Culinary local delights at Harvest Halton

This October, Harvest Halton Oakville highlighted the flavours of fall with a spectacular culinary event, pairing nine of downtown Oakville’s restaurants with seven of the Region’s finest farms. Chefs prepared exclusive dishes using local ingredients and served up samples to each taster as they followed the maps on their Harvest Halton passports.

There was so much to taste and savour; personally, I’m glad I went hungry! Corks Restaurant and Seasons Restaurant worked together with Cristan Farms to create a Macintosh apple and butternut squash soup AND pumpkin pie. I ate my dessert first, just in case something prevented that creamy, sweet, and spicy pie from getting into my drooling mouth. If my appetite wasn’t already whet, the juiciness of those apples in their equally tasty soup did the trick.

paradiso_mm_2016-11-17At Paradiso, Stonehaven Farms provided the goods for a roasted pumpkin and butternut squash soup with chipotle pumpkin cream, spiced toasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin chili croutons. The flavours and textures in this dish were combined with flair. Each bite felt extravagant and indulgent. I wanted to sneak back for a second helping.

The next stop on my Harvest Halton passport was Just an Olde Fashioned Butchery, who paired up with Cody’s Cows to create a Merguez chilli. This dish was popular among all of us tasters – they couldn’t scoop it into our bowls fast enough before we risked burning our tongues to gobble it up! The spicy Moroccan beef used in the chilli can also be found in the shop’s lamb sausages.

After all those savoury dishes, it was time for a dessert break, so at Black Forest Pastry Shop I picked up my slice of apple flan using apples from Wheelbarrow Orchards. I tried to wait to take a photo of this treat before it disappeared into my belly, but I made the mistake of first taking a small bite “just to taste it,” but then it was gone. It was perfect. The apples were juicy and the flan was perfectly sweet.

coriander_mm_2016-11-17Next up was Noble Bistro, who paired with Mable May Farms for their local ingredients. The chef at Noble Bistro created a unique tasting for us with distinguished flavours. On the menu were pigs in a blanket with pork terrine en croute with spiced pistachio and apple butter. This combination hit all the cravings!

Over at Coriander Green, their chef made excellent use of the pumpkins from Andrews’ Scenic Acres. The curried pumpkin on basmati rice was huge win for me – I loved the sweetness of the pumpkin with the mild curry spices. On top of the great eats, the atmosphere and service were warm and inviting. I grabbed a takeout menu on my way out, because I cannot wait to go back there for dinner!

piazzo_mm_2016-11-17My next sampling surprised and delighted my taste buds! Piazza Bistro paired with Busy Liz’s Farm Shop to create a pizza unlike any pizza I have tried before. That beautiful square of culinary perfection absolutely melted in my mouth, and then my mouth proceeded to talk about how amazing that pizza was for about ten minutes. Starting with a pumpkin puree base, they topped my favourite pizza ever with chopped butternut squash, mozzarella, arugula, caramelized onions, and pecans. Standing ovation! Pass me another slice!

After all that excitement, it was time to finish off Harvest Halton on a sweet note. At The Crepe Kitchen, I had a freshly prepared crepe using apples from Wheelbarrow Orchards. This delightful crepe was filled with Golden Delicious apples, cider soaked raisins, walnuts, and dulce de leche. It was a good thing I saved room for this sweet dessert. It was melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious!

crepe_mm_2016-11-17There’s no way I can choose just one favourite dish from Harvest Halton Oakville, the freshness of the local ingredients and the unique style of each chef made them all top picks for me.

Keep reading Halton Food Council’s e-newsletter when we return in January. We will continue to feature local food producers, farms, restaurants, and shops so you can enjoy the freshest flavours of Halton all year round.

By Michelle Malandra