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The week in yum 13-19 Flavor Your Life, Danish Obsession, Paul Cunningham

Thrilling the Loblaws gang with my Cauliflower Fried Rice

This week was pretty busy, starting with our annual tomato canning session with Nonna , my September Cooking Demo at Loblaws, deliveries of Almond Breeze, Nanny Hudson's Homestyle Ketchup and a box of edamame from MacKellar Farms. This means that there is going to be a whole lot of cooking going on in the next couple of weeks and that means lots of new recipes coming on the blog. Except for our Friday night trip to The Wren, we didn't eat out much so there isn't a lot to report on that front. I did attend a couple of media events but otherwise, I stuck pretty close to home.

Flavor Your Life
delicious canapes and desserts, all made with EVOO at Brassaii

I bet you might think you know a lot about olive oil. I know I thought I knew how to choose a decent oil until this week, when I attended a presentation put on by the Flavor Your Life campaign. Jointly funded by the EU, the Italian Department for Agriculture and Unaprol, this campaign wants to increase awareness and, in turn, consumption of high quality olive oil. Unaprol, established back in the 60's, is the largest Italian association for olive growers and now represents more than 500,000 olive farms and works tirelessly to promote European production of quality olive oil.

Anthropologist and food journalist, Robert Beauchemin, schooled us for a good hour on the facts and the the frustration of navigating the world of olive oils while we snacked on various appetizers made with, of course, olive oil. He told us how to choose a quality oil, what to look for on the label, when to use it (you should use it within one year of the date of production on the label if you want to enjoy the health benefits of the oil but the taste will last for two years) and where to buy it. The sad reality here in Canada is that the oils that most of us buy at the grocery store and use in our kitchens that are not what they say they are - for instance, what is the point of saying that an extra virgin oil is cold pressed when ALL olive oil is cold pressed. It's like bragging that your chicken nuggets are COOKED! The majority of "extra virgin olive oils" sold in the grocery store are adulterated blends of oils, not all olive and from various countries and in the worst cases, containing scary additives that lower  the acidity in order to "look" like it's extra virgin.   A "made in Italy" on the label means nothing without the EU seal of approval unless, perhaps, the label was made in Italy. If you are paying less than $13 for a 500ml bottle of extra virgin, you can be assured that it's fake.

they say we eat with our bloggers eat with their phones

The evening ended with a couple of Chef Marcus Monteiro's desserts made with olive oil while he answered questions about baking and confectionary using oil instead of butter. We were sent home with a really good bottle of Bellucci EVOO from Tuscany (and I know it's from Tuscany because it says so on the label, which has both the EU stamp and is certified by the IOC (the International Oil Council) AND it's also a traceable bottle so that I can actually trace this exact it back to the groves it came from and the farm that produced it.

I have been inspired to make a dessert using my gifted bottle of olive oil so be on the lookout for that.

 Bloggers on couches snapping pics , me, @DragonsKitchen , @AphroditeCooks@ATasteofWorld

A big thank you to Brassaii restaurant for hosting the evening in their lovely space and to Mary Luz Mejia for inviting me to this event.

Danish Design Obsessed at The Bay

are all British men charming and funny with Rickey Gervais' teeth? I am starting to think so

The next day, I got to meet Chef Paul Cunningham, formerly of the michelin starred The Paul in Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens. When the stress and pressure of maintaining that star (awarded only 9 months after opening) landed him in the hospital for over a month, this transplanted Brit closed down The Paul, moved his family to the wild and wooly west coast of Denmark and he opened a lovely Inn, The Henne Kirkeby Kro, where he and his band of merry cooks run amok in the huge gardens and surrounding environs, working with what he calls a local kitchen as a base but using spices he brings back from his world travels.

He has written a whack of cookbooks, both in Danish and in English and is a very funny, engaging guy. For the occasion, he made a deconstructed lemon meringue pie which also happens to be my favourite dessert in the entire world. A dollop of tart lemon curd cosied up to a mound of torched, soft meringue and a spoonful of wild blueberries. Crushed cookie crumbs dusted over the top was then pushed just over the top with a drizzle of......


After spending the evening learning not just about olive oil, but focusing on the use of olive oil in desserts, I get to taste a dessert that depends on the addition of olive oil to , as Cunningham put it "add an adult feel to what could be a childish dish and waken the taste buds"

If I wasn't already fired up about making a sweet of some kind using olive oil, I was after tasting this lemon dessert that was basically designed just for me.

So, if I hadn't been invited to come and check this event out, I wouldn't even know it was happening and even some intense googling on my part has revealed very little information about it. What I know is that for the next couple of weeks The Bay will be featuring Danish design and food. You can wander around the store and check out some fresh, new design lines like Whiite and then go down to the basement and order the Danish menu while this promotion is going on. We tried some very nice Danish ale and cheeses and then proceeded to the hot table for lunch.
There was a tasty roast pork served with mashed potatoes, red cabbage and gravy for $10.89 , a selection of smorrebrod (2 for $10.99 or 3 for $13.49) and a rhubarb and berry compote with whipped cream for dessert ($5.00) It's kind of expensive if you want to actually try it all but the two pieces of smorrebrod that I tried were delicious, especially the vegetarian version with Havarti, beets and remoulade.

The Crown Princess of Denmark was on hand briefly to torch some meringue and pose for pictures before moving off to perform more royal duties elsewhere in the store. She was everything you would expect a Danish Princess to be - poised, lovely, slim, dressed tastefully and gracious with good hair.

The Danish Obsession event will be going on until October 6th at the Queen St Store.

We ended the week with dinner at The Wren with The Neighbours, which is always a great way to end the week.
a trio of apps from their $5-$6 app menu

Coming up:

The Toronto Garlic Festival this Sunday at the Brickworks

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