Casa Loma – Decanting the Castle – The Myths Uncorked

How do you fancy an elegant plate of Raw Chocolate Organic Lava, a “Shot” of Apricot Tapioca and Toronto Citrus Goat Cheesecake Lolli (heave!!), paired with Cave Spring 2009 Late Harvest Indian Summer Reisling; Inniskillin Vidal Icewine and Magnotta Ruby Port.

Which would be the right pairing? Which is the odd man out here?

Do you even care? – if not, do not read on – it gets worse….

The answer is: there is no right answer – it’s whichever you prefer.

The primary goal of this spectacularly delightful event was simply to challenge and surprise the senses through a well thought out and skilful collation of simple and complicated flavours: a “wholesome, rustic gourmet meal” with locally sourced Ontario wines or other unexpected beverages, during a ” fun, interactive and communal dining experience” and all masterminded by Executive chef Steffan Howard and a handful of local wineries.

This was the event I alluded to a couple of months ago in the “Luscious Liscious” post and whilst I thought it would be a little different as an experience, this was no cheap night out at the cinema so it was important to feel that we got our money’s worth – no pressure!

After a rocky start to the evening that was nothing to do with the event itself and everything to do with the dastardly Canadian winter (in hindsight the only really bad weather we’ve had all winter so far) and the worst city winter driving conditions I have ever seen in Toronto, we literally slid into the car park of Casa Loma off un-gritted treacherous roads amidst a blizzard. It then took an inappropriately-shod idiot woman another 10 minutes to negotiate the sheet ice in the car park (the technique when wearing teetering heels is to spike the ice with your heel before putting the toe down – it’s an interesting move as you risk losing a shoe with every step). Once in the Great Hall, the Castle was unexpectedly warm, and mood lit by glittering chandeliers and candelabra. Martini in hand we collected our hand-sets and did a self guided tour of this faux European 19 century Castle perched high up on one of Toronto’s few hills. Outside and through the leaded glass windows, a snowshaker view of the candy-cane lit CN Tower and the downtown city core – a glimpse of the modern from within the past.

This was no snotty event for smug wine aficionados. It was billed as an event for anyone wanting to experiment with flavours and bold, traditional and unexpected pairings. Guided through the “tour” on the plates and in the glasses by two classy smoothly scripted comedians and the chef himself – an advocate for organic locally sourced food, the evening rolled along brilliantly becoming ever-more well-oiled with every course and accompanying wine flight.

No rules

No rights or wrongs, guests sat at tables of 8 and prior to each course, were introduced to the origin of the ingredients of each dish and the rationale behind the pairing; then following each course “vote” with a show of hands as to their preferences. NO judgement, no judging – just for the fun of it. Fortunately the two of us were seated with a party of 6 people (all friends of each other) who were both inclusive, welcoming, and with the collective “joie de vivre” of people out for a good time.

Lucky us

Keep a look out at for similar events as these are apparently run frequently under the Winter and Summerlicious banner.

Over and Out