Last night I headed out to the Fairmont Hotel to take in the Taste of the Nation fundraiser in support of Share our Strength Winnipeg. Share our Strength is a program that aims to end child hunger. I first heard of it a few years back when I attended a food event at Saigon Jon’s. Johnny Kien the owner of the restaurant was a supporter of Share our Strength.
This was my first time at the Taste of the Nation event. I was surprised to discover that it has actually been running for 22 years. Although it’s for a good cause the tickets are beyond my usual price range.
However, I decided to make an exception and attend this year. I had extra incentive to attend as one of the organizations being supported is the St. Aidan’s Christian School. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, St. Aidan’s is one of the parishes where I did part of my practical training for the priesthood. When I was training there, the school was still in the formative stage. It has grown quite considerably since then.
Taste of the Nation, Marathon of Taste:
As I mentioned, this was my first time at the event. There were 35 food purveyors on the list, some of whom offered multiple choices. I was slightly overwhelmed. I ended up making my way to the far corner of the room for my first bite. This was from 529 Wellington where they were offering up a Mini Yorkshire Pudding stuffed with Prime Rib. A good meaty start to the evening.
For the rest of the evening I criss-crossed the room attempting to try something from every place. When I got home I discovered I had fallen short, as I had missed out on the Foie Gras Torchon with Pickled Oyster from Peasant Cookery, and the Fish & Chips from Chew. Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.
One of the remarkable aspects of the event is that there is no like/dislike aspect. There wasn’t a single item that I would say that I wouldn’t be willing to order off of a menu. That said, at an event called Taste of the Nation, there are some dishes that I enjoyed the taste of more than others. Many of these won’t have pictures. It was rather difficult to photograph and walk around at the same time. I’ve included a small gallery below.
I’m going to list five dishes I really enjoyed. They are in no particular order, and as I said all of the dishes were top quality.
1.) Potato Chips with Trout Roe, Tuna Tostada – Segovia Tapas Bar & Restaruant
2.) Taste of the Nation, Asian BBQ Pig Tails – Elmhurst Golf & Country Club
It was a bit of a challenge eating around the fat and bone in the pig tail, but the meat was very tender. The BBQ sauce had a good kick to it.
3.) Smoked Meat Deli Sandwich w/Pickle – Sherbrook Street Deli
This came with the hot mustard. As I wrote in my review, I could drink this mustard right out of the bottle.
4.) Fort Garry Pale Ale Spicy Chorizo Mole Donuts – Dessert Sinsations Café
Chorizo is probably my favourite type of sausage.
5.) Lobster with warm truffle potato foam topped with a bacon bone marrow vinaigrette – The Fairmont Winnipeg
The Fairmont served as host for the evening. As well they contributed a very memorable dish, served in a hollowed out bone.
The Fairmont dish may have been the style winner for the evening. I also enjoyed the playful chips and dip theme that Cake-Ology featured at their Icing Bar. I tried the maple-cinnamon icing, which could have been overpowering but was allowed to be gentle in its flavour instead.
In addition to the 35 food stations, there were 20 stations serving wine, beer and spirits. Unlike the food, I didn’t try anything near to the 20. My favourite was the Cherry Cider that is being produced by Big Rock Brewery out of Alberta.
Of course when attending an event like this, it’s great to try all the food, but it’s even better renewing acquaintances. Since the fund raising aspect of Taste of the Nation was being done in support of the St. Aidan’s School, I had the opportunity to chat with two or three people from the church who help out in the school and were volunteering at the event.
Plus, there were many of the usual MB Food Blogger suspects. I’m not going to name them all this time, because I’ll probably miss some. As always though, they make any gathering more enjoyable.
While Taste of the Nation is the biggest event of the year for Share our Strength, it’s not the only one. The link at the top of the page will help keep you informed about other events as they occur. The aim of Share our Strength is simple. “No Child Hungry.” Events like Taste of the Nation are one way to help make that happen. Hopefully, one day, Taste of the Nation will be a celebration of the fact that childhood hunger has been eradicated.