Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Thousand Island Distressing

What goes well with Ice Wine? Well it's a dessert wine (or pudding wine as the northerner in me would rather call it) so something sweet would do nicely. And as we walked throughout Niagara On The Lake's small high street we saw a display of chocolate toffee apples in the window of a chocolatierisserie (if that's the right thing to call it).

Inside was a huge array of hand made chocolates, popcorn with interesting coatings and lots of toffee apples and "marshmallow kebabs" dipped in chocolate and coated in sprinkle-stuff. As with many situations we've found ourselves in on this trip, we felt a bit out of our depth by the language differences. Yes, it's English, but there are words we don't use in the same way and it can lead to confusion. So amongst the array of sugary delights in here we had clusters, brittles, bombs, barks and moguls and we weren't sure what we wanted. We naively asked the girl behind the counter about the bacon moguls, imagining it was some quirky Canadian joke, but no, the bacon moguls are little discs of chocolate with bits of bacon inside. Chocolate… coated… bacon…?!? She persuaded us that they taste delicious so we bought some (because we're daft like that).

OK, so we've tried it, and it tastes of bacon which has been covered with chocolate, but it somehow seems to kind of make sense, although I'm not sure it was what the Pilliteri Winery would have suggested to accompany their unique sweet ice wine.

But while I'm happy to try one Canadian delicacy, there's another one which we keep seeing but which I won't be trying. Poutine is, according to Wikipedia, "a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy or sauce and sometimes additional ingredients". So, cheesy-chips in gravy, but give it a French sounding name and they think they'll get away with it.

Wikipedia goes on to say that "The dish may include additional ingredients such as lobstermeat, rabbit confit, caviar, and truffles". So cheesy-chips with caviar, in gravy! The next time any of my French colleagues says anything derogatory about English food….

Anyway, we've arrived in Gananoque which is on Lake Ontario in the Thousand Islands region, so named because there are well over one thousand islands. This is where Thousand Island Dressing was created and all this food talk is making me hungry. So we push the boat out (or push the boot oat if you're Canadian) and try "fine dining" at the Gananoque Inn. I'm thinking it's going to be good as I order the duck breast with ginger marmalade and the waiter informs me that the chef would suggest it is cooked medium-rare. Well the chef probably know what he's talking about so I'll go with the recommendation.

I'm not sure the chef did know what he was talking about, and if it costs the best part of forty Canadian Dollars to produce some dry slices of overcooked duck breast and a couple of microscopic drops of jam then frankly, I'm going to stick to my chocolate covered bacon chunks!

Gordon Ramsey - if you happen to be reading (you never know) then this place is screaming out for you to come and sort oot. Nice view though.

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