Roots, Rants, and Roars: THE FEAST

When we said we were stuffed heading into The Feast, we meant it; the simple pairing of ‘hiking’ and eating five courses along that coastline is something I will never forget, and we were full in a lazy, happy kind of way. 

But the next event – the eight course Feast – started just two hours later!

After our post-hike dessert session, we did a few laps around the parking lot before returning to the main festival grounds where chefs were busy preparing for the evening’s feast.  We started with a glass of Ontario Brut, because nothing aids digestion like bubbles!

That’s what we happily told ourselves, at least.  Adam Blanchard was sampling some of his Five Brothers Artisan Cheese, these lovely ladies were serving up Iceberg vodka cocktails,

and the musical line-up for the evening (including Matthew Hornell, Ian Foster, Amelia Curran, and The Navigators) had also begun. 

It was easy to distract ourselves from how full we were, and attempt to renew our appetites leading up to the next big meal.

During the previous evening’s Cod Wars, we were active, moving from station to station, chatting with chefs and new friends in between stations.  The Feast was set up a little differently, and required little of us.  We weren’t in charge of feeding ourselves or making sure we’d hit all the stations—someone else was! 

We simply sat down at communal tables, and courses were brought out and served family style.

It was a nice contrast to the evening before, as we had the pleasure of getting to know our dining companions; they included Gary and Debbie Smith.  Gary travels a lot for work, and writes songs to pass the time, many are written for his children.  You can listen to his songs here.

The meal started with bread made by Katie Hayes in the wood-fired oven at the Bonavista Social Club, which we visited last year.

Ivan Kyutukchiev (of Bacalao) served a bacon-wrapped terrine of braised short ribs and local duck, with chanterelles, pickled radish, beets, and crostini.  The terrine was bonkers good.

Chef Chris Chafe (of the Doctor’s House Inn and the festival ‘King of Cod’) served a salad course of maple bacon roasted squash, spiced pecans, homemade ricotta, pickled apples, and a chard citrus vinaigrette.  

Roary MacPherson (of the Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s) delivered a more ‘back home’ inspired meal of stewed beans with salt beef, pork shoulder, and Italian sausage, similar to what his family used to eat together.

Garry Gosse (of Harbour Breeze Catering) served what may be one of the most Canadian dishes we’ve come across: maple-molasses braised pork belly with a fig and tomato 'ketchup' and a rich turnip puree.  It’s some of the best pork belly I’ve ever had, and the whipped turnips re-defined the vegetable for me. Watch out, maple syrup and ketchup chips!

Shaun Hussey (of Chinched Bistro) closed the savory courses with grilled octopus and sardines served in a white bean and tomato stew.  It was incredibly hearty and warming.

Angie Ryan (also of the Sheraton) delivered the first dessert course of the night, a lovely strawberry rhubarb pudding with crème anglaise.  The second course came in the form of blueberry cheesecake and partridgeberry truffles from the Newfoundland Chocolate Company.

Ontario wines were served throughout dinner including the House Wine Company's Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Shiraz.  Even our old pal, Norman Hardie, graced the table in the form of a Niagara County Pinot Noir. 

Ok, now we were stuffed.

By the time the feasting was over with, most people had dispersed from the dining tent and were shaking their bones to the Navigators.  We hauled ourselves up too, and joined the enthusiastic crowd.

With our two-day food marathon over, we slept very well in our Trinity dream home, and awoke in great anticipation of our next adventure: a cod fishing expedition.  In the next post you’ll meet Bruce of Rugged Beauty Boat Tours.  He’s a real character.

Below is a tune from Amelia Curran, who serenaded us through dinner,

and a song from The Navigators who led the post-dinner party with lead singer Fred Jorgensen’s extraordinarily low voice.


Amelia Curran:

The Navigators: