Christine and I were lucky enough to celebrate the first official day of Spring at the Culinaire 2014 event in Victoria. This unique food tasting experience is held anuually at the Crystal Gardens and it’s a wonderful way to start off the new season. Restaurants, wineries, breweries, caters, bakeries, and those alike all gather under one roof to showcase their finest. It’s the ultimate way to try new flavours, ask the chef questions, see what’s new and trending in the food and beverage world, or simply enjoy a night of amazing food. It’s also a great way to put together a list of restaurants you want to hang out at all summer.
We lined up outside before the doors opened and everyone was given a wooden board, a wine glass, and 10 tickets. Each ticket was worth one sample and you could buy more tickets once you were inside if you wanted more samples (and yes, you need more than ten!). There were 58 booths in total, all local businesses. Each booth had one or two things to try, some wineries had 2-3 whites and 2-3 reds to chose from and everyone was very generous with their “sample” size portions. It was foodie heaven! Here are just a couple of my favourites from the night…
Top Left: Hertel bacon wrapped smoked Gulf Island oysters with cayenne pepper aioli and
Barkley Sound kelp crackers. Made by Spinnakers. These were flipping amazing.
Top Right: Citrus confit salmon with avocado, green pea, and mint puree, a gin fluid gel,
and miner butter lettuce by Castro Boateng. This one took the gold medal for me, outstanding!
Botton Left: Blood orange scallop ceviche in sesame seed cones by Blue Crab Bar & Grill.
Fresh, fun, and tasty.
Bottom Right: Origin Bakery made these dark chocolate shells filled with lavender cream
and earl grey crumbled shortbread. Yeah, seriously.
I also have to mention Vista 18‘s Beet Macarons. Considering the event fell on International Macaron Day (best day ever), I was very pleased when I found a booth serving macarons. This macaron was very sophisticated (shown by Christine below). The chef created a perfect balance between sweet and savoury by using a creamy hazelnut ganache and a beet meringue infused with cumin spices. The flavours paired surprisingly well together, I was very impressed.
It was a wonderful evening and I’m looking forward to trying out a few new restaurants this summer! If you’re thinking about going to Cuilinaire next year, I would highly recommend it! I will definitely go again. Here’s a silly little gif of us explaining the dark chocolate “shell” on the lavender cup…
Thanks for reading, go enjoy some good food! Happy Spring.