Food local products

MB Food Fest 2022

MB Food Fest, which was held yesterday, fit in quite nicely with my vacation time. I bought a ticket for the late afternoon time slot. This allowed me to take a leisurely approach to getting to the event, and once done, get home by early evening.

Having the Sunday off from Holy Trinity, I visited St. Margaret’s in the morning. St. Margaret’s is a parish where I spent a few years as an honourary assistant. Yesterday morning gave me a chance to catch up with several friends that I hadn’t seen since before Covid hit.

Jerk Chicken sandwich at MB Food Fest.
A juicy Jerk Chicken Sandwich served up by Miss Christine’s Kitchen at MB Food Fest.

MB Food Fest is held at Fort Gibraltar. I’ve been to Fort Gibraltar a few times in the past. Once for a wedding reception. I was also there earlier this year for MB Beer Fest. The one thing I haven’t done is attend the signature event held there: Festival du Voyageur.

MB Food Fest

MB Food Fest has two parts to it. The larger of the two parts is the vendor displays for sampling and purchase. The vendors are ringed around the inner wall of the fort, with a few around the dining room building. This is where you get to try their products and purchase any you might like.

Inside the main building there were a few more vendors and the chefs competition. Here there were 5 chefs presenting four dishes. As you entered the fort you received one ticket for each of the stations.

The chefs involved were: Dustin Pelletier from Loaf and Honey, whose dish was Cheese Crisp with tomato bacon jam and sage pesto.

Yen Phan from Wow Catering, whose dish was Crispy Manitoba Pork Back Ribs with Chili and Lime.

Christeena Stuart from Fort Gibraltar Catering whose dish was, Manitoba ground bison and pork meatball stuffed with local ricotta cheese served in a cheese cup made form local Mozzarella and topped with marinara and parmesan cheese.

Austin Ryan and Eejay Chua who seem to represent several culinary groups. There dish was Herbed Pâte à choux filled with mushroom pomme purée, bone marrow powder and cheese.

You are given a QR-code to submit my vote. I tried all four dishes, but didn’t vote, because I’m tired of always having to sign-up for some new app all time. While I love technology, I wish we could go back to the day when food apps meant appetizers.

All that aside, I do have favourites among the MB Food Fest chef’s challenge.

1.) The Pork Rib

2.) The Meatball

3.) The Cheese Crisp

4.) Herbed Pâte.

Sampling New Products

When I go to events like MB Food Fest, I tend to focus on products and companies whose products I have yet to try. I’ve been writing about local food products for the best part of a decade, so I’ve often tried and purchased many of the products available.

MB Food Fest sausaage
A sausage round from Bump Blended Protein, on sample at MB Food Fest.

One of the first items I tried was a round of sausage from Bump Blended Protein. If you’ve heard of Impossible Meat, I would call this Implausible Meat. The burgers and sausages that Bump sells are a mixture of meat and plant-based protein. I really liked the flavour and texture. I purchased a package of their Hot Italian sausage, so I’ll write that up somewhere when I’ve had a chance to cook it up.

Gluten-free Butter tart
A butter tart sample from Gabby’s Gluten-free Goodies.

Almost directly across from Bump Blended Protein, was Gabby’s Gluten-free Goodies. As you know I have an inordinate fondness for butter tarts. I really like this one. I would rate it better than Cocoa Beans(allowing for the fact that perhaps Cocoa Beans pastry has changed recently).

This is another item that I purchased at MB Food Fest. Taking home a six-pack of the full-sized tarts home with me. I plan an doing an update to my butter tart list soon, and Gabby’s will rate fairly high.

Miss Christine’s Kitchen was selling Jerk Chicken sandwiches inside the dining area. They were $10.00 each and loaded with juicy chicken and assorted toppings. This is a sandwich that will fill you up as you go about your day.

One person that I ran into while at MB Food Fest, was M. J. Reyes. We’ve followed each other on social media for several years, and I know she’s got great food opinions. As I was leaving I was talking with her and her husband, and they said that the ox-tail stew that Christina’s serves is a can’t miss dish. I’ll have to give it a try soon.

An item I tried but didn’t photo was the Arepa from Arepa’s House. The arepa is a form of bread or pancake from South America. The version served here is Colombian. It’s made with maize and cheese, and is quite tasty. What I really liked about this place though, is they make their own hot sauce. They say it should be available from the website in a few weeks.

Chocolate Covered Crickets
Chocolate Covered crickets, a high energy snack.

One of the more interesting items at MB Food Fest are the crickets. They are available in a variety of forms from Prairie Cricket Farms. The chocolate covered crickets taste so chocolatey, that unless someone told you, you wouldn’t know they were in there.

I tried several other items during the afternoon, but these were the ones that struck me the most. Several vendors dropped out, so that means that the two and half hour time slot was more than long enough to allow me to make my way around to the various booths.

MB Food Fest is working to becoming an annual event. For me, I’m not sure that I would want to attend on an annual basis. There’s just not enough new food iatems at the event to make it overly interesting.

Plus, although I like Fort Gibraltar as an event center. It require a fairly long bus ride followed by a walk of several blocks just to get there. To be fair this seems to be a Winnipeg thing. Holding events in places where people who use transit face a bit of a hike after they get off the bus.

Anyways, we’ll see, maybe next year there will be more vendors, and more new vendors.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.