Beouf aux cheveaux ~ Anne Rumble cooks over the fire at our outdoor kitchen.
June 6, 2016 Missive from J.K. Farm
It was like when Elvis Costello came into my restaurant many years ago. I was so excited to see him and so honoured that he had chosen my place to dine. I went to his table and told him how much I enjoyed his music. He was eating a wild leek soup I had prepared for him and he in turn told how much he enjoyed my work.
I had a similar experience this past Saturday on the farm. For many years I have been a fan of the Avonlea clothbound cheddar from Cows Creamery in PEI. This is a beautiful example of terroir driven flavour in a carefully made cheddar, muslin-bound, sealed with lard and left to age in a cool humid cave for 18 months before the gauze is removed and the cheese put on the market. Armand Bernard the cheese-maker must have been proud. This year he brought his cheese to the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario and is taking home the grand prize. As is tradition with the Great Canadian Cheese Festival, Georgs Kolesnikovs likes to fete the grand prize winner at an event he has coined “Gastronomy on the Farm”. This is the 4th year I have hosted this event on my farm.
On Saturday night I had the good fortune to meet Armand Bernard and to tell him how much I enjoyed his work. What a beautiful example of the clothbound cheddar he brought. We received the wheel earlier in the day. We left it out on a shelf to “chambrée”, allowing the cheese to warm to room temperature in order to allow its aroma and flavour to fully develop. Armand “spoke to the cheese”, telling the story of its provenance and his own history in the world of cheese. I love how gathering people around the room and at the table, who are involved in some way with artisan production of foods and wines, inevitably leads to fascinating story telling and further understanding of food culture here in Canada.
This past Saturday was an evening to remember on the farm, not only for the special focus on fine Canadian cheeses, but also for reconnecting with past attendees at the event. We convened first on the vineyard ridge with hors d’oeuvres and delicious, bubbly “Rosessence” from “By Chadsey’s Cairns”; we proceeded to the barn gallery for dinner featuring foraged wild nettles, succulent yellow perch and wild watercress from Slab Creek. Each succeeding course was paired with the wines of By Chadsey’s Cairns, their story and provenance spoken to by Vida and Dave, co-winemakers at this esteemed Estate Winery overlooking Lake Ontario in nearby Wellington.