It was a dark and stormy night.... yes it was. I made my way through the rain soaked gridlocked, construction filled streets to a warehouse on a dark little street in the St. Clair and Keele area of Toronto. Why? To eat Cheese and Charcuterie of course. I was invited to a MEAT & GREET event where La Ferme Black River http://lfbr.ca/ opened their doors to local foodies and small retailers to try some of the great predominantly local small producer quality products that they distribute to a few high end quality stores in Toronto.
I left a dark and rainy night and walked into a lovely tasting of some amazing cheeses, charcuterie, crackers, caviar and all things that would go well at a great cocktail party.
Some of the producers on hand were Rougié Foie Gras, Plaisirs Gourmets, Sheldon Creek Dairy, Brome Lake Duck, Carmen Creek Bison, Best Baa Dairy.
Some of my favourite bites were a lovely sweet pork loin and also a cranberry cracker that paired so well with one of the cheeses another vendor suggested.
I spoke to most of the vendors and it really is a great thing when you get a chance to speak to the people that make your food. They are more accountable to making higher quality food when they have face time with the people that actually eat it. They get direct feedback on what consumers like and don't like as well. They were all very lovely people and I chatted with a man from Alberta who was astonished at how big our events and food scene is in Toronto compared to Calgary.
I also tried some uncommon products like a Thyme coated cheese and elk salami which was very good.
I really like supporting local artisan producers because the money stays here and the quality is just a whole lot better when it comes to you as fresh as possible. While it's not possible to get everything local it is possible to get some really great products that are local and strictly Canadian which keeps the money in Canada. We have some of the greatest cheeses in the World that are made in Quebec and they compare to some of the great cheeses of France. Our Alberta beef is the best in the world.
Yes I am getting preachy now because it's worth it. We need to start supporting our own so that we can sustain our environment and our economy and in the process we can connect with the people that deliver these goods to us.
End of my preaching... now go and try some great Canadian cheese, crackers and charcuterie.