Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting me some South American loving in the rolling hills of Caledon

There's gold up in them 'thar hills of the Caledon Niagara Escarpment. I'd take my fork over to that Credit river area any day of the week if Chef Rossy Earle of the Belfountain Inn promised to cook me up a batch of her Chupe de Chorizo. Talk about love in a bowl. It was a lovely summer evening as we headed over to the Belfountain Inn to join Mary Luz Mejia (maryluzonfood) and Vanessa Yueng (aphroditecooks), my tweet divas, along with their partners in organized food crime to enjoy a South American inspired menu by Chef Rossy Earle. The Amuse Bouche was a an Empanada de Pino. I could have chowed down a plateful of these mini empanadas made with lamb and beef and perfectly spiced. Next up was pure comfort in a bowl of Chupe de Chorizo which is basically a Spanish sausage, potato & vegetable chowder. The chorizo was not grizzly, fatty or chewy. You could taste that smoked paprika. I love how nonchalant Chef was when we asked about where the chorizo came from and she so matter of factly said "I made it of course.....". Oh of course, how silly of me to wonder where you sourced it. Then came my personal favorite course of the evening, a Steak & Palmito Salad. I'm going to be honest here, I've never been a big fan of hearts of palm but in this salad they work beautifully. This salad is strips of Argentinian styled Chimichurri beef atop a bed of hearts of palm, tomato salsa and a guacamole cream, dressed with a sweet onion vinaigrette.

Seafood Ceviche can be a wonderful thing, when it's done right. I've had ceviche that had me feeling like I was gnawing on rubber bands but Chef nailed it tonight. The ceviche was one of the best I've had in ages. Maybe it was the size of the serving. Sometimes I get to feeling like Goldilocks...too big....too small...just right. Then came the real test. My daughter Meg who lived in Chile for a year told me that Pastel de Choclo was akin to being Chile's national dish. Oh oh. Pastel do Choclo is the Chilean version of Shepherd's Pie except it is made with chicken and pork and topped with a sweet corn crust. This little individual casserole was really delicious. The crusted corn topping added a real sweetness to the finish and I have to say that this isn't anything like I thought it would be. One doesn't really think about this type of dish to be something connected to South America. We finished off the meal with a Passion Fruit Creme Caramel. My favorite part of this dessert was how the chef did a burn on the sugar and orange sauce on the plate because it creates such an interesting balance for the richness of the dessert. If there was a weak spot in this dinner I'd have to say it was in the wine flights. We are on the cusp of Summerlicious and I have to say, dollar for dollar, this food tasting, at $35.00 per person was an absolute bargain. Six courses, all beautifully presented was an absolute delight for this price point. Thank you Chef for this wonderful effort. I want you to know that my daughter Megan particularly appreciated it. Memories of Chile! It just warmed my heart listening to her prattle in Spanish with Mary Luz!

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