Ever been invited to a dinner that just beats all the other dinners you’ve ever had before? I was recently.
At Dianne’s and Wayne’s table in Fenelon Falls, Ontario. A lovely small town nestled in the Kawarthas region, just a few hundred km northeast of Toronto. They also run the town’s delightful coffee house Sweet Bottoms Coffee – on the main street https://www.facebook.com/SweetBottomsCoffee.
Remember to check it out on your travels through Fenelon Falls.
The amazing feature about this dinner was that all the ingredients were “foraged” from the surrounding woods, marshlands and meadows. Including the wild leaks in the pesto spread on the appetizers, adorned with the flowers of wild blue violets. Edible, yes, and delicious!
The main course morel ragout literally exploded in my mouth with flavours I had last tasted in my childhood in Finland where I recall going mushroom picking in the early spring with my aunt to forage morels – those funny rather ugly looking dark brown mushrooms that look a bit like the brain’s grey matter. But looks are deceiving. Wait ’til you experience the taste – so rich and pungent, melting in the mouth! Dianne had ingeniously worked the morels into a polenta-based ragout that enhanced their flavour – yummy!
And the crowning touch were the greens – the fiddle heads and natural greens of the spring meadows, including dandelion leaves Dianne had mixed with others into a sumptuous salad. Even the mashed potatoes tasted as if the spuds had just been collected from the first harvest of the season. Magical was the only word I kept thinking of as our dinner conversation flowed effortlessly with our taste buds savouring the delights. Even the spruce tree buds got to play a part in this symphony of flavours! Dianne had infused a handful of them in extra virgin olive oil she served as a dip for the fresh bread on the table. Honestly! Who would have ever thought of picking them young buds as something edible?
The sumac meringue pie that arrived on the table took my breath away, literally. My taste buds had already gone to heaven! Sumac flowers, Dianne told us, have great healing qualities and vitamins – why not make a pie with them as an ingredient! All I can say is that eating the pie was rather orgasmic like. I, for one, was speechless by the end of that dessert, sipping the lovely latte Wayne prepared for us in the coffee house.
Obviously, Dianne is not only a fabulous cook but also an expert in knowing how to find, prepare, and use locally grown natural ingredients – foraged food, if you like. I’m anxiously waiting for her cook book – please Dianne, you’ve got to write it! Not to mention watching her cooking show in the local TV networks.
Thank you so much for inviting me with friends to experience what REAL food tastes like.